Confused and scared

WARNING: This post may possibly be slightly grotesque and saddening.

I grew up in a family where pets were quite an uncommon thing. I have known families who have nurtured and kept various types of animals and over time, they have become members of their family. My mother is allergic to animal hair etc. so our family didn’t exactly have close relations with any types of animals. Well… I remembered for about two years, we had a very large pond outside our place where we kept and fed everyday like tens of carps. This is probably the closest to our family keeping pets.

Anyway, I wasn’t going to write about this sad event, but it had been on my mind for a long time this week. So I figured as a chance to reflect from it in the future, I shall write it out.

In our camp, we have two dogs. One is called Hamburger, the other is called Lil. Black. They aren’t exactly domesticated dogs. I remembered my seniors telling me that they’ve been there forever. They are wild-dogs, but they’ve taken to living in our camp area comfortably. Somehow, they have learned that for allowing them to stay at the camp and having clean water and dog feed for them everyday, they would guard the camp. And guard the camp they do. The other guys never really give the dogs any true credit, but as I observed them closely over the year, they do a hell of a good job.

Given the fact that these dogs were given no training at all, I’m surprised at all the things they do. They are able to distinguish who belong in the camp and who doesn’t. Since our camp has a constant rotation of new-comers every month, this is quite a feat. They can smell outsiders and intruders coming into the camp half a km away and warn us when they are about to arrive. They scare off other gangs of wild dogs and wild cats should they decide to come by or trespass. They also scare off snakes and other dangerous predators and rodents. They keep an eye around the perimeter even at night sometimes, just to make sure it’s safe. They sometimes also walk the junior new-comers out the drive way if they feel the new people seem vulnerable than others. To me, I believe, they are really smart dogs. Sadly, not everyone sees them as though.

Earlier this Monday, one of the guys went back to the camp mid-day and when he came back to work, he told us… one of Lil. Black’s eye has fallen out and there was blood all around the sockets. Not only was I baffled at what the imagery of my mind was portraying, but that fact that something like this happened. It was hard for me to put into place, let alone realise it as reality. At first, I was shocked. What? Why? How? When? Where? I then, got pretty scared. I was afraid what I would see, what I would find.

That night, when I went back to camp, I wouldn’t dare walk over to Lil. Black’s sleeping area. Some of the other guys went to have a look. Their description… ‘something out of a horror movie,’ one guy said. Another followed with ‘I don’t what happened, but he looks like he either got the beats by a couple of guys or he was hit really hard by a car’. A group of the guys gathered and they began discussing the possibilities. I could only sit to the side and listen. Somehow, I sat mute, quietly beside them. My thoughts were running at a hundred miles per hour, yet it was difficult for me to even utter an opinion or a thought. I was truly sad. I felt pretty weak also.

The guys were discussing how to deal with him. It was hard to listen, but the discussion that followed swayed mostly towards putting him down. It wasn’t because the guys didn’t want to keep him, but they were discussing the costs involved. Having him taken to surgery, then an operation… and even if he had gotten better from it, the post-surgery fees… the medicine… the post-surgery care. None of us had that kinda money to put forward together. It would literally costs ten’s… no… probably close to hundreds of thousand dollars to treat him. Even afterwards, none of us would have the time to take care and nurture him back to health, and most of us (the seniors) who really care are leaving soon anyways. Since he’s a wild dog, he wouldn’t let any one take him away from the property, even if he’s badly hurt. He’d probably have to be tranquilized to move him anywhere.

He’s a pretty old dog, Lil. Black. His body and senses had been slowly decaying over the last several months. Lil. Black was starting to catch all sorts of skin and respiratory diseases. We were getting some medication for him, hoping that he would get better. But you can see it in his eyes, he was tired. He wasn’t as energetic as Hamburger who was much fitter, and “happier”.

The next day, I was wiping up tables. An office colleague came up to me and greeted. I replied with a fake smile and said, “HI!” He followed with an immediate, “What’s wrong? Why the glum look?” So much for faking… I asked him how he could tell that there was something that was bothering me? “Oh, just the look of your drained face and blood-shot eyes gave it away…” Guess I’m not a good actor. I started telling him how our dog back at the camp may be put down. He then began giving me advice, and his thoughts on how life is a huge cycle and that maybe it’s Lil. Black’s time to go to a better life. Even though there was nothing new that I hadn’t heard before, it was comforting hearing those words from him. And I could feel a grey haze lift slightly from my back. In this Buddhist belief, it allowed me to move on and not be stuck in a depressing manner.

The night previously, I had difficulty drifting off asleep. I don’t think I had nightmares, but I knew I didn’t get a good nights sleep. So at the end of that day, I decided not to stay out so late and head back to camp earlier. As I made my way down into camp through the drive-way, I saw Lil Black trudging about in the grass thickets. I forced myself to have a glance. And there he sat. The eye had been glazed over a milky white and was protruding from the eye sockets a good 5cm. It wasn’t dangling, but it didn’t mean that it was any better. His face took on an aged look, and the skin drooped down from under eye sockets to his jaw like the sagging skin of an old man.

Mostly out of reaction, I said out-loud. ‘he’s probably in so much pain.’ One of the guys told me, he most likely isn’t in any serious pain now. It was probably still painful, and his face is probably still throbbing from the swelling but most of the nerves around the area are probably heavily damaged or severed to be in serious pain. Nonetheless, it was still painful to watch.

The guys said that the dog people are most likely coming today to take Lil. Black away to be put down…

May he rest in peace~


UPDATE 21/08: Believe it or not, I have great news!!! I know it’s been some time, but our camp leader… he spent his free time looking up dog foundations and other vets. He was pretty distraught about having to decide how to deal with a life. To try find other ways to save him, or to spare him and put him to rest. Actually, we were all just as distraught… was hard to find an answer to all the confusion. A few days ago, he found a vet who was willing to operate on the dog at a much lower (MUCH LOWER) price than other places. But he needed us to bring the dog to the clinic as he is unable to make on-site visits.

We spent a couple more days finding a larger cage to put him in. Then earlier today, him and a couple guys wheeled the cage on a trolley about 6 km’s from camp on foot (as we have not Ute/pick-up truck to put cages on). Hamburger accompanied them and his friend the whole way to the clinic. The doctor removed his eye, patched the wound up and gave him some antibiotics and other medicine. He then gave them some drop medicine for the recovery. Most of the fees for the treatment is actually for the medicine. The Doc told them that with regular medicine, he should make a healthy recovery. He was lucky that the insides weren’t infected but maybe given a few more days, he mightn’t have been so lucky. The Doc also suggested that the most likely cause was an external injury from a beating by a bat or club.

One of the guys said he prayed every day for Lil. Black. Whether it was an intentional injury or an accident, I’m just glad that he was saved.
May he live out his dog days well…


  1. this is so sad 😦 may he rest in peace 😦

  2. My condolences on the loss of your friend because this dog sounds like he was your friend.

    I looked quickly looked through a few posts and you write very well.

    By “camp” can I ask what you mean?

    • Thanks.
      I don’t know what to think really. Can only accept it and move on. For work during the weekdays, we are provided a workers dormitory/hostel for our stay. The area has several grassy patches surrounding the buildings like an encampment, so we call it the camp.
      Thanks for your comment and for reading~

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