Another magical thing about our mountain retreat is Shakal, a dog who turned up in the mountain village while Melanya was undergoing major renovation work. He made a bit of a nuisance of himself as he was a starving hungry puppy and the village didn’t need another mouth to feed and the workmen were too busy. He was a stray but had been docked so the guess was that he’d been intended as a hunting dog but had failed his training. Whatever the reason he turned up, he was lucky because Lee and I took pity on him and fed him up during the 2 weeks we were there checking progress on the house and holidaying. He was so grateful he tied himself in knots and wagged what little tail he’d got! He followed us everywhere and became our mountain walking companion, both when we left the house as a couple and independently.
When it came time to go back to England, he watched us pack up the car and must’ve sensed because unusually he ran behind us down the mountain until he ran out of breath. Our hearts nearly broke but we’d done everything we could, we’d asked the villagers to feed him while we were away.
Months past before we could return but when we did we found the dog waiting for us and looking well fed and healthy. The village had named him Jakal, pronounced Shakal, meaning scavenger, as he was when he first turned up. Now he is fully-grown and has a refined temperament, a beautiful shiny coat and is very alert. He has fitted in well with the other village dogs, asserting his adult hood and place in their society. He knows his role at Melanya and when we are away from the house he stays guard during the day over our free range chickens, from eagles and sparrowhawks flying overhead, and during the night he protects our organic vegetables from intruding wild deer and boar. In return he gets fed well and loved. We’re lucky too as he’s a healthy and happy boy!