The look


Written on 2:12 PM by isko b. doo

Growing up, we had a lot of dogs. Mind you, these were not the uppity kind that ate only doggie foods, or respond to any command, or be jumping with joy at the sight of water as shown on those cute Labrador commercials on TV. Our dogs have no pedigree at all. You know, the kind that rabid dogs don't wanna meet in a dark alley.

It's not unusual for us to strut around the neighborhood with three or four dogs behind us while the angry barks and growls of the other dogs trail us as we pass by. Our dogs would be lapping along, assuming a swagger that's not befitting their non-pedigreed askal (asong kalye) ass and unmindful of the commotion they were causing.

Maybe that's the reason why we were not as attached to our dogs as we should be like the owners of those cute Labrador commercials on TV. Bath time were always a struggle, both from the dogs and us kids who were ordered to bathe the damn mutts. To put into context where we place our dogs in our hierarchy of needs: one time, we gave (donated?) one of our sickly dogs which died that summer of many moons ago to the local bums in the neighborhood as their pulutan. That afternoon summer of many moons ago, beneath an overcast sky, I ate adobong Blackie that I downed with an 8-oz. bottle of Mirinda. The whole experience gave a whole new meaning to the word "Down Blackie." hehe (God, I crack myself up).

But this is not about adobong Blackie but another dog named Blackie -- for lack of imagination and because we had too many dogs, we named them according to their color and other permutations: Brownie, Blackie, Whitey, Spotty, Tisoy/Tisay, Nognog, etc. -- who unwittingly taught us unconditional love and all that crap.

Blackie didn't have any distinguishing characteristics apart from his short legs. Judging from his name, the dog was all black save from a white mark in the middle of its head that splintered his cranium in two. He had the same mark on the tip of his tail that was always bent upwards when he stood on all fours. Like a perpetual "fuck you."

That's exactly how he behaved. He possessed a fuck you attitude, always looking out for a fight with our other dogs, even his old pop. Nobody touched the old dog, a grizzled veteran of many dog fights which bitten a lot of friends' legs that we couldn't care to remember, except Blackie. No sir! Blackie seemed to have made it his life's work to provoke his pop to be the Alpha Dog and fuck you very much!

His coat did not have the luster of pure-bred dogs. The hairs were thin and coarse, almost prickly and they emit a musky odor like a combination of ash and burnt pubes. Not that I know what burnt pubic hair smells like. He was just like any of our dogs except for one: we sold him off for P150.00 to our neighbor to celebrate his birthday with his friends.

Just so everything's clear. Even at our young age, we knew what would happen to him. He would very likely be somebody's appetizer before the day is done. We even knew how it's done.

1. You tie the dog to a post or a tree and make sure the rope is about two to three inches between the post and the collar so the dog wouldn't have room to maneuver and the head is quite still.

2. You take a stick, about 1 1/2 inches to two inches thick, and you hammer in a 4-inch nail at the end of the stick and you have a makeshift death bludgeon.

3. Whack the dog with the stick until his ass don't yelp no mo'.

See? it's easy as one, two, three.

I remembered right after lunch, our neighbor went to take Blackie. The dog was unusually subdued. I had the uneasy feeling he understood our conversations about selling him and he knew he was going to the gallows. As our neighbor led him outside the gate, the dog looked at us with dejected eyes. It's not at all accusatory, rather a resigned look that says "I can't believe you just did that."

I have to admit that I pity the dog. I wasn't such a heartless prick. Nor was my father, in fact, who sold Blackie. There was just too much chaos in the house, with five kids and 10 dogs. He didn't need the aggravation caused by Blackie. I'm not making excuses here, just an explanation.

The house was suddenly clothed with a sudden silence, the unmistakable conspiratorial silence that follows after a great transgression. That's that. Blackie's gone.

Or so we thought.

Some 30 minutes later, we heard a commotion from outside the house and so we all went out to investigate. Blackie's escaped! He knew how to open our gate anyway so he went right in and hid under the stack of lumbers at the backyard. Our neighbor was close behind his heels, clutching a 2 x 2 stick.

When Blackie saw us, he emerged from his hiding place dragging the severed rope around his neck, sporting a nasty-looking lump on his forehead the size of Batanes, and licked my father's feet. It broke my father's heart and returned the money to our neighbor.

Blackie had the opportunity to escape and he went home instead. He knew that my father sold him off to be killed and if he had any doubts, the lump on his forehead quelled all that. I've heard and read stories about dogs being intelligent but coming home was just stupid. Home's what brought him to that mess in the first place. Home was his ticket to one-way street. Was it just animal instinct that made him go home? Well, yes and no.

I should probably tell here that after licking my father's feet, Blackie proceeded to lick all of our feet. Each of our damn, stinky feet. When I looked down to see him groveling at my feet, I understood why my father had to return that money. It's not the kiss. It's the look.

You see, when I look into Blackie's eyes, I saw nothing but forgiveness. That was what my father saw. That was what broke his heart.

Blackie lived on with us for many years until he died of old age. He remained as boisterous, brassy, loud-mouthed, and frenzied as before. He did become the Alpha Dog and not a single day pass by without him reminding us about this fact by being a major pain in the ass.

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  1. ev |

    "When Blackie saw us, he emerged from his hiding place dragging the severed rope around his neck, sporting a nasty-looking lump on his forehead the size of Batanes, and licked my father's feet. It broke my father's heart and returned the money to our neighbor."

    this line moved me jo...

    i admit a dog lover..a dog's best buddy...and i even cried when my father sold my dog to a neighbor years broke my heart.

    nice post!

  2. isko b. doo |

    karon, wa na mi iro. Mas maayo guro kay di man pud mi kabalo magalaga ug iro. hehe

  3. jayclops |

    *sigh* We have a limping dog named Scooby (isko b. doo, hehehhe) and this made me realize that i should spend more time with him. I realized that he's about 10-11 years na with us, and is it right the life span of dogs is around 12 yrs? I've read it in some kiddie almanac.

  4. ev |


  5. yeng |

    ay kaluoy! this reminds me of story i read in reader's digest. u have the same story and i was surely moved by it. But, i like your style though. COmedy ang una nya nikalit lang og

  6. isko b. doo |

    really? dapat siguro ibaligya ko ni ako story sa reader's digest... bsi makakwarta pa ko. hehehe. Thanks for your comment mam.


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