The first time I saw him it was not love at first sight. I had arrived in Paris a couple hours prior to our meeting. My students had just checked into their rooms. This left me alone making my way down a dimly lit hallway, out to a courtyard. In the darkness, there he was. A black canine silhouette snorting profusely with a hint of a growl. He stood tall (tall for a bulldog) with confidence, his feet firmly planted on the ground. He was not moving. In my mind, I could hear the soundtrack of a Western, where the gunfighters meet on a dusty main street for a duel. A soundtrack suggesting this would not end well where only one person would be left standing. Would I meet my demise here? After all these years of petting every dog, even after being warned not to for some, would I finally be bit? Was this that moment? Why didn’t the hotel staff let me know there was a guard dog? He must be ok right? I logically deducted this since they had not told me. I moved forward to meet my fate with a bit of trepidation. I began the dog talk – “Nice dog. You are so handsome. What a good dog.”
He stayed. When I got to the end of the hallway, he looked up at me with a red ball in his mouth. He dropped it at my feet, looked at it then looked at me again. “Do you want to play fetch?” I said. His face cocked. I threw the ball to the end of the courtyard. With great energy and enthusiasm, he ran after it. I was right. I began to walk to the door of my room. How quickly he returned with the red ball, dropping it once again at my feet. He was a very good little guy after all. I was dog tired (seems fitting to say that here) since I cannot sleep on planes but I found within me the endurance to play until he was called in and the sun went down.
I found out the next day he was the hotel caretaker’s dog. When I asked the dog’s name, I expected something in French, rather it was simply Snoopy. Snoopy became my dog away from home. Every day after returning from touring about, there was Snoopy waiting to play fetch with his little red ball. He was easy to fall in love with for his friendliness and big brown bug eyes. I even took the relationship to the next level. He joined me in my room for a bite of a beef sandwich. It was the best I could do since I had not packed dog treats but he seemed ok with that.
People ask me what I liked about France. Surely the art, Eiffel tower and food but at the top of my list is a little French bulldog named Snoopy. I fell in love in Paris.
This is the sixth image in my “Animal a Day” art series that began on May first.
Artwork available on: https://www.etsy.com/shop/KristinGjerdset
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