August 12, 2012 00:00 By Laurie Rosenthal The Nation o
A puppy may seem like a very rewarding gift but growing up untrained, he can quickly become a nightmare
One day, Porn comes to help me with the turtles, and she has news.
“I have a dog,” she says proudly.
I’m surprised that she’s added to the work in her household. With two children and a husband, she has enough responsibility already, especially with her full-time job.
“He’s so cute,” she says, “and he loves me.”
“What kind of dog is it?” I ask.
“It’s a Thai dog,” she says, “a bangkaew.”
My heart falls. Porn loves people. She loves babies. She loves animals. I guess she loves practically every living creature.
Now her employer, who raises bangkaew, has given her a puppy.
I suppose she couldn’t say no, or maybe the thought of having her own bangkaew is too exciting.
She already knows all about this breed, she tells me, their strength and power and their aggressiveness. Does she know how to train her puppy?
“Train!” she laughs. “No, but he loves me. He follows me around all the time.”
When I ask what kind of dogfood she’s feeding him, she says she doesn’t. “My dog is Thai, not farang,” she says. The dog is living on grilled pork and chicken.
Over the following weeks, the dog seems to be turning into a horror story. At four months old, he has already bitten everyone in her family.
“Your children too?” I ask in alarm. She smiles, explaining that she can’t return the dog to her employer, and she can’t give him away.
“What would happen if he asked to see the dog?” she says.
One day, when he's five months old, the dog begins to vomit and refuse his food.
Porn asks me what to do, but I tell her to take the pup to the vet. The problem could be anything, from the unsuitable food she’s been giving him, or worse, distemper or some other contagious disease. The dog, after all, hasn’t been vaccinated yet, although he’s certainly old enough.
He apparently recovers on his own. Then, after a recent heavy rain, Porn’s rented house floods. She moves the family to another place, but after a week, the owner tells her he doesn’t want to rent that house anymore.
I suspect the dog is the problem. Who wants an uncontrollable animal running around the property?
When the family drop by my home on their way to another house, I finally meet the pup. He’s beautiful, white with black markings and that bangkaew tail.
Porn’s two daughters take him out of the car for a walk. Although he's on a lead and although he’s just six months old, he’s so strong that the two children can’t control him.
He goes wherever he wishes, dragging the kids behind him.
Porn’s right, though. This untrained, powerful animal certainly loves her, as he does the two girls.