My friend’s partents were supposed to drive me to school, but they were running late, so I walked over to their house and rang the doorbell. Behind a large wooden gate, the family’s Briard began to bark, and then the shaggy herding dog started to snarl and scratch at the wood, trying to get to me from underneath the gate. I was terrified. My friend’s youngest sister came out of the house, unlatched the gate carefully, and propped it open slightly to say “hi” and apologize for her parents’ tardiness, and when she did the dog forced his muzzle through the opening and jumped on top of me.
Growing up in Lyon, France, my family had a pair of cheeky German shorthaired pointers, sisters named Arpege and Ardoise. The one time when we took the girls on a hunting trip with a few of our relatives, Arpege and Ardoise cried and hid as guns fired and birds fell in the distance; I shared their feelings about the cruel and grotesque spectacle. They were far more comfortable at home, where their favorite activities included chasing lizards, lounging in the sun, sneaking into our beds when we were away, and digging holes under the fence so they could enjoy a sweet escape into our village.