Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I Wanna Be Your Dog
One of my most disturbing memories of my short Bangkok childhood was being in a dusty wat/temple courtyard with my parents on a hot afternoon. The saffron robed monks were lazing placidly about, flies were plentiful and while I can't recall why we were there, what I remember painfully was the anguished howls and whines coming from a small dusty gray short haired mutt trying to drag itself slowly with its front legs. The back legs were useless because its back was clearly broken.

I asked my father why the monks didn't put it out of its misery. The howls were soul searing, bouncing off the courtyard and making the dog's agony all too evident. My dad explained that it was against Buddhist belief to kill an animal, even if was suffering. I found the explanation not entirely satisfying and briefly contemplated finding a brick or rock in an attempt to mercifully smash its head. But, no. We left and I could hear the howls for minutes after the temple was out of sight. It still haunts me today...

Which is probably why I've got a new pal in Hua Hin, a white and brindle, short haired "soi dog", one of seemingly hundreds feral mutts roaming the city and dozens in my benighted neighborhood.

I haven't named her, afraid of getting too attached, I guess, but since I tossed her some dinner scraps about two and a half weeks ago, she's been hard to shake. Faithful, friendly, flea bitten, I don't allow her inside or even through the gates, but her attachment based on the few eggs and scraps I throw her way several days a week has become something of a joke among a couple Thai employees at Faulty Towers.

"We never see you with Thai lady," said one. "But now you have dog. You like dogs, not ladies?"

"Heh," I respond. "Umm, I like ladies fine. But mine is in China. Dog's are easier, too. They don't ask if their butts are too big. They just sniff each others."

"Why you nice to dog? She dirty! Don't feed!"

This is the part I don't comprehend. Yeah, she could use a bath and delousing, but what does a little pat on her head and doggy baby talk and a few scraps cost me? What about making merit? Thais regularly give free food and gifts to monks to make spiritual merit. But I've also seen monks with cell phones and one with what appeared to be an iPod. Meanwhile the dogs are unsightly, loud, yes, but I'd rather make small merit with a soi dog. Maybe because of what I saw so long ago...

3 comments:

John said...

take care of the darn dog! The bestpets were once strays!

Hope all is going well.

Chuck said...

Being a dog guy, this one tugged at my heart. I've never met a dog I didn't like. Of course, I've never met any of Michael Vick's dogs (or any of their breed either).

Where can I send a donation to keep feeding the dog? After the donation, I'll await a picture of my orphan adopted dog. If you post a picture too soon, I might change my mind ;-) Stay safe Justin.

JOhn said...

Justin - any word on what is going on next door in Burma?