Wednesday, 22 October 2008
When I was a kid living in a small hometown, I remember we were many times offered the possibility to take home a small dog. Our parents always said no, because they thought a dog at home, and moreover, in a small flat, was too much of a hassle. They were right about the hassle, but this didn't prevent me from wanting to have a dog at home, for years.
Then time passed and I found myself marrying a woman who had the same wish: we both love dogs and wanted one. Once we started living together in our own home, we looked for one (that was back in 1997). And in early 1998, the Three Wise Men (or Los Reyes Magos, as we call that tradition in Spain) decided to bring home a 3 months old little charming dog. We went to a house out of Cordoba, where a family of Basque origin was growing Cocker Spaniels. They had a few to choose from: most of them were biggish, very active and were inspecting us with great interest. Then there was another one, smallish by comparison, rather timid, and getting behind while looking at us attentively.
For some reason, that one got our attention: his name was Potxoki, which (we were told) means in Basque language "the smaller one", which was an appropriate definition. And we decided Potxoki would be our dog. It was black and white, all nice and small, and rather quiet for Cocker Spaniel standards.
At the time we had a book about the race of Cocker Spaniels at home, and in one of the pictures, they showed a dog called Buba. That name sounded good for us, and we thought it was a good one. So Potxoki became Buba.
Buba had loads of fun during the first weeks at home: since we were most of the mornings out of home, he decided that breaking into small pieces all paper was a good game. And there we went: all magazines and newspapers were meticulously broken all around the room, when we came back home. But you could do nothing against: he was alone during that time, and his regard was enough to convince you that no punishment was deserved. Although I admit (and regret) that in some occasions I was a bit hard to make Buba understand a few rules.
Some years later, I learned that, quite often, small Cockers use to make exercice for his teeth using all the house furniture, which can provoke the need to replace it in a few months because they are quite insistent at it. Fortunately it was not our case, and Buba restricted his exercices to the paper stuff.
Buba had a couple of quiet early years at home: he was the king, received loads of attention (both from us and visitors) and we had fun with him. I remember playing with his mouth, while he was saying something sounding like "ABBA, ABBA" which made me laugh many times. In a few months, I was able to educate him to follow me unleashed, stopping when I stopped in red lights, and following later. He evidenced being intelligent and lazy and nice and patient and overall quiet.
Then we had our first daughter and the world changed upside down for him: We spent most of "his" time with her, and he was looking at us often and touching us softly with his hands to say "Hey, I am here too!". Furthermore, when the many visitors came home to know our daughter, Buba was often in the middle, touching again with his hand everybody, to make sure people was noticing him. It was a clear case of dethroned king.
I bet those were hard times for him, but we managed to keep the daily walkings and a significant amount of games: a very fun one was running fast in circles in the ground of our old home, with Buba barking out loud behind me in crazy prosecution. Other times I went upstairs quick and he did the same as soon as he noticed it. In a few minutes we both were very tired and he happily went to have a little siesta. Because, besides playing, his another favourite task has always been sleeping.
Time passed by, three more babies arrived at home, and during that time Buba kept on taking a side role in a crowded house, full of babies and people taking care of babies. Unfortunately the babies were too small for playing with Buba, so all he saw was less attention on him and less games because dad and mum were busy with their real babies.
To make a long story short, I'll move forward to last summer. We spent a week with friends in the countryside, and Buba came with us. This was weird, since most summers we have been at the beach, so that Buba remained during those weeks in my hometown, with my parents. But this year Buba was with us all summer. Maybe there was a meaning somehow.
When we came back to Cordoba, we did the yearly visit to the veterinary, for vaccins and antiparasite treatment. To this purpose, once I came home, I made Buba swallow a couple of pills, and I suddenly realized there was a strange vesicle in his throat. It gave me very bad vibes, so I visited again the veterinary, to check. I was told it had a very bad face. They did some quick tests and they showed many cells in decontrolled proliferation.
Since that time, we tried to make life easier for Buba. But unfortunately things are going faster than we anticipated, and I'm afraid there is not much run to do.
I wanted to share this little story with you, now, because today I will go out again for a walk with Buba.
In retrospection, we had a very good time together, Buba and my family. A dog adds much more to a home than many people think. And his loss means also much more to a family than many people think: for those never having animals, possibly this story means little or nothing at all. But others will understand what I mean.
And that's it.
I know I repeat myself, but the concluding remark of this story is not sad: it is (just another) call from yours truly to enjoy your time. To feel every minute.
Carpe diem people.
(And finally, I don't really know if you use "its" or "his" to refer to a dog in English; but I couldn't avoid to use "his").