Saturday, 7 October, 2023 Filed in: TGIF
HE CAME to us out of a Bajan canefield, dragging a six-foot long, heavy iron chain attached to a rough rope collar around his neck. It seemed bizarre that, in a place where so many people were kept in chains for so long, someone today should have chosen to put such a big one on such a little dog.
But, having got to know him, I realise now it was necessary: it took heavy weights and hard cobbling to keep such a free spirit down.
His all-white fur was all mud from the fields. He was so thin, his tail looked like a piece of twine. His head, so much bigger than the rest of his body, gave him the overall look of an apostrophe. He was already blind in one eye and, within months of going completely blind, would also go stone deaf. The vet estimated he was 20 years old.
My wife, out for a bike ride, picked him up, freed him from the rope and chain, and rode home with him clutched securely in her forearm, he was that small. I said we could keep him at once: he would die in the night and I would dig a tiny grave in the morning. At least he would have had a good last supper.
He lived ten more happy years with us.
I suspect he had never been patted in his life before but he took to it like a lamb to slaughter. He loved to fall asleep with me stroking him and to be put gently into his little doggie bed.
Of course I had to sing him a lullaby.
I made up two songs for him, if you can call them that.
His name, officially, was Bond, James Bond – he was such a sophisticated little mofo – but his home name was Small Man (with the ess in Small silent). His first song went, “‘Mall Man of the mountains/ ‘Mall Man of the glen/ ‘Mall Man of the here and now/ ‘Mall Man of the then/ ‘Mall Man sleeping in my lap/ ‘Mall Man looking good/ ‘Mall Man getting all the love/ That he always should.”
His other song, roughly to the tune of Clementine, stemmed from his other nickname: “Bondy Belly/ Not so smelly/ Bondy Belly/ In my lap/ Bondy Belly/ Lives a life/ With no more crap.”
The lyrics reflected whatever happened to be happening to him at any given time: “Bondy Belly/ Not so smelly/ Bondy Belly/ Growing up/ Bondy Belly/ Once a dog and twice a pup.”
In his old age, he became incontinent, a greater problem for us than him. We joked that he used to have a problem with defecation at night until he put in an en suite: we woke to Bond, snoring happily on the inside porch, and lakes of pee and piles of poo all around his little doggie bed.
After far too many weeks of cleaning up after him, he was consigned to sleep on the portico, where he could get outside to do his numbers; he never bothered; but at least we could hose them down from there.
In the middle of this year, he remembered his en suite strategy from the porch and began defecating directly into his bed. Often, he had to be bathed every morning.
On top of everything else, glands around his anus began backing up. He could not even be patted any more because he just stank so much.
And so we came to the final decision to put us out of his misery.
One Saturday morning, we took him along to the local vet, paid the fees and held him in our arms for the last time.
And here’s the thing.
Here’s why his original captors had to put a six-foot long heavy metal chain on him.
He could have been 30 years old that August morning but, when the injection that would end his life stung him, he woke from the deep sleep induced by the sedative. Blind, deaf, stoned out of his mind, all he knew was that he was under attack.
The last thing James Bond did was snap wildly at his unseen aggressor.
And then he slept.
One way to rest in peace.
BC Pires is howling with the pot hounds