May 4, 2007

Pusa: A Dog's Tale

Pusa, my beloved mongrel, is now 43. That’s the equivalent of seven calendar years. (A dog’s first year is supposedly equivalent to one 365-day year while each succeeding year is equivalent to seven human years). If your glass is half full, seven years may not amount to much. If, on the other hand, your glass is half empty, seven years may seem a lifetime.

As someone who is known to waver between the half-full, half-empty barometer, I would like to think that Pusa has enough years—whether it be dog or human—ahead of her. Of late, however, she has been showing signs of slowing down. She is content to let the other dogs do the barking (more effective than the doorbell), and she is no longer the slim, graceful askal of seven (human) years ago. Pusa has, in fact, turned “matronly,” with bulges in the most unflattering places.

There is still one thing that can make Pusa run like hell, though: bath. After an entire year of trying, I have just about given up. Never mind that she practically stinks: among my dogs past and present, Pusa is my one great doggy love.

Here is our (Pusa and mine’s) story so far: I had just come from a niece’s wedding when I first heard persistent, tortured cry from the dark kitchen. There goes the stray cat again, I thought. Still miserable over the fact that the bouquet had no other takers but “old maid auntie” me, I tripped over a crate, hit my head and literally saw stars. I saw something else: a fuzzy puppy that was just as miserable.

And on that note of misery we started on our road together: me from a nasty relationship; she from being taken from her roots. Dad was all set to call her Fifty (he bought her for P50 from a little boy near his office). I beat him to the draw, though, and by the time Dad got home, Pusa already liked the idea of being called “Pusa.” Much, much put together seven years later, we are still each other’s masters.

What it is about pets that brings out the softer, ready-to-spoil side in each of us? My sister’s Dachshund, has turned feisty, opinionated Weird Sister into a doting—if over-protective—“mama,” ready to snarl if somebody threatened her precious Bruno. When Batchoy was ran over at the highway 10 years ago, Dad almost tearfully moved heaven and hell to save the poor dog—to no avail. Even today, slowed down by a stroke that took away his speech, Dad still manages to play with the dogs. My daughter, on the other hand, thinks Bruno is her cousin.

For what it’s worth, I guess there is always that little animal in you and me. And a little of that human in them.

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