Of Dogs and Stars

    It’s a Doggy World

Its been really fascinating to have my American guests in town this week, especially to see their reaction to dogs in Georgia. They were exactly the same as I was when I first arrived, but I have settled into a more Georgian rhythm now. Every time they saw a dog, they wanted to run up and pet it, and I think their travel album will have a lot more photos of dog’s than of churches! It was so refreshing to be amongst pet friendly people again, who didn’t think I was crazy for saying that I really missed my dog in Georgia! The concept of pets is different in Georgia, although in the Capital, I have seen a lot more people taking dogs for walks on leashes, and there are many pet shops in the city, and seeling top brands like Eukanuba and Hills. But, there are no puppy training classes here that I know of, and no dog training skills, which really shows when you see the dog’s pulling their owners along. What is worrying, is that some people have big dogs, or dog’s that really need a good owner to train them, like a black or choccy Labrador, or worse still a Dog De Bordeaux with an owner who clearly has no concept of training or discipline.

I can’t wait to bring my dog to Georgia, and I have missed her and my cats so much since I left them in Latvia in October. I hope to fly to Latvia at the end of June and to bring them to Georgia once I have an apartment sorted, and whilst I will be happy to have them here, I am also anxious because I know there is a different concept of pets here. My dog is small, and not spade and the kind of breed she is, makes her more vulnerable to attack from other dogs. I just hope that she doesn’t have any problems with the strays dogs when I take her for a walk, and I am especially afraid of the Caucasian dogs with her, but I hope I am just paranoid.

She has probably had one of the coolest lives of any dog so far, as she was born in Vienna, Georgia (USA) and has lived with me in the Caribbean, then in America where she had her first litter, and then moved to England, and then Latvia, and now to Georgia (Republic of). She is so relaxed and happy, and the only she is afraid of is Mona Monkeys, because one tried to take her for a walk when she was on her lead at a rum distillery in Grenada, West Indies. We had some great times there, playing on the beach, scuba diving, and walking in the rain forest, and now she has an entire beach and forest at her disposal in Latvia, so she is going to be pretty annoyed when she arrives in Tbilisi and has to adjust to a city life again! In England she would come to work with me everyday, and would hang out in the office with my boss, she has been on two mountain marathons in Scotland, been camping, and in the West Indies she would work with the orphans every Saturday helping them to communicate and to learn about touch and eye contact. She went to vet school with the vet professors, and had students practice their bandages on her, and would come back with nail varnish on. She is one very cool dog, and I can’t wait to have her with me again.

I am starting to meet more doggy people in the city, and I hope that having Isla (my dog) here will be a good way to meet more people, especially if we go walking in Vake Park. Yesterday, I was invited to a private wine fair at Turtle Lake, and it was great to see so many dogs and their owners there. I met one, really lovely dog, a golden retriever by the name of Winston, whose owner works at the American Embassy, and it was great to see him rolling over and having his belly tickled by so many Georgian people. Its sad really, because many Georgians are afraid of dogs, and many have been bitten and then have to inject themselves due to the possibility of rabies. I know of two other volunteers who were bitten by dogs, and the injection process is not a nice one, but on the plus side, it’s a good argument for the boys to get out of drinking at supra, because you are always advised not to drink for some time after the vaccinations. But meeting Winston, was a lovely experience, and very reassuring for me as a dog owner. He was very happy here, and his owners have already been here for the past three years, and I am looking forward to meeting up for dog walks with them when Isla arrives. Its also great for the dog community and to help Georgians to overcome their fear of dogs and to become more understanding of the Western concept of pets, so they are doing a great service for the doggy world.

It was also great to meet with the Minister for Refugees at the wine fair, and his Caucasus dog, who had feet the size of a lion, and the most amazing build. The Caucasus dogs are very different, and have ear flaps rather than ears, they are traditionally working dogs, but this one was particularly friendly and had no issue with being fussed especially by children.

I also met a really lovely dog at the Tsmninda Sameba Monastery in Kazbegi the previous day, who belonged to the monk there, an amazing guy, who had brilliant English and a wealth of knowledge, not just about Georgia, but about the world, and an incredible kindness and air about him. Probably the first monk I have met, who really seems to have something spiritual about him, and it was great to talk to him about life as a monk and what it means to him. He was explaining that to be a monk is to look after every and to help them in whatever way you can, to ask God to help them if they are in need, and to know that God will look after them. For his own family, the monk will just ask God to take care of them, so that he can go about his work in the peace that his family will not suffer. He put everything in such a historical context, that the stories seemed to make more sense and I started to see why they are so important to Georgians, and the relevance behind the icons and stories.

The dog was beautiful and very friendly, and seemed to guide us to all the best spots for viewpoints. I’m hoping to learn more about the situation for dogs in Georgia, as there seem to be two extremes from my experience so far. Firstly, those in the villages who are chained up and fed nothing but scraps, and those who live in the wealthier area of Vake in the city, and who are fat and live in the house, and are like another child. There are also the street dogs, who seem to have people who sit with them on street corners and by my school all day, and all sleep together, passing away the hours. But, I really hope to do some voluntary work over the summer with an organization who castrate the stray dogs and give them vaccinations and then release them or try and re-home them. I have heard good things about their work, but not had a chance to join them as yet.

    On Astrology and Star Signs

I am starting to get a little paranoid this week, as no less than five people have asked me what star sign I am. Everyone seems to be surprised when I tell them I am a Scorpio, and its surprising to me, because most people prior to Georgia said that I was a typical Scorpio! I don’t know why so many people have asked me, but I am curious to find out more, and also the reasons behind my not being a typical Scorpio.

The first mention was from a friend of mine, who is also a volunteer teacher in Georgia, and who said that I was not a typical Scorpio, because they are known for being really sexy. This made me laugh so much, as I really wasn’t sure whether to take this as a compliment or a criticism!! Should I be pleased or annoyed at not being sexy???? But I knew exactly what he meant, and I would agree with the observation too, as I know many typical Scorpios who are very sexual in this way. Another friend explained to me that there are two kinds of Scorpio, a male type and a female type and that they both have different characteristics, and I would definitely agree with being more of one kind than the other. In many ways, I am a typical Scorpio, because if you piss me off, I do have a sting in my tail, and once I have a firm idea or opinion, there is nothing in the world that will change it. I am very strong, and I can be very determined. Another person, a complete stranger, asked another Georgian what sign I was, and was not surprised that I was a Scorpio, and then followed this with ‘kargi gogo’ (good girl).

I don’t know why the sudden interest in my star sign, but four of the people who have asked me are Taureans, and the last one (the stranger) I do not know their sign, but I think its still quite funny. I know there is a horoscope and astrology show on Georgian television for about 1 hour every week, so perhaps they have all been watching this and heard something about Scorpios or something??

I’m not a massive believer in star signs, but if I do come across a horoscope and its in my favour, then, like most people, I will believe it, but if I don’t like it then I pay no attention, but I do tend to find that most of my closest friends end up being Scorpios or Taureans, so perhaps there is something in it?


About Sarah Rows Solo

British YouTuber and Founder of Environmental and STEM education charity Oceans Project, preparing for a solo row around the coast of Great Britain.
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