Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Our dogs in the farm

We have 6 dogs in our farm. A Japanese spitz, named "Vampy", a Dalmatian, named "Spotty", a cross-breed of Labrador and native breed, named "Jenny", and 3 native breeds named "Tiger", "Elma", and "Ryan".

Vampy is sort of a toy dog, she just stays in my tree house. With her long furs, she easily gets lice and other pesky dog insects in her body if she stays in a concrete house. In my tree house, with fresh air around her, I notice she hardly gets any lice there. She's the pet dog of my former girlfriend, now my wife, Ella. Ella loves her so much -- before, when we didn't have a daughter yet.

Spotty is an adopted dog from Ella's auntie in Quezon City. Some neighbors complained of Spotty's loud barking, so he was transferred to our farm, inside his metal cage. There, when he barks, his voice could be heard sometimes in another barrio or village more than 1 km. away! He's in a cage most of the time, as we can't let him loose all the time because he might walk away and never find his way back home.

Tiger (name taken from his tiger-like fur) is our "chief security" in the farm. He's the oldest there, he's about 4 or 5 years old now. Anyone passing by our farm, whether people, or rats and birds, he'd chase them. But his habit of chasing people is more of scaring them. He has never bitten anyone all these years, nor came close to biting anybody. But in the evenings, I don't think Tiger will hesitate to bite any intruder, say a theft, who will come close to my tree house.

Jenny (name taken from a famous Filipina golfer, Jenny Rosales) is also very brave. She can bark all day or all night, so long as there are faces or creatures that she doesn't like. Our farm caretaker has several cows. When he goes home down the barrio, he has to leave his cows somewhere between our farm and his house. And Jenny would come and guard the cows all night! Not every night, but on a number of evenings.

Ryan (name taken from former champion of the Philippines' multi-stage cycling race, Ryan Tanguilig) is another brave dog. When I'm not in the farm, here in Manila, Ryan does not stay near my treehouse, he stays in another hut where the mango trees are. There, some children from the barrio would come to steal some of our coconuts, or cashew, or calamansi, even mangos during mango fruiting season. And Ryan makes sure that they don't come too often. When he barks continiously, Tiger and Jenny would come quick to join him.

And last, Elma (taken from former Filipina athlete, sprint and long-jump queen, Elma Muros). She's also brave, but when the 3 dogs are out chasing something or somebody, or if they're accompanying our farm caretaker, Mang Endring, Elma stays behind to guard my tree house and other things inside the house.

We have a 7th dog before, Zorro (name taken from famous Mexican hero, Zorro). He's also a Japanese spitz, supposedly to become Jenny's boyfriend. He was very brave, and he'd bark loudly and continiously when 1 or more dogs are barking. Unfortunately, he died. He was ran over by a "pugpog", a barrio truck used in hauling various farm and forest products, which entered a public forest land via barangay road in our farm. I talked to all the barangay leaders there and requested that said barangay road be closed from "pugpog" because those vehicles are used mainly to transport illegally-cut trees for firewood, charcoal and poles. Plus the fact that said vehicle killed my dog. The barangay leaders gave me that permission.

In a sense, Zorro's death became a trigger for the closure of that barangay road. Now there are less cutting of trees in the public forest land. In addition, we put a tomb (made of cement) for Zorro right beside the barangay road. So some people who walk to the mountains to cut some trees for their household needs are scared that there's a tomb nearby. Maybe they thought that a person was buried there.

Whenever I visit our farm, our dogs are among the happiest welcome sights that I see there. They are just too happy, too loud, to welcome me. And I always bring lots of food for them.

In the evening, where I talk to Mang Endring on some plans for the farm, all of the 6 dogs would also enter my treehouse and just stay there. Before we go to sleep, all of them have to get out, except Vampy. When I wake up in the morning, the dogs are already waiting at the door, waiting to be touched and wanting to walk around with me.

Tiger and Ryan don't exactly like each other though. They'd fight from time to time, especially over food. Maybe this is one reason why Ryan stays out of my tree house area, where Tiger stays and guards most of the time.

Dogs are indeed man's best friends. You can get 100% loyalty from them, and your properties they help secure. This week, a new puppy, local breed, was added to the farm. She will be our 7th dog. I still have to think of a new name for her though.

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