Again, splendid, awkward Babur, the massive mutt picked up by Rory Stewart while trekking across Afghanistan.  Usually Rory has to yank, drag and generally cajole the dog into continuing.

Here the roles are reversed when Rory comes close to calling it a day, lying down on the ice of a remote frozen lake.  Babur senses that his master may be about to give up and takes action to galvanize him.

The dog’s psychological acuity is wonderful and testimony to the quality of connection humans can have with dogs.

Or is it the other way round?

‘After a few minutes, he sat up on his haunches and then walked stiffly to where I was sitting.  I could feel his warm breath on my neck as he sniffed carefully around my collar, and gently pushed his nose against my ear.  When I did not respond, he backed away, watched me, approached again and finally began to walk away across the snow plain, occasionally looked over his shoulder.  When he was two hundred yards ahead he stopped, turned, and barked once.  His matter-of-factness made me feel that I was being melodramatic.  If he was going to continue, so would I.  I stood and followed in his tracks.’

For other Babur tails, see ‘The Deciding Moment’, ‘Never Look a Gift Dog’, and, of course, ‘I love Babur I’. 


Source: Rory Stewart, The Places in Between (London: Picador, 2014), p. 275

Photo credit: bella67 at pixabay


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