Raoul’s Two Cents: July 15, 2022
First of all, thanks for all the heartfelt sympathies for the loss of my brother. To know there are many who are praying made this time of mourning easier to deal with.
Let’s move to a lighter topic. Let’s talk about a friend I developed in the house/farm where I stayed in Dalipuga, Philippines. The pace of life was so slow I actually befriended the local animals. One of them was a dog named Artie.
I heard a harsh bark coming from the back of the house. Sounded like an old dog straining to catch attention. What I saw was disheartening. Artie had a tight noose around her neck. Her gray-white fur was muddied and there were patches of exposed skin. Her staring eyes wondered if I was friend or foe. She cowered when I approached and moved as far away from me as the chain would allow. Slowly, I reached out my hand and pat her on the head. Eventually, I started to give her a good massage. All the while, I could see she was trying to process this strange sensation — as if, for the first time, someone actually recognized she was an animal who had dignity.
In the Philippines a few fortunate dogs (who are owned by rich masters) are treated well and live in cages and are let loose certain times of the day. Today there is a trend among the well-to-do to get the smaller breeds for companionship. But most dogs are treated as commodities. Their main use is for security. That’s why the preference is for big scary hounds. They are tied down near the entrances to sound the alarm for any stranger coming within the premises. Some home owners build up quite a collection of these hounds. One of my cousins has close to 20 of them. When one barks the whole caboodle follow like a howling orchestra; and the neighborhood wakes up; and the lights turn on; and this goes on for several minutes.
Dogs live off leftover scraps. Many are malnourished. A few limp because they’ve been run over while crossing the busy streets. Very rare are the pure bred. Many never bathe and are filthy. Yet strangely, all dogs, worship their masters. Whether man realizes it or not, they are indeed man’s best friend.
According to Tata (our house helper) Artie was in chains since she was a puppy. I had to put a stop to this abuse and had Artie bathed and released. What a transformation. She was actually all white. She pranced around the compound like a wild stallion taking in the wind rushing down her body with her tongue hanging out. After she had done exploring do you know where she went? She nestled close to the kitchen where Tata (her master) worked. And wherever Tata would go (to feed the chickens or take the goats out to pasture) there was Artie following along to make sure things were going smoothly. Occasionally, she would pounce on Tata to give her a hug making all of us laugh at Artie’s need for affection.
I would see Artie frolicking about wagging her tongue and tail, it felt good to know I had a part in her happiness. Alas, signs of the trauma of growing up were still visible. Whenever I was alone with Artie and tried to pat her head, she would move away — just like the first time I met her. I learned to let her smell my hand first to let her know I was still a friend. Then I would give her a mean massage that she thoroughly enjoyed.
Who is more important?
Before you start criticizing the Filipinos for the way they treat their dogs, take a step back and take off your western glasses. Stop judging by western standards. We who treat our dogs better than we treat some of our fellow humans — whose culture is doing a better job of compassion? Are dogs more important than humans? Growing up, the answer to that question was very simple. Today, I’m not sure we will agree.
There is a mention of a dog in the Bible in Matthew 15:21-28 — a desperate Canaanite woman asked Jesus (a Jew, her sworn enemy) to help remove a demon from her daughter. Jesus seemingly insults the woman — essentially saying “why must I help you? Shouldn’t I help my own people first? Let the Jews eat first and you can eat the crumbs that fall on the floor just like a dog would.” In genuine humility, the woman admits she is a dog but like a dog she will still be content with just the crumbs.
So, even during those times, dogs have been treated so badly. It is only today that we give them so much importance.
To choose who is more important is difficult. But it’s not difficult to show kindness to anyone — humans or dogs. If we show kindness to both, then perhaps we won’t have to choose.
Joke of the Week
Thanks to Peter Paul of South Pasadena, CA for this joke.
Thanks to Jacqueline of Pasadena, CA
Thanks to Rodney of Manitoba, B.C.
I found these series of dog jokes to fit our topic today