Peetah

It always makes me laugh to hear an imitation of my accent. In my head I speak text-book Italian, each syllable enunciated to perfection. To the Italians I drawl, elongating vowels that should be barked with a military precision; it makes me sound like a character from Brideshead.
This is my dog Peter and he’s eight months old. He’s very boisterous and playful so I never let the local children come into the house to play with him; instead he stands on his hind legs at the door opening and closing the shutter slats much to their delight as they shout “open” and “close”, obviously believing that he does it on command. He doesn’t – it’s just overexcited flapping of paws, but the little granddaughter of the old lady upstairs, Giulia, is convinced he understands her. Yesterday she asked me if Peter understood any other words other than “open” and “close”. Salsiccia (sausage) – I said and left them to their game. A little while later I heard “salsiccia peter, salsiccia”. Peter continued flapping at the slats. Silence. She tried again, again Peter didn’t react (although what she expected from him I don’t know). Silence. Whispered conference with her (equally-small) cousin. Finally she said “saaarlsichaaaar, peter, saaarlsichaaaar” obviously in her best imitation of an English accent. I would love to finish this story with a reaction from Peter but, predictably, flap, flap, flap, went the slats. Eventually Giulia wandered off and Peter (or Peetaaaah as he’s obviously now known) went to sleep.

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