13 April 2014

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night

If you want to be technical, 11:00 is more late morning than night but my dog-involving curious incident was far more curious than Sherlock Holmes'. I've been to Masses interrupted by crazy protesters and homeless people (usually not mutually exclusive and a fairly common occurrence in DC), but I've never been interrupted by an animal.

Happily this Palm Sunday Mass wasn't actually interrupted. The priest, a few others, and I were in Saint Mary Draperis early preparing for Mass and praying when a stray dog wandered in. We were all a little taken aback and looked at each other with a 'what's happening' expression on our faces. Several people took turns trying to shoo the dog out of the church but with limited success as he just kept coming back in. It was like I was in a Vicar of Dibley episode-although sadly not one guesting Richard Armitage. Who, on the off chance he should ever stumble across my blog should visit Istanbul and look me up!

And then what I think we were all dreading happened...he wandered up onto the alter area. There wasn't exactly a collective gasp of horror since he didn't know he wasn't supposed to be up there...but there was a moment of frozen indecision as to what to do next. There's a lovely Turkish woman who works at the church and she was debating carrying him out but I could tell she really didn't want to do it. There seems to be an innate fear of dogs among many Turks. I'm glad to say though that fear does not mean they're cruel to the strays. Far from it. While not pampered like many of the stray cats, dogs are tagged, fed to a degree, and generally left alone. Which means that they in turn are pretty docile.

Luckily for me this one was a pretty friendly guy since, in the end, it was I who carried him out. I went up to the alter to help and when I grabbed him by the scruff to try to move him along he decided that meant it was time to lie down and take a nap! Seeing that he had no intention of moving I squatted down and tentatively lifted his front half (just to make sure he wasn't going to bite) before scooping him up. At which point I was vastly grateful to have a fellow female on the alter with me as it's really hard to scoop up a heavy, potentially bitey, object without also scooping up your skirt! While I was in a madly awkward position between hefting a heavy dog and flashing the congregation and tourists, my fellow dog shooer quickly saved my dignity (or most of it!) by tugging down my dress.

Happily the dog turned out to be quite friendly and docile and did not protest being carried out. Also thanks to the possibly Germanic or Scandinavian tourists who held open the door for me. Saint Mary's is at the bottom of long stairway so rather than carry him all the way up, I set him down and coaxed him all the way up the stairs onto the street, after which I closed the church gate to make sure he didn't once again get back in.

So, neither was it night nor did it involve the attempted laming of a winning race horse...but I think my curious dog incident could give the world's greatest detective a run for his money. Although speaking of...Benedict Cumberbatch is also totally welcome to visit Istanbul and look me up!

And because we cannot have a blog post sans picture, and I could hardly take a picture of myself while carrying at 30+ pound dog, I leave you with a picture of my own Sherlock in her favorite resting position.

I dunno, man. Cat's weird.

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