Sunday, 7 May 2017


The Lhasa Apsos I'm dog-sitting are having a wonderful time! This Sunday, they're doing what comes naturally, fulfilling their ancestral role of temple sentinel, whistle-blowing on intruders.

Lhasas are a breed that originates in Tibet. Kept as watchdogs in Buddhist temples and monasteries, their hearing is incredibly acute. When they catch wind of anything they think the temple inhabitants really need to know, they tell you, in no uncertain terms. Woof! Woof! (and in case you're in any doubt) Woof!

If necessary, they'll strut outside to prove they mean business, stubborn, independent, self-possessed. Somebody has to be told! If they were to catch up with the offenders, there would likely be much licking and wagging, rather than an international incident.

These days, the intruder may not be a stray Himalayan antelope, bear or lynx, a visiting dignitary or the Dalai Lama dropping by for a steaming cup of Po Cha.

At my house, interlopers might be no more than busy Blackbirds tap dancing on the conservatory roof!

The Lhasas are mesmerised by the constant comings and goings of the parent birds as they make their Spring food-gathering forays on behalf of their nestlings. Heads tilt, ears cock, eyes track overhead silhouettes of unseen strangers chasing one another across the opaque slats.

The sheer bare-faced effrontery of these winged trespassers! How very dare they? Toe tapping back and forth, disturbing the tranquillity of the Lhasas' monastic sanctuary!

Now the dogs are resting after their action-packed shift. No Tibetan silk brocade cushions for these honoured temple guards, but they're much too well-bred to complain!

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