This was the shortest period of time I have ever known a woman. She appeared in my life last Friday, and today, 7 days later, she is gone again. Just like that.
Last Friday I found this cute girl in the long grass of my yard. I looked big and scary, so she didn’t want to come too close to me. She stank, so I didn’t want to go too close to her either. Our short relationship was mainly based on me giving her food, and she taking it, liking meat-on-the-bone more than dog pellets and canned food.
But it was when she started pissing in the living room that I knew this relationship was going to be a short one. Besides, after a week she still ran to a corner whenever I tried to touch her, in spite of the fact that she would follow me around.
She didn’t warm up to Julia either. Having a mistress is never a good idea, but if she doesn’t warm up to the other lady in your life, well, then the relationship is doomed on too many levels.
It was thus with not-so-heavy hearts that last night Julia and I finally got around to sticking up a few small A5 leaflets around the neighborhood. My house is in one of those tamans, garden in malay, which usually means there is only one road in and out of a particular neighbourhood. Theory suggested that the dog would have had to come from the neighbourhood or be really unlucky to lose itself this far into a closed area.
Anyway, the fliers were small and we only had 12, so we stuck 4 up near the Pick ‘n Pay and 7-11 complex, and the rest around my house and the adjacent park. The message was short and clear. The cutest picture of Poochie (or Pucci, we didn’t really agree), above big black words simply stating FOUND. And then the ever so clever copy: “If this is your dog, phone 012 blah blah blah“.
As a marketing guy, I believe the message should be short and too the point, especially if your flier is only an A5 piece of paper with just 12 copies. The little marketing blitz paid of (exceptionally high ROI). At about 2pm my phone rang, a call from an unidentified number. My phone doesn’t ring much at all, so it’s easy to determine who’s calling, or why at least.
“Hello?”, I said in my friendliest dog-lover voice. “Uh, hello”, came the clear, but hesitant voice from the other side, “are you the person who put up the fliers around Ridgeview?” he enquired. “Yes, I am” I confirmed. “Oh,” he continued, “has the owner called you yet?”.
“Nope,” I said, “you’re the first person to call. Do you know the dog?”. “Yeah,” he said, “is she brown?”. Wow, I thought, jackpot, he knows the gender and colour and I didn’t have to ask. “Yes, she is”, I said already thinking about how this weekend my house won’t smell like dog anymore.
“Oh, good”, he continued, “I think it’s my neighbour’s dog” he said with excitement obvious in his voice, “she’s like a daughter to them”. Damn smelly daughter, I thought to myself. “How long has she been gone?”, I inquired, thinking of the bad state of this daughter of their’s coat. “Since last Friday”, he said. Yup, makes sense, that’s when I found her hiding in my grass.
So he said he would get the owner to call me, but she didn’t. This evening, at about 9pm when I was on my way out, I got a text from the number I had saved under ‘neighbour’. “Are you still awake?”, came the tentative question. I replied quickly, saying I am, but I’m on my way out, knowing that the owner had probably arrived home.
Moments later the phone rang, and he said they would come over to pick up the dog. As it turns out, they live just down the road – in fact, I can see the road from a window in one of the bedrooms. So near, and yet so far. A minute later as I opened the door, the guy I had been talking to, with a woman and her son, were walking past the house, and when they saw me open the sliding door, they looked right past me to where Pucci was lying on the stairs.
“Pipi!!”, the woman shouted besides herself and stormed the house. I stepped aside, because she was obviously going to go straight for the dog, sans the formalities. While still outside, she kicked off her shoes. Malaysian custom and besides, because of mopping up all the dog piss, my living room floor is spotless.
Whilst she oo’ed and ah’ed over the dog, the neighbour introduced himself and the woman, and we exchange a few pleasantries. The woman picked up Pucci / Pipi (we weren’t that far off) and squeezed her tight. Pucci / Pipi was remarkably devoid of excitement, but she didn’t run away from this woman like she did me and Julia, and when I rubbed her goodbye she wasn’t shivering, like she was when I took her for a walk earlier.
“I have half a can of dog food left, do you want to take it?” I asked the woman, not wanting to have to deal with half a can of dog food when I have no dog. “What!?”, exclaimed the woman, “Pipi doesn’t eat dog food!”. How silly of me to assume that’s what a dog would eat. “Oh,” I said inquisitively, “what does she eat?” She looked at me as if I knew nothing about dogs. “Pipi”, she said, talking like aristocracy, if only it wasn’t for the heavy Chinese accent, “only eats chicken.” Yeah, I thought to myself, I bet it’s skinless fillet as well.
Without as much as a thank you, the woman, Pucci / Pipi and her son left. The neighbour, at least, said thank you as they left. And that’s how Pucci / Pipi disappeared down the street, flung over the shoulder of her mother, like a daughter would. She peered at me, but never waved.
She will be missed. Her piss on my living room floor, however, will not.