Alas! Dirty-Smelly, I knew ye well!
My friend up north in Phrae had a dog, and not only was he dirty and smelly enough to be named Dirty-Smelly (“MaumMem”), he was also a biter. He lived about six years, and he was famous for biting people all that time. I lived in the house for a year or so, and at first we did not get along. He tried his best to dominate me, with lots of aggression, impressive growling, baring his teeth, and snapping them too. He was a substantial dog, about forty pounds, I’d say. One day it was all too much, and I temporarily put aside my loving ways to pick up a motorcycle helmet and beat the living shit out of him. I have quite a temper on me, and sometimes it comes out. He was a lot more reasonable after that, and after I started to give him treats and chicken bones every day, and scratch his neck just the way boy dogs like to be scratched, we reached an accommodation. Everyone else was afraid to touch him. Still, I told my friend, if that was my dog, he’d have been dead long ago.
A couple of months ago he bit her grandson on the face for some minor infraction. When I heard about it, my advice was simple: put the dog down. “If you don’t want to kill him,” I explained patiently, “pay someone to take him to Chiang Rai and throw him out of the truck.” I understand that Buddhists are loathe to kill anything, except the daily killing of animals for food, or mosquitoes, and they smile and pretend that those things don’t happen either. She told me that it was actually her sister’s dog, the sister lives in an adjoining house. I told her to think about it, and keep it to herself if she took any action.
The dog bit her daughter a few days ago, and evidently that was the bridge-too-far, the last straw. She called me last night with the good news. “Today, MaumMem is dead!” She told me about the bite, and how it had suddenly made her see the light. The dog’s dénouement was very dramatic.
My friend went to the home of a neighbor, I know him, he’s a friend of mine. These days he’s a successful motorcycle mechanic, but in his youth, firearms played an important role in his employment (he was not a policeman or a soldier, you fill in the blanks). They returned to her house, where the dog was tied up outside, with a pistol. You should understand that my friend is of the hard-scrabble school of life, she was born in a hut with no walls, in the middle of a rice field, and a lifetime of hard work has given the palms of her hands the calluses of a Puerto Rican conga drummer. So I was not surprised to learn that it was her that ended the dog’s reign of terror by emptying the pistol into him, eight shots, she fired until the receiver stayed back. She understands guns, her husband, when alive, was in the same business that the neighbor had been in. No prayers, I believe, were spoken, and the neighborhood rejoiced.
I told her, “you did the right thing, I was worried about your grandson.” Next month he comes to live at her house, permanently, with his mom. She told me that she was still worried about what her sister would say. “Just smile,” I told her, “say you don’t know what happened, he must have run away.”
She was still concerned. “But Khun Fred, what about all the blood?”