Like the rest of the world, our weather is upside down this year. In many ways, this is positive, we have thus far not been blasted with the full might of a Cypriot summer. We even had a little rain yesterday. In June! Extraordinary.
This morning, I was up early and got the dogs out. At this time of year, walks happen early or they don’t happen. The concrete gets too hot for doggy paws in the sun. I now have one dog attached to my waist, and a lead in each hand. This morning, we came upon a dead cat lying in the path. Not an old one. I couldn’t see any obvious injuries, so I don’t think the poor thing was a victim of a road traffic accident. Illness, or snakebite perhaps?
Spice, lead dog, has a cartoon-like hatred of cats. She only has to hear a faint mew and she tears down the garden, barking furiously. As I held the dogs back from the corpse, she snarled and barked, and the cat’s apparent indifference to her noisy approbation only enraging her more. Dutifully, Charlie barked along in support. Chicago, on the other hand, has seen more of life and looked on quietly. She knows the smell of death.
I dragged the team on, and we carried on up the path. Two hedgehogs lay in the wasteland to the side of the path. The fact that I could see them was a strong indication. We often have them in the garden, but they are shy, nocturnal creatures, and they keep out of sight. Charlie’s view of hedgehogs is similar to Spice’s of cats - and he desperately tried to reach them. I’ve spent more than one evening pulling spines out of a bleeding Jack Russell snout. Again - no obvious sign of injury. Could there be poison about?
On we went. Seconds later, we came across the remains of a whip snake, again, by the side of the road. Scavengers had begun attacking it, so I’m not sure whether this latest corpse was run over (people often swerve to kill them) or another victim of a mystery poison. Now - I’m no fan of slithery things, but the whip snake is not venomous, keeps rats away and is territorial, meaning that it keeps away it’s lethal cousin, the blunt-nosed viper. In short, having a whip snake around is no bad thing. However, some people have such a reaction to anything snakey that they’re prepared to break the law. Snakes are protected in Cyprus, although you’d never know.
It's an unforgiving world.
There's a merry thought.