The odds seem to be against me. Out of a total of 14 WorkAway hosts, 10  have had one or more dogs. I consider myself an animal lover, but dogs seem to fall in the ‘challenging’ category. Cats are more my style. Maybe because they seem more independent and less needy? Perhaps dogs represent where I am and cats, where I want to be. They are like gurus for me, and being OK with the ‘needy’ tendency in the dog helps to embrace that same tendency in myself.

Socks and Megan are my present gurus while staying with Alexandra near Malaga, Spain. Socks is a South African Ridgeback crossed with ‘something’. Megan is most likely Mastiff, crossed with ‘something else’. I could say a lot about these dogs, like the fact that Socks actually found Megan as a pup, scrawny and starving, and dragged or pushed her all the way up the hill to the house. Or the fact that, having been on the brink of starvation, Megan has developed an almost neurotic obsession with anything that looks like food. They enjoy each others company and their childlike antics are very entertaining.

Socks and Megan clearly took a liking to me, while I in turn have done my best to limit the interactions. But, during this last week of my stay, Alexandra has come down with a flu and is in no shape to walk the dogs, so I have taken it upon myself to go walking with the two of them. Every morning we scramble down the steep hill to the dried out riverbed below and spend an hour or so exploring. It’s like playtime, fitness and therapy all wrapped up in one activity. Plus lots of sunshine.

And what does all of this have to do with snakes?

So, the day before yesterday, while walking the dogs, I happened to see a small snake working its way around the base of a little shrub along side the water. Snakes do not really scare me. I keep my distance, but remain curious. As I came closer, the snake slithered around to the other side of the shrub and I lost sight of it.

Yesterday, again walking the dogs, I caught sight of something even stranger. It was also a snake and the same type, but this time it was submerged under water, anchored around a rock and devouring a long ‘tube’ of frogs eggs. A snake under water? I guess they can do that. I took some pictures until, getting too close, it swam away to the other side of the river, but not before one of the dogs had almost stepped on it.

As I walked back, I was wondering if maybe there was a message in these sightings. I mean, how often do you see a snake? These were the first ones I had seen on my whole trip. And then two snakes, two days in a row.

From internet: ‘Seeing snakes often symbolises upcoming periods of great personal transformation and growth. You might experience changes in your emotions, spirituality or some physical changes. Snakes are a powerful spiritual symbol. They are often a sign of spiritual development and awakening. Seeing snakes could also indicate going through a difficult emotional period in your life and beginning the process of healing.’

If truth be told, the last days have been difficult and emotional for me. I have had to face up to certain unrealistic hopes and desires, accept that these hopes and desires, although providing the emotional ‘fuel’ to propel me towards Portugal, ultimately have to be jettisoned as so much extra baggage. And much like the Apollo moon lander, having left behind the first and second stages, I ultimately will have to manoeuvre this landing on my own.

Today, I took the dogs out again. Naturally, I was very curious if I would be so lucky as to see yet another snake. Three in a row would almost be magic. Alas, it is so often that way: when you are looking for something, you don’t find it.

Later in the afternoon however, while jogging up the mountain road, I did in fact see a third snake…only this one had been run over and now lay motionless. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what the meaning of this was…It didn’t seem like it could be good. But, even a dead snake apparently is a good omen!

From Internet: ‘… A dead snake is a positive omen and indicates that you do not have to do worry too much about money. It suggests that you are going to undertake a long but profitable journey.’

Good enough for me.