This is the story of two magnificent female dogs: Ginevra (called Gina) and Luna (means moon in Italian).
Gina is a beautiful Golden Retriever with fur as gold as grain. She’s strong as a bull and looks like a shiny nugget with a smile because she literally grins when happy just like humans do. She also greets you with her front paw in a form of a hand shake because she desires a physical contact with a human being. Gina sits calmly in a distinct manner: a truly “Golden” style.
Then there is Luna, a white and orange Pointer. Always in a hurry and fast as a lighting bolt, she quivers anxiously but not only when she’s cold but when she’s impatient just the way a Ferrari is at ten thousand revs. Her chest is carinated and wide. Her hips are narrow and her bones are light like a sculpture. She waggles her tail eagerly, waiting for people to pass by and her head is beautiful with gigantic dark eyes that observe continuously. She always looks deep into your eyes even when she’s running because she wants to know your every movement. Inside of her there is a basic instinct of freedom, a wolf-like impulse of wildness. Your the leader of the pack and she will always follow you because she loves you.
When I’m with them, it’s a race as to who can get the most of my attention; to get a pat on the head or loving compliments or even to have been the fastest to catch the pinecones I throw.
Instead, when we go hunting there is no time for play as it’s the darkness of the morning that preceeds sunrise, the strong essence of the pinewoods, the rustling of autumn leaves and brambles that must be confronted. It’s the basic instinct of the predator, the excitement of waiting for the first shot, with cocked ears sensible to the smallest noise, with sudden movements, the race and the brief stops. With pride I watch and admire them. They’re two beauties that adore me as I do them.
The thrush moves like a rocket through the pinetrees, its brief whistle, almost a vibration that betrays his position. As I hear it arriving, in a flash I put the rifle in position and without hesitation, I pull the trigger: STRIKE! The wings close into death and the bundle of feathers precipitate into the below bushes. The target seems to be 20 or 30 meters away but in the woods a search without dogs would be useless. You can’t walk through the dense brushwoods without puncturing yourself and you would end up missing the location of the lifeless thrush. Gina and Luna have already dashed off with strange-glazing eyes staring where it fell and now it’s their duty to capture the prey. In a low bulldozer position, Gina’s eyes are half shut to protect herself from the bushes and she slowly crawls with determination toward the prize. Instead Luna has maniacal eyes, jumps obstacles with ease and speed the way a gazelle would and holds her head high to scent the victim.
I pinpoint them from a distance and shout “Tu sò tu so” in our local dialect, calling them to go for it. I can hear them scurrying and their frenzy panting as they anxiously search, knowing that the target is near. Then after a rapid semicircle, Luna has seized the thrush with her mouth and begins to return to me but all at once, Gina deliberately cuts her path, obligating Luna to stop while she passes in front. There she is showing off her four long , sparkling fangs that I would never have thought could possibly belong to Gina; a sweet creature that always greets you with her paw in such a ladylike manner. She starts snarling in a deep, primitive tone like a wolf. Her hair is spiked on her back, her chest is enlarged and her tail is erect like a sabre. At this point, Luna has no chance so she drops the bird, and leaves delused and scared but doesn’t loose sight of me. Gina picks up the thrush while her eyes return to their normal state. She triumphally trots toward me and so proud, she circles me a couple of times before giving me her paw. She’s so happy and after I pet and compliment her she drops the thrush at my feet and grins. This is her gift to me, the hunter while at the same time it’s a contact, an emotion shared between the two of us. Luna isn’t there and doesn’t exist as it’s Gina’s moment; Gina with her Golden heart.