October 9, 2008

I wasn’t sure if I should report on this incident or not, but I figured life in Sri Lanka is still life so not all my stories can be positive ones, that’s just not realistic.

Onto the story, last weekend I was really excited because my host parents and I had made plans to go to what my host father called the “puppy orphanage.” I had this image of a little building filled with smiling puppies for me to cuddle. I was very wrong, what we went to was an attempt at a pound, but the dogs seemed fairly vicious and they were corralled into pens or kept individually in little chicken coop like houses. I was fairly sure that a pack of dogs would eventually break down these little fences and fulfill their desire to attack. However, I had to note that Sri Lanka is a third world country with limited funds, and a huge stray dog problem. This place was certainly a step in the right direction.

Eventually, we encountered a few litters of puppies but my host father wanted a guard dog. The relationship between humans and dogs is a little different here, dogs are guardians they are not for bringing in the house and they are definitely not for hugging. Which is why I keep getting in trouble with my host mother who keeps catching me playing with dogs. I didn’t care that my host father didn’t want a puppy because there was this huge German Shepherd looking dog that I liked. I showed him to my host father and he said that this dog was “the lucky fellow.” We named him Lucky, which is just some sick form of irony.

We brought him home in my host father’s car. Lucky, about 70 pounds sat in the back seat, more sat on my lap. My host mother was appalled. Lucky and I were pretty much love at first sight and my host father felt the same way, my host mother not so much. The next day, I woke up early to play with Lucky. Then I was sent in to wash and study.

I heard screams outside my window. Lucky, had bitten my host mother. He got both her hands; any stay at home mother can understand the horror at the thought of loosing use of both of their hands. Turns out, Lucky was eating and my host mother was adding more food to his bowl, when he bit her it was probably in defense of his food bowl. My host mother was taken to the hospital, where she received a series of rabies shots and injections into the spot where his teeth had broken her skin. Eighteen shots in total. Lucky was returned to his chicken coop, apparently, he was in the pound because he had a history of biting university students. They were never supposed to give him for adoption.

Somehow, my host mother still seems to like me. I think it’s because she’s Buddhist so she thinks she got bitten because it was her Karma. My host father, on the other hand is very sad about the dog, I’m a little sad about the dog, too.

Anyways, on a more upbeat note it was a good chance to see how close knit family ties are in Sri Lanka, because within five minutes of the incident the house was full of family members offering assistance. Now, about four days have passed and the stream of well wishers still hasn’t run dry. Plus, my host mother has regained use of her hands. My host mother said that we would get a puppy soon, I said that I was not going to offer any opinions while selecting the next dog.

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