Blackie’s well known in the neighbourhood.
He’s loved and loathed, but always takes it in his stride. ‘But if you don’t put a leash on him crossing the road, he won’t live to a very long age,’ advices Steve Cartwright , another dog lover.
I’m hearing you, loud and clear. I think I might just play with him in his hood. That way the both of us don’t have to worry.
‘Or just buy a leash.’
Another great idea, I said to Steve, who is the author of Rescue Dog Rescue Me: Rescue.Love.Play.
Black Fish will piss everywhere. He upset the Chinese fruit seller by pissing on his pineapples. He’s not concerned about running down cats. He’s tolerant like that and will even let a Tom Cat mark it’s territory.
Today he dashed across the road and nearly got hit by an oncoming car. He somehow twisted his body and just escaped.
He’s adored by all. Especially by a lovely old duck at the Chinese cafe. She kept on feeding him chicken bones. Blackie even sat down, spread his legs, and munched away, like a very polite customer. He doesn’t even try to charm. He’s just got the right dog stuff.
The crazy guy who smokes those dirty black cigarettes at the Chinese cafe is cleaning tables today. He gets a free meal for it. Blackie just lounges around the place like he’s king muck and gets doted over.
My afternoons are filled with coffees and farting around then seeing what Blackie is up too. He’s usually sleeping under a car with his brother Jagger. They don’t like the heat and don’t really come alive until the sun comes down.
In that regard we keep the same sleeping hours.
The day manager is a bit stern with the dogs. He adores them too but the owner of the hotel has his office across the road. So when the dogs are barking too much or scaring away a customer they don’t particularly like the day manager will give a reluctant ‘scam’ and five minutes later the two brother’s will be dozing off at the entrance of the hotel.
‘It’s usually someone who has given them a good beating,’ says Muck, when the dogs are playing up.’The dogs never forget who gave them a flogging.’
Only the other day the owner’s son got a few good yaps from Jagger. It left Muck the night manager a bit embarrassed. I went outside to quieten the dogs too.
‘I bet he’s kicked the dogs a few times,’ I said to Muck.
Blackie adores me. The feeling is mutual.
One morning I opened up my window and was surprised to see him sleeping outside. When he saw my head poking out, he gave me adoring puppy licks. To get to my room, he has to walk around the back of the hotel and up a side alley. ‘He just wants to be close to you,’ said Muck. “But remember, no dogs in the hotel.’
Nor durian either, I said. Muck was handing out that rich sweet pungent smelling fruit to guests the other night and spraying insect repellent to cover up the strong smell.
Tonight at the food hall a little child decided to check out Blackie. The two year old was doing a balancing act on a plank and discovering his environment. His parents were pigging out at the table and yelling out mild warnings for the child to come back to the table. Blackie was sitting next to me while I was drinking a milky tea.
When the child started walking towards him and putting out his hands, as little kids do when exploring their world, Blackie lunged forward with a bark and snap of his jaw. From where I was sitting, it looked like he had taken a chunk out of the poor kid.
I returned the child back to the parent’s table. They were still still pigging out on their food. No scratches, no bruises, and no bite marks, the little boy was just in a little shock. It was an adventure for him and soon he was laughing.
I thought Blackie was just letting the little boy know that it was his territory, and to show some respect. ‘No no,’ said my dog loving friend from the States. ‘He was just protecting you.’
I’m waiting at Ali’s store to pay for my drink. Blackie is sprawled on the floor of the shop and no Malays will enter. They are shit scared of dogs.
Ali is a Muslim Indian, has dyed orange hair, and a Messianic beard.
A young Malay, wearing a helmet, points at my drink that’s in a bag, and says ‘bag’ and points at mine. Ali reluctantly puts his drink in a plastic bag. Ali isn’t really happy, and I ask him what’s up.
‘He’s a junkie.He’s on ice. Can’t you see all the scabs around his arms and neck and face.’
He says even high school children sell ice. “One bag is only 30 Ringgit.I saw a young kid come into the shop, with over 1000 Ringgit in his wallet. I asked him how did he get so much money. The kid said he was lucky and won it on gambling.’
Ali just sold his two gold fish. He’s just changed the freshwater to saltwater in the tank and is waiting two new fish. I can’t wait to see them too.
Ali’s a good Muslim. He tolerates Blackie. But it’s bad for business. The Malays won’t enter the shop when a dog is around. But Ali was more than happy having Blackie around when the junkie was in his shop. ‘Serves the little junkie right,’ he says. ‘But he was so off his head he didn’t even react to the dog like most normal Malays.’
It’s a late night Seven-11 run. I know both Jagger and Blackie are checking up on the new litter of pups under one of the trucks in the car park. Then a motorbike revs his bike and then heads straight for me. But he’s not anticipated my back up. He’s either a big fat Malay or Indian but he’s getting no where near me.
The dogs have joined the chase. The motorbike is weaving around the car park and trying to make a clean break but the dogs will have none of that nonsense.
His bike is no match to the dog’s speeds. Blackie and Jagger take turns nipping ankles until the pansy eventually finds an exit. He’s not so brave now. And I’m just admiring the physical prowess of these two magnificent dogs.
It really pays to have canine friends. There was going to be no pick pocking tonight or bag snatching with Jagger or Blackie around.