This beautiful, fluffy dog is a friend I made in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. I met her when she was, well, at work. She was the official guard of the Church of the Holy Heart of Jesus, apparently the only Catholic temple in the city.
And while we are here, time for a tiny digression. I went to see this church, because it is quite a curiosity. It is a brutalist building, built in 1969 from tonnes upon tonnes of concrete, and with virtually no windows. I wrote a short article about this impressively austere building, which you can find here if you are interested.
But back to our fluffy friend. After walking around the church grounds to take in the building’s brutalist simplicity, I headed towards the exit, where I saw the guard’s quarters. The guard behaved just like any respectable guard would. She seemed a little bored and a little grumpy. She was laying in her kennel, looking at me askance and with a degree of suspicion. Because I believe that it is possible to establish civil and friendly dialogue with any dog, I came a little closer to her enclosure to make some conversation. And again, a guard is a guard. She was still giving me a stern face… but I noticed that she started to raise herself a little, curiosity obviously beginning to take over her professionalism. I smelled my chance at establishing a connection, so I continued to chit-chat, clapping my hands again my thighs every now and then (this being the international language of dog-human relations, obviously). The guard had visibly cheered up by now and her head began swaying a little bit from side to side, which, as we all know, is a clear sign of a tail wagging further down the dog. So I came even closer to the net. My new friend jumped straight to it, too, trying to push her nose through it and wagging her tail, very exuberantly now.
But, well. The net was definitely too dense. I managed to merely pet the very tip of her head with my fingers, and that was the most that I could do under the circumstances. Then the dog jumped away from the net and ran across her pen, to the fence on the opposite side. She put both her front paws up on a small wall, and turned around to face me, again looking at me with intent and wagging her tail like crazy. And again, the universal language is at work – this sweet girl was obviously telling me to follow her to the fence. I followed then, with no hesitation, which made her very happy. I quickly realised that the fence she led me to was a much less of a barrier, as it had large spaces in between the bars. She could easily put her snout through it, so that I could pet her properly. You can see in the picture how proud she was of herself.
So we chatted a little more, I petted her some more and scratched her behind the ears, and then it was time for me to go. After all, I was on the road, and she was on the job. I am not sure if she is such a good professional, given how quickly her heart softened towards a stranger. Unless she is, in fact, a total pro in her job, because she saw right through me and she knew in minutes that I was not there to pinch or break anything. Well, in any case, I could see that she was well looked-after, clean and with her hair neatly brushed. She certainly had a lot of space and many comforts in her pen, and she was obviously much loved. And one more thing is certain – the parish of the Holy Heart of Jesus probably won’t be complaining about low turnout at mass anytime soon, when they have such a lovely, fluffy guard at the entrance, greeting the faithful. I, for one, will definitely come back and visit if ever I am in Podgorica again.