Killer Dog

We got our dog yesterday, a German Sheppard puppy, two months old. It’s parents are big, its feet are big, and it is already bigger than many of the local dogs. The dog’s name is Shaq. He can already intimidate people, standing his ground and barking. He doesn’t back up. He’s mastered the command “sit” and will soon fill out his vocabulary with heel, lay down, up, down, stay, come, sic ’em, and kill.
He’ll be invited to practice his last word, and skill, on people who drop in without notifying us ahead of time. Or the snakes that slither in at night through the water drainage channels.
He has his vaccinations.
Philippine Dog
I grew up with these dogs. In the States they are commonly referred to as “police dogs” because they are so popular with police departments. They are smart, discern threats well, are aggressive if necessary, have a good nose and are good with kids and people in general. They only bark when there is cause.
Now before I train the dog, I have to train up the wife on what a civilized dog is all about. The dogs around the Philippines are different. Their main purpose is to dispose of garbage. They are seldom tended to, have zero vocabulary, almost never see veterinarians, are seldom bathed, are generally laden and suffering with fleas, often have mangy skin diseases, and once in a while end up on a poor family’s dinner plate. They breed like rabbits, having intercourse in the middle of the road or even in the school yard, and there is no pedigree except multiple cross-breed mutt.
Their entertainment is to kill motorcyclists by darting out onto the National Highway and getting run over.
They are not exactly the smartest dogs in the universe.
Here’s what my first lesson for the wife went like:
“Babe, Shaq is a real dog. If you treat him right, become his friend and master, he will die for you.  He will get between you and any threat. He will sacrifice himself to protect you.”
She put down her fork and gave me her full attention.
“But you can’t treat him like a ‘thing”, or even like an animal. You need to treat him better than most Filipinos treat their kids. (She knows I dislike deadbeat fathers who abandon their kids, mothers who pass their kids off to other people, the general lack of nurturing that is common in the Philippines, and taking advantage of kids by making them give money to the family).”
She frowned.
“He must be bathed regularly, fed nutritious foods, given proper vaccinations, and given lots of affection. Affection is the key. The dog will express affection, too. When he gives gentle bites, he is playing, as he would with a brother or sister. When he licks your hand or arm, he is kissing you. Let him express affection. Don’t tell him ‘no’ when he licks you. He is doing all that he can do to show you that he loves you.”
She stopped frowning.
Only you and I are allowed to train the dog. We don’t want your brothers or mama or anyone else giving mixed messages or sloppy discipline to the dog. And we want to preserve our place as masters.
She nodded and said “okay”.
“Spend time with the dog. Just sit with him. Talk to him. Pet him, aggressively. You must let him know that you are the master dog.”
She giggled.
“That’s all for today.”
She smiled and picked up her fork.
Comments
6 Responses to “Killer Dog”
  1. Anonymous says:

    *WitsHi Joe. I read your article. I like the colloquial atmosphere you create when you write as opposed to an overly didactic, mine-is-the-be-all-and-end-all monologue. The punctuations and structures are animated.I was kind of expecting an analogy though, a climax that was gradually building up mentally. This would have been a cool "argument" piece for the one-track-minded but then again it's way cooler you left it that way, subtle.Am following your works and I hope you can infect others with your sanity and common sense 🙂

  2. Hello, Joe. What do you think of the video "20 Reasons I dislike Philippines" It is making the rounds in the Philippines. 100% shot in Cebu City.

  3. Attila says:

    I watched it but I have mixed feelings about it. Most of the issues he complains about I agree with him but some of it were unreasonable. He also has an arrogant style I did not like.

  4. Why, thanks. I'm glad you liked the style. Part of my reason for writing is to see what amusing word combinations hatch from my brain, bouncing off one another. Hmmm, as to analogy . . I made my key points in the paragraph describing Filipino dogs, and how parents too often treat their kids. Now, as to the wife . . . I don't dare make a point of her, umm, eccentricities . . . as she often reads over my shoulder . . .Glad you visited . . .

  5. Mariano, I have not seen the clip, but accept Attila's review, below. He has a good eye for things.I do know that, if you have been here for three years, you have had to deal with the cultural difference head-on, and it is crazy-making to us westerners. I also think some defensive Filipino reactions have been overboard with blaming the guy rather than taking responsibility for the fact the Philippines is not really very modern, value-wise.I suppose the truth is somewhere between the extremes of the video (we outsiders should be expected to give a little, understanding that the culture is often just different, not dysfunctional). And Filipinos need to take such rants as half-truths.

  6. Anonymous says:

    *WitsIt's just somehow comforting to know that there are level-headed persons like you who can articulate what others have in mind.I also do not believe in an arrogant display of intellect and labeling others with opposite views as dimwitted – in fact, publishing a whole article about it in the guise of an "enlightening" read.

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