Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Dog's Life

My parents-in-laws decided to go to Asturias on vacation, and our dog-loving siblings-in-law are away in Mexico. But dogs don't travel in the Summer. Neither do South-American immigrants. No matter what we ourselves had planned, and no matter what the little guy needs right here and right now, Jose's old people simply ditched the poor thing with us yesterday morning and hit the Road North. For over a week.

Beyond the trauma of the experience (for all parts involved who stayed in Madrid), the whole thing has been enlightening and very instructional for me, who gets to spend 24 hours a day imprisioned in the house with the new ghost. I'm learning a lot about what hurts my animal soul and what it needs.

I'm a dog-phobe, but apparently I'm doing a great job in controlling whatever scent we dog-phobes exhale that makes dogs attack, so so far Toy (the deadweight's name) hasn't attacked me. Jose, however, hasn't been as lucky. His middle and ring fingers are still swollen from yesterday's bite.

We don't have his toys here to play with him, my in-laws forgot them--though I'm sure the vacationers' booze was conviniently packed for the trip, with not a drop left behind. I try to refrain from touching Toy or showing a lot of affection and moodswings. I know dogs work under complex psychological laws, and are way more merciless than all the animals I love and can cope up with. Because I've managed to become perfect strangers with Toy, having me in the house is almost like having another ghost who doesn't care a bit about him, so he's desperately lonely.

He hasn't eaten for over 24 hours, doesn't sleep and everytime somebody opens a door in the building (i.e., all the time), he leaps to the hallway and wiggle what is left of his tail. He used to scratch the door, but I told him off yesterday, and he's obedient now. It breaks my heart to see him so lonely and so desperate for affection from somebody who can actually give it to him without losing a pretty useful and functional part of their body in the beast's teeth.

Dogs are territorial. Never underestimate the depressive effect it has on a dog to deprive him of the home he's known for eight years. He's given up exploring the house within six or eight hours yesterday, and this afternoon, he forgot to sit endlessly with his head up and ears open trying to hear when their owners will climb the stairs to reclaim him. But still, every now and then he goes to the closed entrance door, sits and cries his mournful, high-pitched dog-cry.

Whatever my in-laws had in mind (or in cunt), they are just big-time jerks for buying an animal, training him to have a co-dependency relationship with them, and then dumping the little guy like this.

Toy is a marvellous animal, really. Very polite and impressively clever, he knows that here he cannot bark like a spoiled, very Spanish drama queen, like my in-laws expect him to and trained him to be. So he's silent for the most part of the day. He learnt that when he goes out in the balcony, he can bark like mad and nobody will punish him. So he flees to the outdoors bit of our flat, howl for the Sun or the Moon, whoever is shining in the sky, and then comes back in, silent and invisible again. He knows what he needs, and now he gets it without causing any nuisance. I'm successfully training the dog to be a cat.

Today, he's let me take my German lesson at LiveMocha--it was the stupid ISP Orange who left me down once more. At this pace, I might actually enjoy having a dog in the house. No matter how depressed he is here.

Poor guy.

Image: Toy's race and colour. A shining, light-brown cocker spaniel. But Toy looks way sadder these days.