Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Tabada: Guardians


We keep house in Silang for one male human, a sire (male dog that has fathered puppies), three dams (two Aspin [Asong Pinoy] mothers who gave birth to their first litter and a Puspin [Pusang Pinoy] on her sixth litter, we guess), a young cat, five female puppies, and four female kittens.

And the bitch: Me.

After I recently grilled a prospective guardian, the husband described the experience: terrifying.

He was probably describing the third degree our friend, in making his request to adopt a puppy, did not expect to be subjected to.

I probed with the sensitivity of a “mambabarang” sticking pins to a victim’s lookalike doll: As a child, did you care for a dog? Do you know puppies quickly outgrow cuteness and become dogs, eating, shitting and peeing all day? If you are a plantito, do you know what happens to plants around dogs? How strong are you about picking up your butt and taking a dog for walks every day?

Or the husband may just have been muttering “terrifying” to himself: Will she ever let go of those puppies/kittens?

Six enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) periods ago, our Luzon co-existence was unexceptional. We fought like cats and dogs at times but, generally, stayed within our private domains as civilized primates. Then we adopted an abandoned litter of four puppies and the idiom “fighting like cats and dogs” will never be revisited with the old naivete.

More than a year later, we have become what the husband refers to with a lot of heartfelt hope: a pet placement agency. Admittedly, we are running out of space and barricades to keep our extended family in reasonable quiet and non-aggression. Yet I insist we rehome by seeking families who will welcome the puppies and kittens and commit to them as family members for life.

I am wary about the widespread bias that an Aspin makes a good guard dog after seeing too many chained, caged or left without food or water to discourage intruders while a family is away. Assisting as “mananabang (midwife)” during the birthing of our dams, the husband and I expect no less than the valuing of each life.

With her three puppies emerging after two-hour intervals, Noki’s process, from nesting to birthing, lasted for more than 24 hours. She refused food, water and toilet breaks for nearly a day to nurse her girls. Rem was unsettled by the crowning of the first of the two puppies; she had to be fed by hand in between births. In the middle of giving birth, a bloodied Kitkat emerged in answer to the calls of the husband, upset that she did not show up for a meal.

So while we still have a roof left to share, the husband and I take rehoming slowly but surely. He, the optimist; I, the bitch.


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