Woof! Woof! Woof!
No.7

I did not, as Gurdypapa tells it, actually tell the police lady in Ferrara that I was being abused. I was sleeping peacefully, as I usually do when we're out on the street playing. This time Gurdypapa was playing alone and Animama and Kata were exploring the city. He sometimes plays solo when there are so few people passing by that it's just a surealistic exercise in busking. At least he chose a nice shady spot in a medieval archway separating two piazzas, each more beautiful than the other, with all sorts of stone cathedral and castle stone walls just begging to be peed on. But it was hot out there and nice and cool in the shade. And I actually have gotten used to the sound of the hurdy-gurdy. At least I know where they are while they play. Not really expecting to do any Hep-la-bas, with so few people about, I just curled up on the empty gurdybag and went to sleep.

I woke up to the stern voice of a policewoman, telling something to Gurdypapa and pointing at me! My Italian is pretty good by now and I could catch a few words: "cane" (that means dog: me!) and "abuso" (uh-ho). I tried to look sad and defenseless, which normally would be a good thing if we were in trouble, but this time I think it made things worse. Though I don't think it helped that Gurdypapa told her that his music is not so bad that it should be considered abuse to make a dog to listen to it. She didn't like that and threatened to arrest us both!

We left town soon after that, heading down to Ravenna, where, I'm told, Animama, Gurdypapa, Gaspar and Julien played together many years before I was born. We got busted there as well, but at least not because of me. We had (thanks to me) a pretty big crowd when they arrived. The police pointed out that it is forbidden to play music that is not organized. You know, I don't think Italian police have much of a sense of humour: they certainly didn't like Gurdypapa's jokes about our music being "organized or disorganized", and his pointing to the irony of being forbidden to play on a piazza named "Piazza del Popolo" (the People's Plaza).

We left that town first thing in the morning. But I got to thinking about the "canine abuse issue" raised in Ferrara, and would like to share with you some of my thoughts and research on this topic.

Dogs being made to dance to the music of the hurdy-gurdy or bagpipe should not be considered animal abuse, especially when compared to other traditional dog shows such as the Bear Baiting contests so popular in London for hundreds of years.
Even worse abuse is to be found in making dogs and cats work together!
No compromise on this issue: Dogs working with monkeys should be forbidden by the European Community!
Nor should any animal be forced to actually be a musical instrument!
WARNING!

Below are actual cases
of Dackel and other animal abuse.
These moving pictures graphically depict wanton cruelty.

Visitor discretion is advised.

Nor should the poverty of the buskers be accepted as evidence of abuse...
I hope to write soon about the more positive side to the trained animal tradtions of street performers. So until then, keep your tails wagging!

Look for the next installment of Woof! Woof! Woof! (Number 8): Dackeland Uberalles, A Dackel Returns Home

WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! number 7
Animal Abuse