Photo: Edgar Daniel Hernández Cervantes/Pexels

We love our pets but dogs in Serra e Mar-Monte Canelas are very special!

Having got back from a vacation out of the country, we are back to the joys of waking  up early in the morning with a cup of coffee, sit outside to greet the sunrise, listen not to noisy chirping birds, or the cooing of doves or the crowing of a rooster. 

Instead, we look forward to being greeted by a cacophony of barking dogs that joyfully continue for a long time, while one sips one’s morning cup of coffee. This pleasure, is augmented more so, during hunting season, especially early Sunday mornings OR better yet, when flying Balloons with tourist fly over our properties, with no consequences to invading  privacy, sending the dogs off in to a frenzy of barking, to a different pitch, as the Balloon  ever so slowly, glides away. This barking of course is very different tune to their “normal” daily greetings, so a welcome change, I suppose, trying to be an optimist.

We get the same pleasure of barking dogs again, during the day.  But, more so, in the evenings sitting outside with friends, enjoying a glass of wine. We do not get to listen to the irritating sounds of nature, but to the melodic sounds of continuous barking of various types of dogs from yelping to yipping, to large and louder barking dogs.

But…. wait, more joy and pleasure yet to greet us, as we head to bed or in the middle of the night, as the “domestic” dogs get into a chorus with the numerous wild dogs spotted roaming at night terrorizing the domestic dogs kept outside to guard their territory furiously.

During a warm to hot summer night, with the windows and doors wide-open, mosquito screens down, with the wonderful breeze from the Monchique Mountains to help us sleep. It is just as we begin to fall asleep, we are greeted by a local lullaby from our neighbourhood dogs from near and far, echoing off the valley left to enjoy the outdoors day and night.  Why a lullaby? Because the dog owners sleep through throughout the night, so it must be a lullaby. The dog “community” usually take a siesta during the afternoon heat as the summer progresses. Refreshed after their nap in the afternoon, so that by the evening, they are ready once again to join in the dog orchestra for us to enjoy. Reminds me somewhat of the sage advice to new mothers,  sleep when the baby sleeps. Get it?

The owners of these dogs must be very proud of these daily, evening, and nightly performances. As this happens every day. When it does not, one wonders what the problem is.

What was that local Judge thinking, who gave a verdict in the local newspaper that a Portuguese friend forwarded? A neighbour’s dogs had to be taken inside at night after 9 pm until 7 am, otherwise a fine of Euro 100 a day would be imposed. What a decision!! This verdict was handed down, after a neighbour complained that his night’s sleep was continuously being disturbed, aggravating his medical condition. Is this really a valid reason? Who needs sleep?  What was the judge thinking?  There was no mention though of rounding up the numerous wild dogs that are mistaken by the “domestic” outdoor dogs as thieves.

I heard a recent story that while a cadre of would be thieves distracted the dogs, so they would continue barking, fooling the owners into thinking it was the normal nightly lullaby, the other thieves in the group got into the house taking what they wished while the owners slept.
Would it be an idea to keep the dogs in the house to attack thieves, rather than protect the garden?  And then, there is the case reported in the local English newspaper dated Oct 22nd 2022, that owners of a cattle ranch in Siero, Spain, were fined Euro 300, because the mooing of one of their cows, a 15 month old Carmina, exceed the permitted decibel limit. By the way, in the same paper an article might be of interest; The Netherlands is the first EU country not to have wild feral dogs Or cats! We really suffered during our 19 years stint in The Netherlands, to the sound of silence during the days and nights.

We are so lucky, there is no such noise decibel limit in our area, or in Portugal, that I am aware of. If there is, it is definitely not enforced. In Spain, horror of horrors, according to the law, the limit is 55 decibels. The young Carmina cow was obviously not aware of this legality, mooing at 74 decibels. The young Carmina was practising to be a Tenor, obviously!

A local Portuguese friend visiting us, on hearing the continuous barking of dogs, blurted out that this was the national anthem. I was taken aback by this description and of course and naturally protested. I have a different name for it!  Mondo Cane =It is, a dog’s world, But in this case, if only the dogs were really treated, as domestic pets.

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