Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A dog called Faith – My sister has sent me an e-mail all about this amazing animal that was born on Christmas Eve 2002 without front legs. Evidently even his mother didn’t want him and his first owner was thinking of having him put to sleep but then, along came a woman by the name of Jude Stringfellow who took to him and I’m not really surprised. In a photograph of him as a pup the look on his face is just too tear making for words. Anyway Jude took it upon herself to train Faith to walk upright and accomplished it in six months, so much so that the dog now walks on his hind legs like a human and has become a true celebrity. No matter where he goes he attracts people to him and has been written about in newspapers and appeared on television. Now a book titled ‘With A Little Faith’ is being published about him. Jude has given up her teaching post and plans to take him around the world to preach (as she puts it) that even without a perfect body you can have a perfect soul.
I admire her and her aspirations but I’m not sure the strain of a world tour will do much for Faith. The message can still come across through the media while he stays happily at home.
I don’t normally have a very practical mind but there are questions I would like to ask like, how does he eat? Dogs stand on all four legs to dip their snouts into a bowl. Secondly how does he shit and piss (talking about the other end.) Presumably he squats like a bitch, he certainly can’t cock his leg, but how does he maintain his balance with only his two legs? Well whatever the answer he is truly the most remarkable dog.
But now to a less fortunate dog. I don’t know what his Cretan name was or even if he had a name at all but I called him Buster. He was a fully grown animal quite large and nothing but skin, bone and vermin and he was chained in a room without light for twenty-four hours of every day. I don’t remember why our friend Menuis took us around to see this particular house just a short distance away from where we live but it would certainly make the most wonderful home. Unfortunately it was owned by one of the most surly, sour, vindictive, xenophobic peasant you could ever come across. He wanted to sell the property but only to a Greek. Thirteen years later it is even more derelict and still, I presume, for sale.
We entered the first room of the house and Menuis said, in Greek of course, ‘Watch out for the dog.’ Dog? What dog? There in the far corner lay this pathetic creature that slowly lumbered to its feet and wagged its tail. God alone knows when last it had seen a human being or even been fed. Heedless of Menuis’ warning I made a fuss of it and the only response I got was to have my hand licked in thanks. That dog was so cowed, so emaciated, so weak it couldn’t bite anybody or anything. Anyway, the upshot of this story is that for days following I walked around to this house with a bowl of food and a bottle of water to fill his empty bowl and stayed with him as long as I could, but then – the owner, having somehow become aware of my ministrations, locked the door and I could never get to Buster again. I can only hope the rest of his pathetic life was short and his master (sometimes I wish I did believe in it) rots in hell for the suffering he caused.
Animals in all their diversity are such wonderful creatures this kind of ignorant cruelty is simply beyond comprehension. One theory of why Greeks and possibly particularly Cretans treat their dogs so badly is because it is a hangover from the Turkish occupation, the Turks believing all dogs to be filth. Hopefully it is gradually changing and dogs like Buster will not suffer in the same way.

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