Part 4 of the Country Canine Companions Collection
CAPYBARAS ABOVE – WOMBATS BELOW
Living in the country as I do almost everyone has a dog. It’s a great feature about where we live!
Many dog-owners take advantage of the golf course to run their dogs. It features expansive spaces and killer views of the ranges. It’s an inspiring place to walk, particularly at dawn and dusk. In winter on a workday that’s actually just-before-dawn, when false dawn is sending over the horizon some light which has not yet erased the stars. Magical! The universe expands on mornings like that.
It’s nice to meet other dogs and their owners on the golf course. The dogs roll and tumble over each other as they play and have a wow of a time. Not even frost, which looks for all intents and purposes like snow, deters them from rolling around with joyful exuberance. Jack Frost might nibble my fingers through my gloves but the dogs show no ill-effect!
Smitty is a dog we often see. He is as friendly as his warm-hearted owner, it’s a real joy to spend time with them. Smitty is reminiscent of a capybara on stilts. I know about capybaras because my parents spent a year in Argentina and for a decade or more afterwards my mother used a capybara-skin handbag. The leather was dark brown and incredibly soft, with a suede feel to it. The pattern in the leather intrigued me, so different to the cow and sheep leathers I was familiar with in Australia. As a young girl I used to stroke it because I loved the silky texture.
Technically speaking I also spent a year in Argentina, but because I was only one year old I don’t have any memories of it. Stories from this time – as well as other landmark overseas trips – have become part of our family folklore, and the culture of these places, especially the music, are as familiar to me as to have been woven into the fabric of my soul.
Capybaras are rodents which look like fur-covered oak barrels on short, skinny pegs that seem insufficient to withstand their body weight. Much more solid and twice the height or more than a wombat, capybaras don’t resemble mini-tanks like wombats do. Wombats are a solid chunk of muscle with flaps for extremities such as head, ears, nose and legs. The long heads of capybaras also make their overall shape quite different to that of a wombat.
Smitty’s unruly matted fur, white with tan brown markings, adds wildness to his form (but not his personality). This heightens his similarity to a capybara in my mind. I acknowledge it’s a funny comparison to make, but with the familial influences I grew up with, it’s a logical connection to me.
I consider it a privilege to be in the position to make unusual comparisons. It means I have lived a fortunate life. I am grateful that, and I give thanks.