a dog story

After you’ve been “home” for a few months and have told the same story countless times, you start to wonder if you might have completely run out of more “original” material.

How many times did I tell the one about the cow parts in the trunk of the taxi?

How many times do I tell that one to the same people who had already read about it on the blog?

Am I even interesting anymore or have I just turned into that person who only has one unusual story and tells it over and over and over?

And then a miracle (of sorts) happens:  You are sitting at a dining table at a splendid little dinner party in the company of interesting individuals.  The conversations takes some complicated twists – colourful family histories, backpacking around the world, rising housing costs, you name it.  Somewhere in the middle of the conversation about how the cat came home with two broken legs, it hits you.  You have one more story up your sleeve and it’s a doozy.  You wonder why it didn’t make it onto the blog, and then you think to yourself: “hey, why not now?”

So here is it is – nearly a year old – but not a scratch on it:

The dog story

About 8-months into our Yaoundé adventure, Greg and I needed to move to a new house.  The previous one was termite infested, had a resident kitchen mouse (or five, who knows) and an open septic tank that hadn’t been cleaned out properly and would make us gag on a daily basis.  We had found a new place that was better taken care of, and, tough it also had an open septic tank, it didn’t reek.  Our standards having re-adjusted themselves to the realities of life, we accepted the move wholeheartedly.

The wrinkle in this chapter was that we would be able to move in on Friday afternoon – just under twelve hours before Greg would be taking a plane to Nigeria for a work-related conference.  No problem though.  Being used to packing-moving-unpacking on a semi-regular basis, we found a way to make it work.

We moved in, made the bed and went to sleep.  It was a short night.  We weren’t used to the sounds of this place.  People talking, dogs barking, music playing.  Engines roaring, doors banging, horns honking.  Scratching, tugging, growling.  Scraping, running, screeching.

Come 4am, Greg got up to take a quick shower before being picked up by our regular taxi.  There was only a dribble.  What we found out later was that due to a leak at the main tap, the caretaker would only turn on the water when we asked so as to prevent the water bill from getting sky high.  At 4am, the water was off.  The husband was on the side of cranky, but dutifully resigned.  This is life.  He slapped on a smile and carried on.

Not much later than 5am, Greg was out the door.  Kiss, kiss.  See you in a week.  Hug, hug. Did you hear that weird noise last night?  Which one?  Hope the new place isn’t too scary by yourself.

Gotta love foreshadowing.

Being as I was alone, the household yet to be unpacked and the sun hadn’t dared to get up yet (lazy bum), I went back to bed (not lazy, just practical!).  With the stress of packing and moving, and the beauty of having a whole big bed to myself, I dozed off easily.

Then I was woken up.  Yelping.  High pinched ones.  The kind you have no idea where they come from – direction and source – and aren’t quite sure you want to know.  It still felt to early to get up so I wrapped a pillow back over my head and looked for slumber once more.

Yelp, yelp.  Whine, whine.  Crying…  Voices.  Splashing, yelping, whining.  Silence.

I won’t say this was the best strategy, but I didn’t go out to look at what was going on. I just burrowed in the safety of the strangeness and unfamiliarity of the inside of the house, and really didn’t care what might be happening outside.  Sometimes the sensory overload is just too much.  That morning, every sound seemed tortured and while I wasn’t scared per se, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and tired.

Later, after I was up, showered (yeah, the water is back on!), and fed myself, I casually venture out.  As I walked up the “short-cut” at the back of the house, I ran into the caretaker.  And this is what one misses when they sleep in on their first morning in a new house:

“One of the puppies from the neighbours down below must have crawled under the fence. He must have been playing with a bucket in the courtyard and fell in the septic tank.  I pulled him out and gave him a bath.”

We never quite looked at that puppy the same way after that!


~ by Caroline Spira on February 15, 2012.

3 Responses to “a dog story”

  1. Reminds me of a friends dog who went missing and was found over a week later in one of the cavernous holes that an irrigation pipe leak will form in an orchard. These holes can be big enough to swallow a tractor while having very small openings if any. Yes the dog was hungary and thirsty, but happy to be found. Good to read your blog again.

    • Nice to have you still reading! The posts are a little less frequent … but hopefully we’ll keep adding fun stories!

  2. Oh dear..I didnt know how nice your house was. Well, it made a nice story for all of us after all

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