Look at me! I’m wearing a coat!
And shoes, for crying out loud.
Not cool for a top dog.
No matter how I squirmed and squealed,
they put them on me. It’s torture.
Sure, they ‘know what’s best’.
But now that I’m outside,
I almost forgot.
My feet don’t hurt in the snow,
I can still smell the smells,
and mark my territory.
The King of the playground
I’m the king of the playground!
No other dog is as cool as me.
I rule this place, I’ve marked it.
Of course others can play here
as well. As long as they
realise they are my subjects.
I’m the king of the playground!
Until a bigger, badder dog comes around.
This poem was inspired by our many visits to the local dog run in Riga, a tweet by my friend Johan, and the amazing #FriFotos forum, themed Dogs on Friday 6 January 2012.
A couple of years ago, right before we moved into the second millennium, I wrote my first short story and even got it published. I entered it in a contest in which the 100 winners would see their stories published in a book called ‘Het boek aller tijden’ – which is Dutch for ‘The Book of All Times’. Even though I liked writing the short story, it took me over 10 years to come up with the second story. So, if you’re in for a little light reading on a Sunday, here’s the Legend of Gazibe of Lyndas:
Sometimes, when holidaying, you get confronted with things that you don’t like, worry about, but have no idea how you can fix it. In the otherwise beautiful area in Turkey where I am right now, there is quite a large population of stray dogs. It seems that there has been a government run sterilization program, but still there are a lot of dogs roaming free. It seems they have found a way of coexistence with the local population. But sometimes, one of them is taken out of the streets by tourists, to be left at the holiday home or where ever when the fun is over. Today I met one of these, and taking her home with us would have been an option. The problem is that it doesn’t solve anything. And starting there, where would you stop? Why ‘rescue’ this one, and not the many others which apart from being used to living in the wild an being a bit dirty, seem very well behaved and not disease ridden. And what about back home in Latvia. The animal shelter in Riga is overflowing with abandoned dogs, all of which are in need of a good home and safe life. And there are many reasons why we cannot rescue them all: lack of funds, lack of time, lack of enough room in our apartment.
But Jezebel, as a lady in the park here had called her, broke my heart this morning. Her big sweet eyes, her looking for protection of being taken to a veterinarian and a shelter without hope for a long and happy future. It will stay with me for a long time, and I hope she finds a good life. And when we’re back home, maybe we take a dog from the shelter, so that our B has a friend. It might be time he shares some of his luck of being loved and cared for with another dog.
Every day our dog and I go for our little walks. Back in Amsterdam, this was sort of a social event. Within weeks of moving into a new neighbourhood, you’d know almost all dogs by name, have nice conversations with their owners, while the dogs play or have a hierarchy discussion. Sometimes we had hilarious encounters, especially with oversized playful pups.
In Paris, this is mostly different. People tend to react very uptight on seeing another dog coming in their direction. Their favorite move mostly is to cross the street. If that is not an option, they move, panic in the eyes, as close to one side as they possibly can, sometimes trying to hide behind a tree or a parked car. All the time ever more tightening their grips on the leads. And this is the biggest mistake. The dogs get thus the message that there is danger, and that they are supported to attack. Quite soon I got accustomed to saying that my dog, ‘il est très gentil’.
Fortunately, there are also some dog owners that are much more relaxed, so yesterday evening, and this morning, we had some nice walks, meeting dog-friends, having chats and playing. Then, walking the dog is great.