My Dad just died. He was sick for a long while. Something called cancer. He got weaker and weaker and faded away. I feel so sad and lost. I’m not sure what’s going to happen. Dad was my best friend. We used to sit and have chats, we would go for walks together and I was his security while he worked in the garden. Someone had to make sure those pesky squirrels, monitor lizards and birds didn’t steal his tools. But everything is different now. I don’t know who will be my best friend.
I live in this big house with Dad, Mum and Mizz M. Mizz M is our housekeeper and she is very nice. I also have 3 older sisters – Big S, Lil T and Young C. They live in someplace called Australia. It’s no where near here. When they come back home, they smell very different to any place I know.
They have have been spending a lot of time at home since Dad got sick. I love it when they are here as I get a lot more treats and cuddles. Mum says I’m spoilt. I also get a lot more baths! If Lil T starts sneezing when she give me cuddles, out comes the shampoo. It’s fortunate that I live in a tropical climate. A bath is no hardship. It’s quite enjoyable in fact and I love snoozing in a sunny spot after.
On the day of the funeral, I just have to get away. Everyone is so sad and somber and it is more than I can take. An opportunity comes when Mizz M leaves the gate open and I make a dash for it.
I’m not supposed to go out of the house alone but I love to roam and check out what’s new in the neighbourhood. Sometimes I break the fence and go for a walk. Other times, I run off when the gate is open.
I don’t get to wander to my heart’s content this time. I’ve been barely out 5 minutes and I see Lil T and Mizz M coming after me in the car. Not ready to go back home, so I run away from them. After a few minutes of this, they split up. Lil T is following in the car and Mizz M is walking. I don’t realise Mizz M is on foot until she is near me. Hah! This is a good opportunity to make her chase me, so I run off a short distance and wait for her to catch up.
There is a man coming towards me but ignore him and move further away on the sidewalk. Suddenly the man lunges in my direction. Mizz M shouts “Get away from him. He bites!” The man keeps coming. So I bite hard on the hand that is too close to me and run away. Really! Just because I’m small doesn’t mean you can manhandle me.
The man is angry. He yells at Mizz M, who is trying to calm him, and picks up stones to throw at me. I run away towards Lil T. She catches hold off my collar and I growl at her. All this drama has me really shaken up. Lil T very quietly tells me to stop that. “We have to go back home and say our goodbyes to dad. You cannot leave him to be sent off without you”, she says. She sounds so sad, so I let her put the leash on me.
Meanwhile the man and Mizz M are coming up to where we are. The man yells ” Your dog bit me. Why did he have to bite me?” Before I can reply, Lil T is yelling back at him. She tells him off for trying to grab me, when Mizz M had warned him that I bite. You don’t mess with Lil T. She is sweet and kind but ferocious when it comes to my welfare. And she was already upset.
The man is taken aback but still grumbles about how he has to get an injection (ewww!) and it’s going to cost him money and he’s going to be late for work. Mizz M and Lil T exchange a long glance, and Lil T abruptly tells the man to get in the car. I scramble in quickly with Mizz M behind me. I’m not letting her drive alone with him! I growl at him to show him I’m watching and that I’ll bite him again if he tries anything.
We get home and Mum is out front gathering flowers. Lil T tells her what happened. If I recall correctly her exact words were “This interfering dumbo went after Quinoa. Mizz M tried to stop him but he wouldn’t listen. Quinoa bit him and he tried to stone the dog! What kind of idiot throws stones at a dog that just bit him! Now he is moaning about needing medical attention.” Lil T is talking in a language the man can’t understand but I’m sure that he can tell from her tone that he’s not going to get any sympathy from her. Lil T doesn’t suffer fools.
Mum talks to the man and finds out that he is on his way to work. He has a small wound on his hand from where my teeth punctured his skin and wants to get it looked at. Mum apologises for not being able to take him to the hospital as the funeral is about to start and people were arriving. She gives him some money for his medical expenses and tells him to ask for her cousin, who is a doctor at the hospital just up the road. As you can see, Mum is the diplomatic one in the family.
The man leaves with a filthy glance in my direction. We all heave a sigh of relief when he is out of sight. Lil T goes inside to get changed and I get tethered to the washing line so I can’t try to run away again.
It’s been an exciting morning and I fall asleep very quickly. I can hear a lot of people, cars and singing but I’m knackered and sleep quietly through the whole thing.
Later that night after everything is finished, Lil T and Young C come out to sit with me. Young C starts brushing me and the two sisters start talking. I find out that Lil T is not going back to Australia. She is going to stay with Mum, help sort out Dad’s affairs and look after me. Young C and Big S will return to Sydney in a couple of days.
Lil T wraps her hand around my chin and pulls up my head to look at her. “You have nothing to worry about you hear? You will be looked after. Things might change but you will be looked after. No more acting up and definitely no more biting people!”
I lick her nose to show I hear her and we go back to looking out at the night.
Note from author: I have been thinking of trying my hand at storytelling for a while now. But I couldn’t decide what I should write about. It suddenly occured to me that I know dogs very well and I’m always coming up with clever caption for the pictures of my pets. And so the Dog Tales short story series was conceived. This is the first instalment in the series. Would love to hear what you think. Please leave a comment below.