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Saturday, January 19, 2008


Of water and dogs

My water pump was playing up. I hadn't got any water for two days. So the landlord sent his son over to see if he could fix it. The little daughter came too. She likes to play with my dog, Dingo, and Dingo likes her. After an hour or so the son had not achieved anything so the landlord himself came and spent a few hours. He didn't say anything when he left but when I tried the pump I got nothing. I left a message for him the next morning. Three o'clock a phone call interrupted my Khmer lesson. They were waiting at my place. I had to cut my lesson short to go home and let them in. I wasn't happy but I need the water. Over the next few hours half the family came and dug up the whole pipe system, replaced most of it and left just before dark. The water was murky but at least there was a good flow. Hopefully it will clear up in a few days.

That night after dinner I put some food out for Dingo. She wasn't interested in even looking at it. This is most unlike her. She is always very enthusiastic about food. I thought perhaps the daughter had been feeding her again and she just wasn't hungry. But to be honest she's never not hungry. She might leave boring food but she'll always take a look first. This night she wasn't even interested in looking.

The next day she still wasn't eating. She was also vomiting, just water and mucus. I could see she was sick but I didn't know what to do. There are people here who practise as vets but who knows what qualifications they have?

The following day she was still not eating and seemed a bit weak. She had definitely lost weight. That morning at the market I mentioned this to the landlord's niece. She said her uncle would come and bring some medicine. That afternoon Vana turned up. His advice was to either take her to the 'vet' or give her some paracetamol. The landlord and niece turned up then and offered the same advice. He loaned us his motorcycle and Vana took me and Dingo to the 'vet' who gave her a couple of injections and said to spoon-feed her some milk and sugar. He also gave us some medicine to give her an hour after that.

We took her back home. After we'd fed her I said to Vana that I didn't think she'd last. She was breathing but seemed to have no life left in her. Vana went home and I went inside to do some chores. When I came out an hour later Dingo was dead.

The next morning at the market I told the niece. She asked did I want her uncle to find me another dog. I said not at the moment, I'd think about it for a while. I also added that I was thinking of getting a python. I was only half joking. Dingo was not a scary dog. If someone came to rob the place she'd welcome them with a wagging tail. In Cambodia it seems that just about everyone is scared of snakes. A sign on the gate saying 'Beware of python' (in Khmer) might be a better deterrent than a dog. I'd like to know how much trouble one would be to care for. I'm quite comfortable with pythons.

That night I was in the shower when I heard the landlord's voice at my gate. He was there with his niece and they had disregarded what I'd said about not wanting another dog. Or maybe they were worried that I was serious about the python.

So, now I have this fluffy little thing, younger than Dingo was when I got her. I gave her a Khmer name 'K'mao'. Can you guess what it means?

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In case anyone is panicking about me getting a python please be assured that I don't rush into such things. I was definitely considering it so I downloaded some info off the net. It seems they are a lot more trouble than a dog. The ones here grow to quite a size which means they could also be a little dangerous so I've decided to give it a miss for now.
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