The Bulgarian Alphadog
Updated: Jan 23
How these things happen, I just don't know...
Somehow, The Boyfriend and I were unwittingly promoted to Alphadog status by a ragtag band of strays on an afternoon walk from Kovachavista to Leshten.
What started as a pat on the head of a cute, sausagey pooch in the first town, escalated as we walked through each village, accumulating more and more vagrant animals until we were inadvertently a group of 6.
The situation for me was rather disconcerting as the dogs were like restless teenagers hanging around on street corners looking for food. Or a fight.
At each place we passed through, embarrassingly surrounded by our new family, the mongrels growled, sniffed and circled those they encountered, vying for passage through unfamiliar territory.
Eventually, the pack of 4 met their match at Gorno village and a full on snarl-fest ensued between 'our' troop and the opposing, much larger faction.
My panic reached melting point when the weakest of the dogs following us cowered behind ME as if I was going to protect her from the angry local cur approaching!
Thankfully, The Boyfriend intervened and dragged me, sobbing and wailing, into a local cafe. The girl serving coffee didn't speak any English but she understood well enough the problem. She retrieved a long, wooden broom and shooed away the dogs as I tried to stop hyperventilating.
Her friend in the cafe very kindly offered to drive us out of danger and back to Kovachavista which we gratefully accepted.
After we were dropped off, another bloody canine - literally bloody as his whole face was covered in red after a fight - came bounding over to us. This time I didn't hesitate, I grabbed my bag and swung at him, yelling madly, while The Boyfriend found a stick and did likewise.
The bloody beast slinked back a few paces but continued to follow us. Clearly he could sense a soft tourist. Or maybe dessert.
We got back in one piece to the apartment and made a pact never to stroke strays again.
Coincidentally, my brother later sent me a video of our dog back in England which made me realise how lucky the animals are in our country.