According to me, the dog fair is a genuine old country event. A hundred years-old, possibly. Farmers probably picked this convenient village, at a crossroad, and met there to swap or sell puppies, in time for the hunting season in September. Every thing else has enormously changed. Nowadays, you find pure-bred puppies of exotic races, such as porcelain-white Argentinian Bulldogs (they will wither in the local sun), mute japanese dogs, for 600€ a piece! Of course, people look, but do not buy. A dog-breeder of "Bruno du Jura" ( drove from as far as Avignon to get rid of the males of this summer litter. Males are harder to sell, he tells me.
The only mongrels in sight are given away by bums, true vagabonds. They often have a dog in tow (in France) because the police can't arrest them with a live animal. They really want to get rid of the last four pupies, because hiting the road with a line-up of six dogs behind you is awkward. Nobody comes near them.
A charity booth offers leaflets for tax-deductible donations. Do you want to sponsor the education of a visualy-deficient person's dog? Every hour on the dot, a trained Labrador stages a demo with the charity lady.
One again, I reflect that country life has really changed in France, not for the better. Over the puppies boxes, you don't hear conversations about hunting, rounding up sheeps, or truffle hunting talents. People exchange tips on contraceptives, vets' names, toilet training. The rural dog nowadays must safeguard the plasma tv screen, must not bite or rough up children, must not bark and whimper when left alone for the day, or else, there will be problems with the neighbours. The subburbean civilization has so deeply polluted country life that you never meet a stray dog. They are being walked on a leash ! One never knows: what if he gets to the neighbours' bitch (in heat), or destroys delicate shrubbery? Problems again.. In my report, I just mentioned that the pups were really too expensive.
The problem with being old enough to remember country life in the sixties, in France, is to decide that you wouldn't like to retire and grow old here. But where, then?