The street we live on in Carcassonne is fairly quiet. Most of the cars we see are from neighbors who are jockeying for one of the rare parking places that are on only one side of the road. Few large trucks dare to venture past us realizing that they would certainly clip off the sideview mirror of anyone who forgot to fold it inwards although twice a week the skillful drivers of the city’s trash and recycling trucks manage to make it. There’s even a narrow sidewalk on both sides that is typically blocked on one side by parked cars while the other side gives us a place to stand, huddled against the wall, to allow one of those big vehicles passage should they have unknowingly turned down our petite rue. Not too long after we had moved in, it was on that little walking path that we first noticed a small dog with a green collar whom we now call “the dog who walks himself”.
Through our front windows we see quite a few people walking their dogs since the river and its park are only 5 minutes away. They typically have their 4-legged friends on a leash and are carrying a plastic bag to pick up anything that might be left behind. This little fellow has neither, although occasionally he is accompanied by another dog of similar size, equally well-groomed and fed. On our daily excursions we have seen him in several locations around the neighborhood, never wandering aimlessly but more as if he’s on a mission. He’s always been on the sidewalk which is more suited to someone his size than ours, and looks both ways if he has to cross the street. But where does he live and why is he out on his own? We think that we know one of those answers.
There’s an apartment building on the main road about 2 blocks from where our street intersects that one. Recently we saw the dog standing in front of this building barking at the door as if to say “OK, I’m back from my walk. Let me in.” That led to a discussion between us about why he would be out on his own. I want to believe that there is an elderly or disabled person who is unable to leave their apartment and knows that their furry companion needs to get outside. Of course a less-responsible answer is possible, but we simply don’t know.
While our little neighborhood wanderer is clearly not a stray, there is an organization across France that helps homeless animals. It’s just called SPA, short for Société de Protection des Animaux and Carcassonne has a very active chapter. A blog reader has volunteered there and we continue to make donations. I’ll put a couple of links at the end of this post.
Another dog mystery that we haven’t solved yet is on the other side of town where we used to live near the castle. A new restaurant has opened there and we guessed that it featured seafood since its name includes “Florida” and “Poulpe” which is French for “octopus”. Their delivery truck was parked nearby so here’s a photo of what we saw. I can pick out a squid, a can of sardines, various fruits and vegetables, a slice of pizza, a ham, sausage, a fried egg, and French fries. Surrounded by all of that food is a dog, a dachshund to be precise. Why? I’m going to suggest to our “dog who walks himself” that he stick to the sidewalks in our neighborhood right here.
Links to the Carcassonne animal shelter: