Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Dog Biscuits

from Small Stories from My Enormously Spiritual Life

Like most foreigners in this holy town, I carry a small cloth shoulder bag I purchased at the ashram which identifies me, officially, as a serious spiritual aspirant.  In my spiritual bag, I carry dog biscuits.  They are chicken-flavored, even though I am a vegetarian and this is a pure-veg town.  Honestly I tried vegetarian dog biscuits, but every one of the Tamil street dogs to whom I offered one sniffed at it, then looked at me in a way which I interpreted to mean:

“Even though times are tough right now, they are still not tough enough for me contemplate choking down one of those.  Don’t forget that I still have the option of garbage.”

Thus I feed chicken-enhanced biscuits to all my favorite dogs -- the two charismatic pups at Only Coffee, the pack of mutts that roam Post Office road, as well as any I find lying in the dust alongside the murderous main street.  Cats will also eat the biscuits, if you can get close enough to one.  Monkeys, cows and peacocks will at least consider them and not think less of you for offering.

Along with all these animals, so effortless to love, I also feed my number one least favorite dog: a nasty hound, bleached with age and meanness, who snarls and barks at me like he’s going to take my leg off as I stroll past on my way to score some muesli fruit curd at the green and leafy Shanti Cafe.  He appears to be the oldest dog in town, but he must brush and floss every day because he has the whitest pointiest dog teeth in town.  Like bleached shark’s teeth.

Needless to say, I don’t get too close when I feed him.  From across the quiet narrow lane I lock eyes with him as he barks.  Then I bend down and pour a handful of biscuits onto a stone step and slowly walk away.  

The very first time I did this, the dog stopped barking abruptly, as if he’d forgotten what he was going to say.  Now, every day when I walk past, he still barks at me, but his bark is different than before.

It pleases me very much that his bark is now very audibly confused.

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