Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Who Ate My Pussy?





I wrote not so long ago about how Leo, our puppy, was knocked down and killed by an ice truck. Our pets have certainly suffered a high mortality rate as life round here in the village seems precarious for animals.

A month or two back, just as I was going to Bangkok to deal with the design and production of my new book, our lovely dog, Pepsi, suffered a major crisis in her nether regions. Since her last litter of puppies she’d been spotting blood from time to time but now was bleeding badly. She wasn’t eating at all and was looking very hang dog.

I only realized how bad she was in the last hours before we were due to leave and she looked accusingly at me as we boarded the tuk tuk to go to Sangkha to catch the Bangkok bus. I really wasn’t sure I’d see her again and I felt sick at heart abandoning her like this.

Once in Bangkok I couldn’t get her out of my mind and I made Cat phone home for regular health bulletins which. The family found this quite hilarious but soon the news was better and they told us that Pepsi was now eating again.

On getting back to the village I insisted that we go immediately to Surin to look for a vet. Eventually we found a government clinic and went into a large office where officials were asleep at their desks and eating takeaway noodles.

One of the men looked up from his lunch and spoke at length to Cat in Thai. One word kept recurring… ‘chemo, chemo’. Pepsi must be brought in for chemotherapy he was insisting.

But why? There’s absolutely nothing to suggest she has cancer. Surely she just needs to be speyed to deal with her gynae problems and to avoid a prolapse and the risk of future cancers.

Can I trust these people to reach a sensible diagnosis though and not to kill her if we bring her in to be speyed?

Pepsi is now as bright as ever but I wish there was a vet I could talk to about it in my own language as I don’t know what to do. The local practice is not to do anything if your dog is sick and to get another one when it dies, but I want to do better for her than that.

Keeping your pets alive around here is even more difficult as not only do they die of accidents and natural causes but they also tend to get eaten. Everyone disapproves of this as it’s theft and only the dishonest will steal a dog... at least the neighbour who offered Cat a hundred baht for Pepsi was open and honest. Disappearances are common nonetheless.

Trucks occasionally come round buying dogs and they are shipped off by the hundreds to Sakhon Nakhon where there’s a large Vietnamese population. They’ll give you a plastic bucket or two for a dog and this is what happened to another puppy we had, also called Leo. She had killed a chicken so it seems she had to go. I was away in England at the time and I’m sure that was her fate.

I think Soda’s two cute little shi’dzoodle puppies were also eaten while I was away as Cat seemed reluctant to tell me what happened to them when I got back. I’m pretty sure the neighbours ate them both and that Cat knows exactly who did the dreadful deed, though she won’t tell me who.

The French eat horse and the Chinese eat everything but sentimentality readily gives way to the need for protein and those of us who shop in supermarkets should not be too judgmental. It does highlight the differences in our cultural assumptions though in a very stark way.

When an era ago I lived in Nigeria, I had an American anthropologist friend called Eugene Mendonsa. He’d earlier done research among the Sisala people of Ghana and when he was packing up he’d had to find a home for his cat. He’d given it away to a friend and the next day he was a little shocked when the friend handed him back the skin and told him how tasty it had been.

In my Thai village we’ve now had three generations of pussy cats all of them delightful, the friendliest cats I’ve ever known. Bee, our current year old cat, plays happily with the dogs and never puts her claws out when she’s mauled around by the children, though as somebody probably ate her mother and her grandmother, I fear we’re only feeding her up for the chop.

I hesitate to write about what happens to our pets again as it’s not a very upbeat subject. I’m also worried about my blog as when some months ago I wrote of the death of our puppy, the hits on the web counter fell by about thirty percent and I’m not really sure why.

Like every blogger I want my blog to be read and so I regularly watch my web counter with interest. Particularly fascinating is to click on ‘Referrals’ which gives the website links through which readers have found me. Many of these hits are the haphazard result of Google and Yahoo searches, some of them bizarre in the extreme.

I can’t help noticing the searches for ‘Thai girl’ or ‘Thai girls’ and I find this rather curious. What exactly are these people searching for?

I have a number of theories on this. First of all, I think they must be searching for the well-known novel of that name, though if not, the searchers could be young western women looking for a Thai pen friend.

