Not sure whether her name is Bobbi, Bobbie, Bobby or some other Bulgarian version but during our visit she became our friend and guardian!
Thankfully we don’t appear to have many feral or wild dogs in our village (some places are plagued by them and the larger towns and cities do have a feral or abandoned dog problem). It seems that the Bulgarian approach to ALL dogs is that if they are not working for a living then they are worthless – and actually I can understand that from a background of limited money and the need for many people to only grow food for themselves and to feed their productive livestock. You see a lot of livestock guarding dogs out with the shepherds and their goats or sheep, and also you see them just with the flocks and the shepherds nowhere to be seen. I haven’t met any Bulgarians who have a dog as a “pet” as most of us would understand it. People also have them in their yards around the village but often chained up or in a cage – kept (often neglectfully) just for the fear factor. But apart from the people who depend on them for work (like the shepherds) they are generally badly kept with no care for their condition and fed perhaps on scraps but more often just on bread. Perhaps that’s why Bobbie decided she definitely liked having us around as she had chilli con carne, ratatuille, chicken leftovers and bones (nearly every day), baked potatoes, old milk and yoghourt. Often the dogs are badly affected by ticks and fleas which are everywhere and while we were there we did manage to clear the ticks off of her face and any others as we saw them. She had fleas, of course, but not an infestation.
Anyway! The morning after we got to the house the lads arrived for work, and trailing along behind them was this dog. A fit, clearly pretty well fed, mongrel bitch. She didn’t look like a stray and Radoslav, our Tukla Meister (bricklayer) said she was his. He was quite affectionate to her, hand feeding her some of his breakfast. Anyway, she hung around all day and followed them when they went off home later that afternoon. Later that night she reappeared through the hole in the wall and settled down to watch us. After dinner we put the scraps/leftovers down for her and she cautiously approached and wolfed them down. Eventually we went to bed. Next morning she was curled up on our balcony and simply wagged her tail like crazy when I came out at about 5.30am. And that was pretty much her routine for the rest of the stay. During the days she was off, out and about doing whatever dogs do – in the afternoons she followed her master home (presumably for something to eat we hope, and then she was back to us – had her supper 🙂 and then curled up close to us or to the fire when we had one.
As crazy daft dog owners for over 30 years we definitely enjoyed having her around – there is something reassuring about having a dog around when you’ve been used to it. She was very affectionate and she happily let us stroke and groom her and she took food from the hand very calmly. She was very quiet unless she was chasing something away and actually only went off (barking like crazy) one night- in the middle of the night – that woke us up. Maybe some other dogs came around or someone was walking down the track. Anyway, after 30 minutes she was silent again.
Bobbie was (is) very affectionate and it was quite touching to see her following the car as we backed up the track on our last day. But we’ve heard that she’s pregnant and goodness knows what will happen to her pups. But rest assured we won’t be having any of them as we have large 3 dogs of our own that need to “own” our place once we get there.