A Dog Story: Jerry and Kohl
Posted on May 02, 2012 by WayCoolDogs
He was a big, heavy, old guy with scars on his face and body that could have told many stories. I could see that he didn’t hear so well, and moved somewhat slowly, but the first time he fumbled his way to the front of the cage and responded to my tentative patting with a serious-minded piece of wagging, I knew he was interested in a walk. As I let him out he didn’t jump or get excited, but plodded along at my side down the passages, till we reached the outside, and there he took a deep breath, lifted a leg and had a long pee, and gave himself up to the business of sniffing and exploring.
Jerry was very gentle, a real old gentleman in fact; he enjoyed a leisurely walk, and just as much, he enjoyed sitting beside me on a tree trunk and watching the people come and go with their pets – he never showed the slightest sign of aggression towards any of them, and every now and then he would look round at me as if to say – Did you see that? I would rub his head and he would close his eyes for a few moments, then remember that he had come out to people-watch, and take up his position again.
This pattern went on for some days, and then suddenly one afternoon, with no fanfare at all, Jerry became a puppy again. He sank to the ground on the gravel driveway, did a half roll, decided he liked it and rolled the rest of the way, till he was flat on his back with all four feet delightedly pumping the air.
I could hardly believe this totally unexpected transformation. I rubbed his tummy and he stopped, transfixed, then when I moved my hand his feet started up again.
We went on like this for quite a while, and then just as suddenly, he righted himself, had a shake, and became the elderly gentleman again, discreetly leaning against my knee, with a strange and wise expression on his earnest face, as if we had shared an important secret, and I for my part was thrilled that he had opened up his ‘inner child’ to me.
Kohl was in the cage right opposite to Jerry and couldn’t have been more different. He was younger, lots more energetic, white with large brown splotches and big black circles round his eyes, and he was perpetual motion. He began barking as soon as he saw me, and didn’t stop till I took him out of his cage.
Outside he was dizzying – he simply could not sit still or walk slowly. He was always pulling at the leash and yanking me suddenly in one direction, then in another. Hardly a relaxing experience, but in other ways he was endearing. Occasionally I would sit on a fallen tree trunk and he would come straight up to me, flatten his ears and push his head between my knees for a pat. But these little interludes didn’t last long. Soon he would be up and straining at the end of the leash again, wanting to check out everything and in a great hurry.
Jerry had been adopted and took longer than they usually do to recover from his neutering surgery – probably because of his age. But he was pretty much back to his usual self, when one day I went in and found several bite marks on his head and neck. I was puzzling over them and suddenly noticed the silence behind me – Kohl’s cage door was swinging open. Strange, I thought, but maybe he was neutered already, and so would be able to go right away if someone wanted him. Jerry and I went out for our walk and I realized, thankfully, that the bites were only superficial, but still couldn’t understand where they came from – Jerry was not the kind of guy to attack anyone.
It turned out that they needed space and had put Kohl in with Jerry – not a good idea with his personality – and a fight had broken out, ending with Kohl being put down. I was very sad to hear, but when I reflected, he would have needed a very special owner with his excess of energy, and there aren’t too many of them around. He might have spent his time chained and miserable, or maybe he would have escaped from wherever he was taken, and died a long and lonely death on the streets. So God knows best.
Jerry, on the other hand, went off with his new owner, bearing his little wounds with the purple antibiotic spray marks as proof that he had defended his territory.
Guest Post by Cindi Scholefield, a volunteer at the local animal shelter in Kingston, Jamaica.
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