I try to discount the thought that they’re solitary males as surely they would search for ‘Thai women’ and not for ‘Thai girls’ which is distinctly sexist. In any event, if that’s what they’re looking for they must find my blog very disappointing.

I’m wondering if I got fewer hits at that time because I wrote about a dead dog and so I'd now like to try an experiment. If I post this blog, ‘Who Ate My Pussy?’ what will happen to the hits?

If traffic increases, it must be because there’s a lot of cat lovers out there. In urban society dogs could be out of fashion and it’s 'pussy' everyone wants to read about.

So am I right about this do you think, or am I barking up the wrong bush?

If you get my meaning, that is!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Andrew, you are right about the French eating horses, but donkeys and rabbits as well. Brigitte Bardot is making a lot of fuss about that. But do you know that if you raise a pig like a dog, it is behaving in a very similar way and it can make a playful and tricky companion? Also, as beef are considered stupid, nobody care about them being slaughtered in mass. But cows are also very sensitive to the way they are treated.
David

MeMock said...

Hi Andrew,

I left a comment a few weeks ago about trying to buy your book in New Zealand. Well my wife had to do a quick trip back to thailand a few weeks ago and so picked me up a copy.

It was a great read. At times I would read entire paragraphs to my wife (thai) who would laugh along with me. Well done.

Anonymous said...

i didnt realise there were lawyers in england. what happened for you to fall from grace?

and you know why you chose the current title. to reel in all the perverts


in LOS a thai girl is an innocent suitable for marriage. A thai lady is a prostitute. A thai women is a Mother


maybe i should write a book, seem to know alot more than your self yet i am 1/3 your age and been to thailand twice

MeMock said...

To the poster above me, you are a coward, come back and post your name and a email address.

Were you never taught that Jealousy is a curse?

Maria said...

Dear Andrew,

I´m so sorry to hear that Pepsi has been ill. I do hope that she´ll be fine, and that you can find a vet that you can trust to spye her.

Yes, I agree that it´s a true challenge to take care of and protect your pets when you´re living in SEA. Especially when living in the countryside, like you are, where thare are not good vets to be found.

Here in Cambodia, it´s - just like in Surin - very difficult to protect your dogs and cats from getting eaten. Just the last couple of months, my Khmer colleagues has lost one cat and two dogs between them. The inflation rate in Cambodia is now almost 20%, prices of food and petrol are sky-rocketing, and so people are looking for cheap alternatives to the meat they ususally eat... Another problem is the poisoning of dogs; a Khmer friend of mine recently found her dog dead, poisoned by burglars that had planned to break into the house. That´s also pretty common here... And then people ask me why I haven´t brought my pets over from Europe yet...

Anyway; I do hope that Pepsi is healthy now, pls give her a big kiss from me.

Lots of love to you all!

Thai Girl said...

Thanks, Memock for your thoughts.

I'm not sure who this blog was meant to reel in but we got Anonymous who has been to Thailand twice.

He obviously knows a lot of stuff and I'm looking forward to his book.

Andrew

Jeffrey said...

Mr. Hicks, Your have changed my life. I work in Arizona for a major airline. Dealing with middle managment is excatly like building your home. Managment speaks a different language, and does it their way. For the first time in my life I am "Going with the Flow". My work is Thailand. I can leave or Go with the flow.
Jeff, Phoenix Arizona

Ba foo said...

i live up in Sakon Nakhon, which their are locals who eat dogs, but i have known Thais who admited to eating dogs in other parts of the country as well,
i never heard of a vietmaneese population here in Sakon Nakhon before, it is the Thais who eat the Dogs, ofcourse not all of them, but it dont take long to find out who does

Fabletoo said...

Andrew, Thais overall don't really take care of animals very well.

I bought two rabbits last year and, being gullible, believed the seller at Chatuchak when she told me "two boys". Five months later, those two boys had two babies :-)

I tried for a couple of months to give the babies away to new homes, but every Thai friend that offered had no clue how to properly take care of them. The kicker finally came when one friend informed me that he'd like to take the two babies to replace the EIGHT rabbits that had died in his care in the last month. Er....NO!!

So now, I have four rabbits - a bit cramped in a one bedroom apartment but I don't want any of them to end up dead or dinner.