A friend came to have a drink with me in my local watering hole this afternoon. As he was talking, a scruffy, sad-looking dog walked past (not the one in the photo). I was going to comment on him, but, as I said, my friend was talking, so the moment passed. I’ve seen the animal before, but only once, and quite a while ago. Anyway, it returned thirty minutes later and a big car ran over it. The vehicle wasn’t doing ten miles an hour, but when the front wheel hit the dog and it screamed, the car didn’t stop. It went over it, and as it continued to howl, the rear wheel went over him. The noise was pitiful, and there’s a big patch of blood and guts where the dog exploded before it ran up the road, not yet aware that it was dead.
I have never seen anything like that before. The car didn’t even stop. My friend said he’s seen it dozens of times in his village and the other dogs always rip the dying dog apart. He didn’t know whether that was for humanitarian reasons, but he did say he thought it was the origin of the expression ‘Dog Eat Dog’.
I don’t know, that didn’t happen in this instance, but it was a horrible sight to see fifteen metres away.
It makes me realize that some people witness a brutal death like this happen to their friends, family and colleagues in war zones and rescue instances and that is something I have never spent time thinking about before.
A friend of mine saw a motorcyclist get killed by a truck in Pattaya last week and that death upset a lot of people too. Although death is a feature of everyone’s life, most of us do a fantastic job of putting it to the back of our minds and avoiding the issue, don’t we?
Seven years ago, a neighbour’s dog, that we used to feed sometimes, got pregnant and so we started to feed her more as her owners were often at work. One day, Da, the dog, disappeared and it was only a month later that she came bounding into a shop where my wife and I have a beer for an hour most evenings.
She was in awful condition and more than a little smelly, but obviously very happy to see us, so we allowed her to rub up against us and I patted her with the back of my hand, not wanting to stroke her as she was so oily.
I bought her six eggs and smashed them for her to eat. Twenty minutes later, she left again, but returned with a puppy in her mouth. She placed him carefully on my foot and sat looking at me. The puppy’s eyes were still closed.
She ran off again and came back with another puppy which she balanced on my wife’s foot and sat down again, panting in the Thai heat. As the puppies bleated and stumbled looking for their mother, Da nudged them back onto our feet and then ran off again.
However, this time she did not return. She had given us two of her children to look after.
My wife had never had a dog before and was not keen as she neither liked nor trusted them. However, after much pleading she agreed to have them in the garden as long as I looked after them. I started out well, but within a fortnight, my wife was caring for two dogs that she hadn’t wanted and they were destroying her much-loved garden.
After about a month, Da started dropping by again, presumably to see how her children were getting on. Anyway, one of her previous litter, whose name was Oen (‘Fatty’ in Thai) had recently been killed on the road, so we called our two Bpom and Bpouy (bpombpouy means chubby in Thai).
Bpouy was crazy, chased everything and loved fighting. The locals poisoned him within a year.
Three years later, Bpom was a beautiful dog both in nature and appearance. He followed me everywhere and if he saw a white person in the village, which was a rarity, he would try to lead them to our house. He brought several strangers to meet us.
I have never had such an intelligent dog.
Anyway, one day w had friends over and one of them left the front gate open. Bpom, having rarely gone out the front and being a male, had to pee on everything in sight. Unfortunately, he wandered into a neighbour’s unfenced garden and found scraps laid down for strays.
It had been laced with poison.
He died a horrible, slow death. The poison is sold to farmers to kill snails and works as a neurotoxin.
He was only out of sight for ten minutes and the garden is only five yards away, but the poison debilitated him so quickly that as he tried to get home, he could only walk in circles, his tongue lolling low. When he fell over, I caught him and carried him into our garden.
His eyes were rolling and he went into spasms. I held him on my lap for his last thirty minutes, while neighbours stood outside offering my wife suggestions, but nothing worked. His brain was affected anyway.
When he died, my wife burst into tears. She is a farmer’s daughter and it was the first time that she had ever cried for an animal and never thought that she would for a dog, but Bpom was the first one she had ever got to know.
Bpom died in our front garden, which is a place we have never used for recreation much, although we have all the gear there – table, chairs etc..
One evening, we found ourselves sitting there and we started talking about the night that Bpom had died. Neither of us had sat there since that day, but we had both been thinking of him all day., which may have been how we came to be sitting there.
Out of curiosity, I counted the days back to that fateful day. It was one hundred, and as any Thai will tell you ‘The 100 Days’ is the most revered in the process of seeing a loved one off to the next world.
How did we know to be there?
We both feel that Bpom called us there to say goodbye.