My wife, my son and I recently moved to Zanzibar, Africa, for a two- year period. We have found a nice little house on the beach. Like many tropical beaches, packs of wild dogs roam the shoreline at night.
Two dogs in particular (two females) have introduced themselves. The bitches are small, skinny—but will never give an inch in a fight. They doze in the shade most of the day, but as soon as dark sets in, they make a hell of a noise at any living thing approaching our garden.
My son asks, "Why do they bark so loud all the time? Are they angry at us?"
"They want to be hired as guard dogs," I said. "They show us how brave they are, and that nothing will sneak past them."
I call them Stheno ("forceful") and Euryale ("far-roaming"), a pair of monster sisters from Greek mythology. Originally three sisters, Stheno and Euryale were harder to kill than their more famous sibling Medusa (who was beheaded by Perseus).
* * *
One day they came limping out from the undergrowth, both bleeding from nasty gashes in their sides after fighting off a pack of larger dogs.
"OK, I am properly impressed. You really have earned this turf," I said to them.
I sliced a plastic bottle in two, gave them some leftovers from the previous day, one portion for each. I put the half-bottles in the shade under a tree, let them wolf it down.
The next morning I found a large rat under the tree where I had put the food. Stheno and Euryale came out from the bushes, wagging from nose to tail, proud as hell.
Needless to say they are hired.
Euryale is the one with the "white collar."
Stheno is the slightly smaller one keeping to the back. She is the smartest one, I am certain it was her idea to dump the rat as a gift. She uses her whole mind to get inside my mind, to read my intentions. Am I dangerous? Am I volatile? Should they accept the food I bring? etc. Once Stheno makes up her mind, Euryale just follows her lead.
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