Gonçalo v Svetlana etc.

Gonçalo is normally extremely friendly with strangers. He is usually a lick-them-to-death dog. He loves humans, whether he has seen them before or not. He is is useless as a guard dog. He almost never barks at strangers.

He has just a few exceptions on his list.

We currently have a long-stay visitor from Texas, and at first Gonçalo was really not sure about her, though the ice has thawed now.

Then there was José, a Portuguese man tapping in calçadas to build us a new patio in the garden. There was an awful lot going on at the time he first turned up, so it was difficult to figure out exactly what spooked Gonçalo. He seemed OK after that as José got on with his work.

The most interesting person in this tale is Svetlana. She comes to clean our home. She is roughly the same age as us. She happens to work hard. She is also extremely friendly. Our conversation is limited because she speaks very little English, and we scrape by in Portuguese, but her Russian is definitely beyond us.

Somehow we manage to communicate. On her last visit, Gonçalo had done a poo after Svetlana started her work, so she cleared it up. Then she told us Gonçalo’s poo should not look like it did, and that we needed to take him to the vet. That’s what we did the very next day. Gonçalo went on antibiotics and the poo problem was quickly consigned to history.

However, Gonçalo does not appear to like Svetlana, despite the fact that she is extremely friendly.

In the minutes just before Svetlana’s last visit, my wife had folded an old cloth place mat on a small glass-topped table on her patio. Gonçalo clearly wanted it, but it was flat on the glass. After 10 to 15 minutes, the dog finally got the place mat off the table. Then Gonçalo sat in front of us, triumphantly dangling the place mat from his mouth.

Then he invited my wife to play tug-of-war using the cloth place mat. Gonçalo loves tug-of-war. He had not yet got his wish when Svetlana turned up behind him. When we both pointed behind him and said ‘Look, who’s here?’, he turned and saw Svetlana, and the result was comic. Gonçalo immediately dropped the place mark, started barking loudly and rapidly reversed behind my wife’s legs for safety. He continued to bark at Svetlana from his position of security.

The only common denominator we have between our visitor from Texas and Svetlana is that they are taller than average females.

This is not a lot to go on.

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