A Manky Dog Story

To everyone who sent me kind and sympathetic words following the previous post - thank you.

But it's not me who's suffering, it's them. Human beings as a species have colonised the planet and also colonised the entire animal kingdom, claiming dogs as our own. We have transported them to every corner of the planet, bred the shit out of them for our own purposes and pleasure, to the point where several breeds endure painful genetic mutations. We take them in then cast them aside when they are no longer fun or cute, or if they bark too much.

In the USA there are 70 million homeless dogs, and 3 million are killed (twice as many are euthanised than are adopted) in shelters each year. Their bodies are rendered in processing plants and become the food for your food, if you are a meat eater. This overpopulation problem is caused by us and will be perpetuated by us, because, nobody wants to adopt the 2 year-old pitbull mix at the shelter (even though she is beautiful, kind and gentle) they want the "designer" genetically modified, brand new baby from the puppy mill or breeder.

So basically, I wasn't trying to elicit sympathy, I was trying to elicit awareness. Spay and neuter. Adopt or foster, don't buy. They need us - we put them here and it's our job to be reponsible for them, at the very least keep them safe from suffering and death. Let's all stop being total dicks.

OK, are we all aware now? Good. Time for a happy dog story.

This is a story about a dog named Manky, and I love him very dearly.

He wasn't always called Manky. He was known as "Max" by the German who lived next door, as "Ears" by some locals when they cycle past him on the street (he has a permanent one ear down and one ear up thing going on), as "Ouwe Dibbus" by our beautiful Dutch neighbour upstairs (meaning something like "old thing") and in this house he receives a variety of names ranging from Mankos, Manky Moo, Manky- Moonaroony, and sometimes Mankawankaspankaroonaspoonaroonies or similar when I'm feeling like it.

He answers to all of these names, happily and waggingly.

When we moved into our apartment, he slowly appeared from under the wooden beams where he was living, head down and tail between his legs, entirely covered with scabs and injuries from dogfights, balls down to the floor, skin red and raw from hundreds of infected mosquito bites, his coat almost furless. And thus he was christened Manky. Because Manky he most surely was. Immediately, he and my dog fell in in love with one another (yes all dogs are gay) and have been inseparable ever since.

Manky did have an "owner" up the street, but they did not provide him with any food or shelter from the hot Caribbean sun, and would keep him tied on a piece of thin rope. So he would just slip free and come here under our house, and was part of the furniture when we arrived. He just wanted some love, and adores humans, although I have no idea why.

Since then, almost 2 years ago:

-We took him to get his balls done. Although there were complications after the surgery due to his old age of ten or more - he wasn't able to pee for a couple of days, and the poor thing was dribbling urine down his legs (the memory of my husband having to very begrudgingly "express" his bladder is still funny to me now) - he no longer has to carry round those 2 massive pendulous weights between his legs. They were absolutely mammoth. Also there's already more than enough Manky offspring around the island. Did I mention you have to spay and neuter? No? Spay and goddamn neuter your dogs!

-When walking with me and my dog a few months ago, a pack of wild dogs came out of nowhere in some scrubland, and were about to come and attack us all. Manky, unhesitatingly, ran straight towards them with his gammy leg, and told all eight of them to fuck right off. And fuck off they did. And just like that, we were saved.

-Once when we all went in the car to a neighbouring beach, I decided to swim for a mile up the coast. Manky went rummaging in the bushes and then when he came out to look for me I had swum too far out to sea to be able to shout to him. He panicked - where was the small female human? Has she drowned??!! I shouted and shouted but was too far away. The poor guy freaked out...and spent the following 2 hours running backward and forwards along the coast and whimpering (according to the people on the beach who helped me find him later). He wasn't leaving without me, god love him.

-Even more recently, I was swimming towards my dog to try and get him away from a couple of fishermen, and because my eyes were on my own stupid hound, I didn't realise that I had swum onto some rocks which were covered in HUNDREDS of these  -

...which are venomous Caribbean black sea urchins. I ended up with about 20 - 30 spines in my foot, hand and arm, with the worst ones lodging into the tendons of my hand, where they still remain today. As you can imagine, I made quite a lot of noise. It was not pretty. My own dog was completely oblivious, far too busy lolling around and digging up crabs, whereas Manky was absolutely beside himself with stress at the sight and sound of me in pain - he was so worried that he wouldn't leave my side all day.

-Manky taught my dog to defend himself. In return, he taught him how to play, and how to swim. Manky taught me that there is such a thing as absolute and unconditional love. Every single day without fail, he is in the driveway as I come home from work, beyond ecstatic that I am back again. No other being on the planet will ever be as happy to see me as this guy. I mean all I have to do is walk in the same room and he is fucking overjoyed.

There's a hundred Mankys in a shelter near you just wanting some love in their life. Go adopt him, or foster him, or just walk him, give him a hug. And if you see a dog breeder, punch them in the throat.

 (I haven't mentioned here his dedication to total and absolute iguana genocide, or the death of other unfortunate smaller animals at his paws. Because this is a fucking feel-good story, OK?)