One of my favourite literary dogs is Ottimo Massimo, who belongs to the tree-dwelling protagonist of one of Calvino’s best stories. A small dachshund who goes a-courting dogs several times his size, occasionally with success. His ardour is touching and funny.
‘Ottimo Massimo, in no way put off by the fact that it was the only dachshund in Ombrosa, would court big sheepdogs, or wolfhounds, with brazen ardour, trusting to the natural sympathy it inspired. Sometimes it would return bitten all over; but a successful love affair was enough to repay all defeats.’
Source: Italo Calvino, ‘Baron in the Trees’, Our Ancestors, trans. Archibald Colquhoun (London: Minerva, 1992), p. 194
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