It’s been three weeks already after my brother Dollar passed away. My mom and I said we will not get another dog. I mean, how could we even think of loving another? We could never replace him. Dollar is our one and only boy… Until Jack (formerly Charot) inched his way into our hearts — right when I needed him most.
If you have lost someone you love, then you know how bad it gets. Every time you think about that person, memories and emotions flood you and you feel like you can’t take it anymore. Closing your eyes always leads to tears streaming down your face, straight to the pillow you use to mute your sobs. You start looking for objects this person has touched, for places he has been to, for smells that he liked, for food that he loved. You find yourself sitting in a corner with your head between your hands, asking why did this have to happen? He was just there. HE WAS JUST THERE.
I didn’t get depressed about it but the moment I’ve got nothing left to do — I’m currently a bum, so this is usually the case — sadness hits me. Browsing through Dollar’s pictures and writing about him calmed me down. Then it ceased to be enough. Playing with cats didn’t help either. In my mind I was like, “I should be playing with Dollar, not you Putot.” One day, I was standing in front of his grave with my sorrow in my sleeves, when a wet snout nudged me behind the knee. I smiled, instantly. It was Charot. He was happy to see me and so was I. Ma later told me she saw him running down the street, apparently to greet me.
He wasn’t popular with the villagers because he had mange. Before, when I used to walk with Dollar, Charot tried approaching us because he wanted to play. I didn’t let him, afraid his skin disease might be transmitted to my boy. When Dollar was gone, he became my friend. In fact, he became my Dr. Dog. He helped me cope with grief just by being there. It’s an amazing gift dogs have.
The problem now is we bonded. I let him playbite despite knowing he is dirty. I started feeding him, but since Ma was closer to the cats, they got more servings. He also trots with us when we walk my second cousins’ dogs Sparky and Rainbow. The villagers seemed to warm up to him too, seeing he was always with us. The laborers even nicknamed him Bakbak (maybe for his scabs) and calls him when we pass by. Everybody noticed how his coat was improving, even prior to my convincing Ma to give him a bath. Which we did by the side of the street last Thursday, borrowing a neighbor’s hose. I guess I was able to persuade her when I told Charot, “don’t worry, once I get a job, Ma will allow me to give you a bath.” She probably thought that wasn’t gonna happen anytime soon that’s why she gave in. LOL. (See my previous post Me, Jobless.)
Each day I was excited to rouse from bed so I’ll get to play with Charot. After we ran and chased each other outside in the morning, which became our habit, he would lie down in the middle of the street and sleep. Same if I was solving the daily crossword outside the house sitting in a slab of rock, he’d be dosing off on the road. So I got the idea of letting him in. Unfortunately for him, he liked our garage — Ma had to evict him when night came. He whined but eventually went away. I had an interview that Friday so it was just the two of them. When I came home, Ma said we can’t have him. It’s too much responsibility, not again. We can hand him food but that’s it. I ate my dinner sobbing (I doubt she noticed).
Ma would scare me by saying things like, “when we’ve made him healthy somebody’s gonna eat him for sure.” Or “a car’s gonna run him over ‘coz he sleeps in the road in front of our house,” which almost happened last Sunday. I was solving my puzzle when a speeding red car came into my view. I shouted, “Charot, come!” He got up and jogged towards me, unaware of the danger. “Ma, we gotta let him sleep in the garage.” By afternoon, she gave him a bath in our laundry area. I suddenly had hope — she wouldn’t have done that if she still wanted him out. Besides, she asked the alley boys if they owned Charot and they said the teacher did, not them. And that teacher denied the allegation. But I ain’t pushing my luck; I didn’t ask Ma if Charot can live with us just yet. So our next concern was how he would be able to come and go as he pleases. We studied our gate and concluded that we could saw off one part so he’d fit right through. That Sunday, he slept overnight in our garage.
We were surprised how well-behaved he was when it’s mealtime. He’d be ecstatic to receive his food but would never bother Ma or me while we’re eating. He also eats bananas, and apples down to the core! He doesn’t go inside the house without permission, which for Ma is awesome. At night when our doors are closed, he stays in the garage, never begging to be let in. The only challenge now are the cats. They can’t get over the fact that we already have a new pet. They would hiss at him and do kung fu to drive him away whenever there’s food. Scary cats I tell you.
Monday made it official. Dollar’s spare collar found its owner. Charot is now Jack Bauau, my dog. His new name’s taken from our all-time fave TV series ‘24‘ whose lead character is Jack Bauer. I decided on this name because like the latter, our Jack is very intelligent and highly skilled. He can learn a trick in one sitting, so to speak. He mastered the following in one day: sit, out (of the house), jump (up and through a hoop) and his ultimate favorite, fetch. Our neighbors are impressed. I Googled yesterday and found a nice site on teaching dog tricks. How I wish my Instagram had video! (See more of Jack by searching for the tag #JackBauau on IG.) Below’s our first trial of fetch.
It’s only Tuesday — our adventure is just beginning…