Saturday, 21 January 2006
Blackie has a fever. He’s unusually cheerless and follows me around soaking up my attention. His tongue feels hot when he licks my hands. Instead of scarfing down his chicken rice, he picks and eats very little and hunts out for mud and sand when he’s out. Apart from gazing out to the dragonflies dancing en masse in mid air above the paddy field, he sleeps and stops chewing on his bone. I watch him, pat him, take him out every hour to relieve himself and let him lie by me on the wicker lounge chair. I wonder if I should call the vetenarary doctor in town.
He had his first vaccination last week and will have his next 2 soon. He’s still ridding of his worms although the pills were administered 2 weeks ago – he must have a stomach full of those round short white worms!
I bought Blackie a month ago. I kept the name given by the family that sold him to me – the Balinese will naturally calls him Blackie no matter what else I name him. All black except for its tongue and stomach which have a grayish tinge. He’s a Balinese Kintamani dog from the central hill area near Ubud. Unlike the normal local emaciated mangy canines seen on the streets, Blackie has beautiful thick short black fur, glistering sharp almost all black eyes & utterly black nails. He listens intensely, and yelps lightly when I have a conversation with him.
He loves mangoes and pineapples and he has a girlfriend, an all white puppy, named Adel that belongs to the family.
This is the first time I own a pet, something alive and needs attention - not counting family dogs when I was a kid and potted plants in my SF apartment. I have had no desire to own any pet until now – it would be good to have a companion since I’ll be living up on the Place alone. I heard that Kintamali dogs are the best dogs in Bali and have asked Made to look out for one. He mentioned that it’s hard to find them unless I get lucky. A week later Made told me that his friend had just bought a black Kintamani dog for his kids. I offered to buy it but was turned.
2 weeks later Made’s friend and his wife came with Blackie and sold him for 300,000Rp (approx. $32) - 50% more than what he paid for it. I gave him extra for his crying kids. I thought he sold the dog because he needed the money but later Made told me a different story. Since the family brought the dog home, everyone got sick. As usual, the Dukun (folk doctor, witchdoctor, black magic advocate, herbalist, druggist, faith healer sing incantations, ritual specialist, diviner, conjurer, etc) was consulted. They were told not to keep the black dog because of a crash of karmic forces between the black puppy and the family. Blackie’s energy is too strong for the family hence everyone got sick and will continue to be unless he’s out of the house.
So here he is – destined to be mine.
Blackie is almost the center of my life now. I suppose it’s good to have something else to focus on besides the project. I let him jump into my bed when he wants to, get up early to take him out, feed him 2-3 times a day, walk him constantly, teaches him and trains him, watch the way he eats, watch his litters to see if more worms are coming out, pick out those defiant ticks out (don’t dare to use those strong chemical powder found in Singaraja; there’s no pet shop here), apply tea tree oil between his toes, clean his ears, buy him chicken meat & puppy’s bones, bathe him twice a week, take him to the market while the Balinese gawk at him and comment how beautiful he is…. It’s almost like raising up a baby.
Last night, when I returned from the project soaking wet through fitful of exploding lightings and flooded streets, I found Blackie clammy and curled up on the chair. The electricity was out, his teeth flashing white in the black when he tried to hold my stroking hands with his gentle nipping. I stayed and comforted him for a long while.
Sheets of rain continued to pour through the night, my entire room was wet, bed, luggage and the rest. The entire roof was practically leaking under the load of the pelting torrent from heaven. It was quite a feat to set up a tent in the dark on a not-so-dripping wet spot. By then, I was passed caring; just needed to be horizontal….