gatineau morning.

gatineau morning.
photo by douglas mcarthur.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


My dog, Missy, was a particularly large shaggy dog, for an Indian mutt. Many of the locals were scared of her simply because of her size, although she was really very gentle, except for when she'd bite people.

Missy was actually just a weee bit racist, didn't like Indians. That did present a problem since we were, of course, in India. The problem was that she had been abused as a puppy. Her original owners were my landlords, not the most sensitive or loving people I'd ever met. One day, when they were hitting Missy, I just grabbed the rope and announced that henceforth she was my dog. She would go everywhere with me. Sometimes I'd even carry her onto the roof of a bus and we'd sit up there together all the way through the mountains.

Missy had been spayed but, unfortunately, she could still go into heat. The vet botched the operation. It may not have been his fault, exactly, since the power went out right in the middle of the operation and I had to hold a flashlight while he continued. Ever afterward, about three times a year, Missy would create quite a ruckus in the neighborhood. The local dogs would go berserk with desire. She was safe in my courtyard, although we could hear the fighting going on continuously right outside. I could see paws reaching in under the door as if trying in desperation to grab her. When I took Missy for walks at that time, she was quite happy for me to put her on a leash, and I carried a big stick to wave off the other dogs. We would often jump in a scooter-rickshaw and speed to a different valley, to get away from the pack, until another pack would begin to form.

Missy was completely uninterested in having intimate relations with any of the dogs in the area... except for one. I came to know eventually that Missy was terribly in love with one and only one of those cadaverous-looking, carnivorous canine creatures. She had a fancy for the smallest, scrawniest of the lot. She liked the one that was kind of a mix between a chihuahua and a gerbil. For some reason Missy always played only with that dog, liked to hang out with that one and, when in heat, she would cry for only him.

Well, I loved Missy and Missy loved that little fellow. So I arranged for the two of them to spend some quality time together even while Missy was in her hotness. The three of us would jump in a scooter-rickshaw. Missy would keep her partner under some control by virtue of her more commanding size until we reached the next valley. It was not always a very comfortable drive for me, but once we got out of the vehicle they were free to work out the logistics themselves. They'd find themselves a small hill, Missy would back up to it while her partner went up onto it, and that was how they consumated their love. I admired the way Missy protected her undersized friend. She would not put up with him being bullied by the others.

One problem I had with her was the way she liked to sneak around the back of stalls in the market and steal a mouth-full of sweets. My biggest problem with her, however, was her nasty habit of taking the odd nip out of any old random Indian person who happened to be walking by. It wouldn't happen all the time, just some times. But, one time it was perfect. She bit our landlord's son, badly, the kid who had been most fond of hitting Missy when she was a puppy. He made a big point of instructing me to watch her for rabies during the next ten days.

About four or five days later, as I passed his door, I called out to him in Hindi. All I said was "the dog." He looked over at me as I made a motion to indicate the dog was frothing at the mouth. His eyes went wide, all color drained from his face as I continued on my way laughing happily.        

1 comment :