Friday, 14 September 2012


I hereby announce that I wish Grillou to secede from its commune, Rimont. Here's why.

Two or three weeks ago, during the heatwave, we began to see a white hound-type dog around a bit. He was timid and wouldn't come near, and we thought he belonged to one of our distant neighbours, a farmer across the valley; just in case he didn't (there are lots of dogs who look a bit like him) we left out food and water, which went.

Last week, the dog came back and started to play with ours. They got on like a house on fire. After a couple of hours, he'd disappear before turning up again the next day. Then on Monday he arrived ... and stayed. Nothing we could do could entice him to leave; he settled down under the big ash tree, where he spent the night. A visit to the farm told us he wasn't their dog, though they had seen him around; talking to other neighbours (I call them that in the loose sense of the word - they're all well over a kilometre away!) told us that he'd been seen around by lots of people.

I started trying to find out who he was. Amazingly, he's tattooed, and the national register told me that his name - and I swear I'm not making this up - was Hobo. This is him:

However, being a mere mortal, I was Not Authorised to find out directly who the owner was, so today we went to visit somebody who was - our local vet. And we found out that the person who registered Hobo 2 years ago lives in ... La Réunion. Near Madagascar. Which is - um - in the Indian Ocean. Undeterred, the receptionist phoned the registered owner, who answered, then put the phone down. And that was that.

What the story is heaven only knows. But although he's actually a lovely dog and is very gentil and sociable, (if a little demanding and noisy!) there's no way we can keep him or even find the time to try and rehome him ... especially at the moment when we're busier than we've been since we opened AND I have a full book of my own clients at the same time. So it was with a heavy heart and feeling rotten that after dropping me back home to finish the changeover for tomorrow's new guests, John went to our Mairie (you might call it the town hall, if we were a town - which we're not, but you get the idea) whose responsibility it was to sign the papers allowing Hobo to be admitted to the refuge.

Not our problem, said the Mairie. Go to the Gendarmerie. It's only over the road, so he did. Not our problem, said the Gendarmerie, it's the Mairie's responsibility. Back to the Mairie, who in spite of being required to get involved under both the rural and the administrative codes, refused point blank, even when J pointed out in no uncertain terms (yes, his French has improved!) that we run a business which brings visitors to the commune and which is going to be increasingly difficult to manage given the presence of a chien errant. So, said J, what are your suggestions?

Put the dog in the car, drive him somewhere else, and dump him there, came the response.

Words fail me. I am so angry.

Tomorrow we have more guests arriving, and I still have no idea what we're going to do. But it won't be what the Mairie say.