His name is Peter. He’s a dog, a Bali dog. Black and white, a little strange-looking if you ask me. He carries puppyhood trauma on every paw. Gazes at you with suspicious eyes. Barks if your smell is not immediately familiar. Ready to leap if you so much as budge a limb.
I moved in yesterday. Dog-sitting gig number this or that. Up in Kutuh Kaja (for those of you in the know). Doggie heaven. A veritable canine play-pen. Homes, villas and Balinese compounds are secondary.
Pete was taken in by Americans J & T. J asked me to stay with Pete(r). Why not? I love dogs – and they love be back. Usually.
Peter could have cared less. Sniff sniff. Ya, well.. maybe later. Maybe if you prove yourself (he seemed to be saying). But no guarantees. Backed off. Barked. The whole nine yards. I’d have to find a way to win him over.
It must have been the gift of spoon-licking that won him over. Last night, but more so this morning. I was sure I sealed the deal. He settled down, gave me the once over, then swiveled back around. Phew. We’re good.
He followed me down the road. Wifi was out so the warung up the street was my best bet. What do you know? AA has a posse (5, count ’em!) dogs. Jostling, butt-sniffing, Pete was in his element. He’d look over sometimes. Ya, she’s still here.
Then I left. I thought he was following. But then he was gone.
I went home. No sign of Pete. Ok, he’s a Bali dog. They do their own thing. Yes, but…
I walked up the road. Down the road. Asked neighbors, Javanese workers, the staff of warungs here and there. No sight of him. Pete!! I called up and down. Peter, where are you??
Nada. Back home. Still no sign of him. I tried to work. Really, I did. But the yawning silence, the absence of Pete was almost unbearable.
In the light drizzle, I went out again. Maybe the rain will send him home. Up the road, further than last time. Pete?! Still nothing in Junjungan. Popped my head into more places, stopped drivers, quizzed rice farmers. Tolong mungkin lihat anjin yang hitam putih? Did you see a black and white dog? Kosong. Zero. No dog.
Dusk setting in. My head hung low as I turned back. My mind reels. What do I tell J and T? How could I have LOST a dog.. one day in? Should I print posters and hang them on poles and in shops all around Kutuh?
I’m not alone. Paka and Happy, Pete’s 2 canine friends, are out of sorts. Forlorn. Dropping in to play. Where is Pete, they seem to ask, then back out and amble up the driveway.
Nearing darkness, I return. I plead with the spirits. Then I see what looks like the pointy black top of an ear. Sure enough there he is, on the front terrace, curled up on his pillow. Throws me a look as if to say, what took you so long to come home? I’ve been waiting, like, FOREVER!
I catch my breath and crumble onto the front steps a few inches from his snout. I barely know this pooch. Yet here I am breaking down, tears streaming down my face. He downward dogs in my face, then sniffs my tears. Ya, whatever. All’s good. I’m here.
But more importantly, here come Paka and Happy. It’s playtime again.