Finbar Congo and Papou

While I’m waiting for the Finch Books site to go live, and to stop myself from going completely barmy, here’s a Finbar post. The last six months have seen such a change in his behaviour I’m still not used to it.

Finbarlying down

In the six years he’s been with us he has been bitten, chased and bullied by other dogs, culminating in a very nasty attack by a Weimeraner that almost punctured his lung and got him 20 stitches in his right flank.

He became very wary of all dogs, and had a tendency to get his retaliation in first if ever another male dog approached with remotely ambiguous intentions. Letting him off his lead became a nerve-racking experience. Would he just scare the daylights out of the other dog or trample it to death? I even bought him a muzzle so he could practice running around with other dogs without biting their backsides when he caught them. It didn’t work. He just pulled the muzzle off with his outsize claws.

Then he met Congo.

Digital StillCamera

Congo is a Weimeraner, big and bouncy, and as far as Finbar was concerned, a serial biter. At first he would freeze and refuse to go a step further when he saw Congo. Then the penny dropped. Congo liked him. And when he ran after Congo, it was Congo who was scared. That was at the beginning of the summer and since then they have been best friends. Congo is big enough not to fall over when Finbar barges him, and not fast enough to ever beat him in a race. It has given him so much confidence that he even invites other dogs to play with him and doesn’t have to be put on his lead every time another dog looks sideways at him.

Last week we met Papou. A galgo from the same awful hole near Seville that Finbar was rescued from.


Papou is nearly twelve but he still enjoys a short 40 mph sprint. Galgos aren’t demonstrative dogs unless something winds them up. Then they lose it completely and have so much fun they end up doing themselves an injury. One reason Papou doesn’t encourage Finbar who is younger and stronger to chase him. Papou is sensible.

Finbar and Papou hanging


and just doing what dogs do.


It might not seem like much, for a dog to go out for a walk without being constantly on the look out for trouble, but it’s a big step forward for Finbar and makes me feel happy for him. Maybe soon we’ll be able to think about adopting that friend for him.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

20 thoughts on “Finbar Congo and Papou”

    1. I’m not a dog person and dislike the way some dogs fawn over everybody, including people who dislike them. Galgos are very reserved and keep human beings at arm’s length. I respect them for that.

  1. Such a sweet post. I’m glad things are working out for Finbar. My grandpuppy doesn’t like other dogs either, and he has to be kept tightly on his leash when other dogs are around. He’s really loving and loyal with people though.

      1. I imagined grandma dog in a rocking chair by the fire and grandpa dog out on the porch while the two younger dogs watch their puppies gambolling on the lawn…

  2. Such a lovely post, Jane. Dogs are such a mystery to me. Well, my Indi is. He loves other dogs and goes to the Dog Ranch for his hols every year, where all the dogs are free together. And was psychologically tested and found to be completely non aggressive. Yet he has attacked dogs out walking and landed me with their vets bills. And I can’t let him out in our own garden, because if anyone walks past with a dog he chases them down the street and attacks. I’d love to get him a calm placid friend, but hubby is not an animal lover and said no way, and besides, Indi would probably turn it aggressive, and then start hunting and attacking as a pack! Sigh… I’m glad your story is a happier one. No more dogs for me when Indi has gone, I’m a cat woman, but guess what? Hubby is allergic!! Even bigger sigh…

    1. Finbar used to go for every dog he thought might have evil intentions. He’s stopped doing that now he’s learnt that some dogs just don’t know how to behave in a pack ie show who’s the boss and fight if necessary to prove it. It suits him as he’s not really a fighter. Maybe Indi is like that. He just needs to know his place in the hierarchy.

      1. Yes maybe. Hes going nowhere for a while though. 6-8 weeks of lying in his bed while his knee recovers from surgery. Hopefully he’ll be a bit calmer after.

      2. He’s sleeping a lot. I think he knows. Hes not trying to get up even when someone comes to the door, just barks from his bed. Giving him lots of hard chewy things to keep him occupied. Gonna get a cong and stuff it with treats and freeze it. That should keep him busy.

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