LES MONTAGNES SERBES
OD SRPSKIH PLANINA
WITH LOLA IN SERBIA
In April of 1990 we went with Lola to Serbia. We decided to mate her with
Dingo-Ben. Already on the way, in Austria, there showed up interested males
that followed her scent. However, the veterinarians at the University of
Belgrade told us, based on her smear, that she is still not ready for mating.
After two to three days we found an older, more experienced assistant who
told us “your bitch is ready for mating today and perhaps tomorrow”.
We thus left for Velika Plana the same day. Ben mated with Lola who was
obviously ready and “agreeable” but, according to the order
of Bjelica, we had to restrain her with a muzzle and hold her firmly.
Dingo-Ben was then four years old and in full strength. About 75 cm tall, with a dark gray coat, her was characterized by an especially tall, proud bearing of the head, particularly when he assumed the “exhibit position”. His other characteristics, we liked particularly well, were his unusually large leg bones and his elegant, light gate. He was able to jump 1.5 meters without a prior start.
the mating, we were invited to visit the owners. They set us on low stools
around a coffee table, took out slivovica, the beer and cheese made by Bjelica’s
parents on the mountain. Bjelica soon took up his gusle and sang for us
the verses of Vladika Petar Petrovic Njegos, the most renowned Montenegrin
poet and philosopher, of all times.
Bjelica made Gusle himself. His wood carving talent impressed us. Among numerous ornaments gracing his walls we noticed the portrait of Njegos and, guess what else, the head of a Sarplaninac.
older son of Bjelica, Nesa, talks about the Sarplaninac with the same passion
as his father. They know all Sarplaninac dogs of Serbia, their origin and
their dog show results.
During each of our visits, we would find in their yard a younger Sarplaninac, their new hope. At our last visit that was Surda, and now it is Pan. Pan was later sold to Denmark.
left for Belgrade late that night. Lola got all wet from the rain. We
traveled in the semi-truck we bought in 1981, in order to bring home
Dilbas, but he instead arrived with our friends. The car was a large,
blue-white Iveco. After about 50 km the engine begun to “hiccup”
and we finally had to stop at a gas and service station. Unfortunately,
the service was closed for the day, and we had to wait until the morning
to find about the source of our problems. I moved from the cabin to
the back of the truck, wrapped myself in a blanket, and Lola, as wet
as she was, sprawled over my legs and kept them warm. The night was
awfully cold and we totally froze. After the unplanned interruption,
we finally made it to Belgrade, but the car continued to “cough”.
|At Uca’s we saw Musa, the second male he took in after Arap. Musa was a special dog. He had both good and bad qualities.|
On the positive side, let us mention his considerable height, his very strong skeleton, rich coat, particularly evident flags and pants, and a good, stabile character. On the negative side, he had reddish fur color, very light eyes (used in my book to illustrate these shortcomings), and a back like a carp. However, these problems did not prevent the curious breeders from using him for breeding stock.
|Besides visiting Sarplaninci, we also made an excursion to a cabin-type wooden church, Pokajnica.|
This building belongs to the Osacan architectural style. The Osacans
were craftsman originating from Bosnia, who specialized in building
the sacred and profane wooden objects. The church was built in 1818.
The Holy Father of this church was no one else but the organizer of
the murder of Karadjordje.
|The following day we made an excursion to the monastery Manasija, the older name Resava.|
|Its frescoes, spanning some 2000 square meter, are among the most beautiful, and although work of unknown artists, but are also pretty damaged.|
resemble the frescos in Ravanica, Kalenic and Sisojevac. The floor made
of red, blue, and white marble, with a large central rosette, is among the
two most beautiful monastery floors in Serbia. The monastery had a strategic
role, also evident from the fortresses surrounding the church. That fortress,
containing twelve towers, is one of the best-preserved middle age fortresses.
In the course of this visit we also attended two exhibits that will be described in the next episode.