Thursday, March 30, 2006

Our dog


We don’t have a dog, of course. But we’ve developed a proprietary affection for this old guy on Jalan Jaksa, a battle-scarred cur of indeterminate age and breeding. We don’t pet him. He’s not that kind of dog. We admire him from afar.

The other night we could hear a dog yapping endlessly from somewhere near the hotel. Even in our fourth-floor room the sound had a piercing quality. “That can’t be our dog,” Chad said. “It sounds like a small one.”

“And our dog is too practical to waste all that energy,” I said. “He wouldn’t raise his head unless someone kicked him.” Which is true. That’s the beauty of our dog: he plunks down right in the middle of the sidewalk and snoozes, oblivious to the foot traffic, the noisy kids, the cars zooming by, and all the other sonic bombardments of Jakarta. Our dog has focus.

Dogs and cats both have it tough here, for sure, but somehow I feel a little worse for the dogs. The street cats look kind of wild, and they’re suspicious of humans. You can’t really imagine them curled up on your couch. The dogs on the street look like normal dogs to me, and it just seems like they should have a home. I guess it’s the only life they know, though. Until they start watching TV, they’ll probably feel okay about themselves.

7 comments:

jakers said...

hahaa! i'm streaming tears of joy as i read your observations... these feral dogs straddle the wild/domestic boundaries with hilarious results. it seems. have you ever fed this doggy? this seems like a great partnership. does he know you exist? hahaa, brilliant trish!

WiLSoN said...

Hey Trish ))

As WiLSoN, I appreciated the story of the dog...and the cats..and the big picture....but for some reason fail to see any humor in the situation (not that you intended any). It's a jungle out there, and you're right, the dogs should have homes. Some folks are easily amused, I guess. Good luck with your classes!
- W

Chad said...

Our dog seems to live in a yard full of skinny chickens, actually. When it rains he's got lots of shelter. I haven't ever seen him get love from humans, though. He seems to be in a special world of his own. I imagine he's had a hard life, but he's had at least one or two great loves. He reminds me a lot of the Velveteen Rabit, with patches of missing fur and a few scars. He's stiff and obviously elderly, but he's not limping. Though it's true that Muslims have to wash their hands seven times if they touch a dog's saliva, I suspect the rules are not strictly enforced among children. There's plenty of them around, and I bet the dogs and kids occupy the same little spaces here. He's got the biggest pack a dog could hope for; one that gets replenished constantly.

michele said...

what a great old dog... does he have a name yet?
so, you've already got a job, an almost house, a dog... if 2.5 children start following you up and down the street i think you may be in a very special episode of the twilight zone.
re: your dog - street animals always make me sad, but there is something very honorable about the ones who seem to be "making it" on their own. like a bad bootstraps analogy for homeless pets. imagine a documentary about third world homeless street animals juxtaposed against US pets of the wealthy, who have designer clothes, therapists and their own cemeteries.
Name your dog!
-m

kopisusu2 said...

We call him "Anjing," which means "dog." Not very imaginative, I know, but we need all the Indonesian practice we can get!

Children sometimes follow me here, but they're usually shouting "Mister!!" or, if they're more linguistically accomplished, "Lady!!!" If any of them start showing up at the dinner table on a regular basis, I'll start to worry.

I like the documentary, though as a journalist and smartypants I have to point out that the world's first 4-star hotel for pets is in Kuala Lumpur. I want to do a story on it one of these times when we're makig a visa run. Maybe you should take Jackson there someday?

The Editor said...

If Muslims believe dogs are unclean because of their sanitary habits (licking their rear ends), why do cats get a free pass?

Keep your blog going, it seems that all of the expat bloggers in Indonesia follow different paths, which is great, since we're not all writing about the same topics.

KimDonesia said...

Inappropiate, "The Editor". Have some respect for other religions and cultures. It is because it is and that's it; God says their saliva is dirty, then their saliva sure as heck is dirty.