Monday, September 07, 2009

A Doggy Story

The curmudgeon that lives across the street -- the old man who washes his car in the rain and wipes down his trees with rags -- hardly ever talks to me. We'll both be outside checking our mail at the same time and he won't even say hi. Or in a store, he'll just walk on by and ignore my attempts at greeting.

But if we are out walking our dogs he becomes the friendliest guy in the world. He pets Cha, slaps him on the side and tells him what a good boy he is. He owns this giant boxer that I really like but am slightly wary to go up to and slap on the ribs and inquire about his day. I usually ask if it's okay and then stick the back of my hand up for him to sniff. Cha always looks as if he's about to pee himself while this is all going on. He's never seen such an enormous dog and, well, in Japan I must admit I haven't either.

The dog's name is Baron and my neighbor walks him three times a day for nearly an hour each time. Baron always looks so happy and excited to be out there. With the absence of yards I've always thought how lucky he is to have such an owner. I won't tell you how most dogs live around here.

When we got back from America last time I immediately noticed Baron wasn't being walked. I purposefully went out on certain times with Cha to see if we would come across them. Nothing. Then I thought, OMG, he died! I was crushed, but when I asked the old man he just said, "No, Baron's at home."

Then one day I ran into the old man's wife and I asked her. I've never spoken two words to her before but she looked approachable. She said that he had some sort of stroke and his legs are all messed up. She said her husband spends most of the day taking care of him, making him special socks, giving him massages, and cleaning up his messes. It broke my heart.

But still, I couldn't just go over to their house with some sort of rawhide and say I wanted to see their dog. (Just not done here.) I have been taking water color classes, so instead I made a postcard with a picture of (my very bad version of) Baron on the front, wishing him to get well soon. On the back I signed it Cha Cha Maru and drew a really crappy picture of our dog. Late one night I slipped it into their mailbox.

The next day I saw the old man outside, no hellos, no nothing. Maybe he hadn't seen it yet. Next day. Nothing. Three days later and I had all but forgotten about it when I found this in our mailbox.

The front says, To Cha Cha Maru, Thanks for the well wishes!

The back says, I'm an old dog and my legs don't work right anymore.
I can't run around in the fields anymore. Please run around in the fields
enough for both of us. From Baron.

I've got it hanging on the fridge. I'm still debating taking over a rawhide bone and saying hi.


Pat said...

Oh, that makes me cry! Take that rawhide on over, American Girl, and give Baron a pat from me too, ok?

Kappa no He said...

I know! I'm only worried about the "pride" thing (Baron's owners) and them being all embarrassed about me seeing the dog in that shape. This is one cultural aspect I will never get used to. I'll buck up and do it anyway!

dberube-art said...

Possibly one of the most touching stories I've heard in quite some time.

Amazing how touching a note and artwork can be. ;0)

Anonymous said...

If you know where they regularly walked, you could bring over clips of grass or wood from Baron's favorite spots. He can still smell, I'm sure. Yak is half boxer (half whippet), and I have a hard time imagining him not being able to run and jump. So sad.

Kappa no He said...

Dberube-art, I cried and cried when I got it and then every once in awhile I'll read it again and tear up. Today I let Cha hang outside (he likes to surprise walkers by, it's quite entertaining) and Baron's owner was out washing his car but he didn't come over and talk to Cha at all. I imagine it's difficult for him.

Imomo, when I got the new computer I lost all my old Favorites and your link to your flickr site with the pups. If you get a chance e-mail it to me. I loved looking at those two. And your HUGE house, drool.

Pat said...

Terrie, I couldn't connect to your Facebook page with the link you put on our blog. When you've got a minute, send a friend request to, ok?

Benjamin Solah said...

Such a sweet story!

Hilary said...

Aww that's so sad. Your neighbour's heart must be so heavy. Maybe a bag of doggie treats... from Cha of course.