Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Once upon a time there was a dog. Better yet: two dogs.

The first dog was born and bred inside a kennel, from kennel-born-and-bred mom and dad, and had been trained since, I don't know, forever. With the trainers around, diligently doing their job, and his elders to set a good example for him, he was headed the right way. He could sit, roll over, fetch things and bark at strangers just like all the other well-trained dogs. Enventually, there came this family looking for an intelligent and obedient puppie - and there he went.
Mr. Manchester, as the children called him, did not give his owners much trouble. They had to get him used to peeing in the right spot and eating at the times they'd set for him - all of which he got in the normal speed of a trained dog. The children loved the new member of their family, and he got all the caring for that any dog deserves.

Now the second dog.
Predictably - for this is the way of the world in any fable that does justice to the name - the other one was a street dog. He was born from a street bitch and an unknown dog, at the same time the family was taking Mr. Manchester for his usual walk.
Now, the street dog's family (i.e., his mother and 4 siblings) did not stick together for very long; after all, the law on the streets is each man for himself, with the devil taking the hindmost. Hungry and alone, he quickly learnt how to care for himself, and how to get food. After doing some observing, he knew how to look sweet and adorable - so that people would give him something to chew on - or menacing, if need ever be, in order to keep other dogs away from whatever he could get.
Cleverly, he noticed that people tended to stay away from street dogs, due to their ragged appearance. Therefore, he decided to clean himself up whenever the opportunity presented itself: water fountains in parks, rain, lakes, and so on. With a cleaner look than any other street dog, it was much easier to get attention and care, even if sporadically. And so he got by.

No, life isn't fair, I know. The point here, though, is not that - that'd be way too cliché.

Wandering in the park, the street dog obviously ended up crossing paths with Mr. Manchester. There's nothing more natural in a fable, it was bound to happen. They measured each other up carefully, curiously, and not at all inimically. They struck up a conversation, and got to liking each other. Since then, every night the street dog would drop by Mr. Manchester's, in his big yard, and eat his dinner leftovers. Streety was neither proud nor envious, whereas Manchester was generous and grateful for the company. Besides, he enjoyed listening to all those anecdotes about street life - and Streety was a good story teller. Meanwhile, our little homeless friend was everyday amazed by Manchester's calm perfect life. His calm ways, overall, were a matter of great admiration to Streety, who was pretty wild himself. And so several entertaining nights were spent by the two of them.

However, eventually one of the children let it slip at the breakfast table that Mr. Manchester had a friend (of course the kids knew all about it, kids always know everything), and Mom and Dad were very much surprised. It was decided they would check the veracity of his statement - for, though their youngest son was known for never telling lies, still he was a child. Adults are like that: they believe in people based on the labels they bestow on others rather than on people's personalities.
As you, dear listener, already know, the story was true indeed, and the couple got used to seeing Streety trespass their yard night after night. They didn't mind; nevertheless, in spite of being nice people, they were not the most selfless, and it took them a really long time to think of something that all the kids and dogs in the story had already thought of: what if Streety became part of the family? And so it was done.

Streety thought this was the summit of his life. How could things get any better?

But - because there's always a but - Streety was a lot younger than Mr. Manchester; he had a whole lot more energy, and was used to running all over all the time, whenever he felt like it. That was the first of his habits the family tried to put an end to. Also, meal time was something unconceivable, whereas peeing in a specific spot, on a newspaper, was simply ludicrous! How could anyone submit oneself to such arbitrary rules?
Mr. Manchester tried to warn him that this was the way things worked with humans, and he'd better follow the instructions. But such strong and never held back instincts could not be withdrawn now. And so the family found itself constantly sitting on pissed on chairs and sofas, wearing chewed on slippers and being summoned for food in the middle of their affairs. He would also sometimes bark into the night, depending on his mood and on the moon.
After six months of what the family could only call chaos, Streety was thrown out back on the streets again - gently, but firmly. Mr. Manchester watched his friend go away from afar, unable to do anything more for him.

While the two dogs were busy not bidding their farewells, Mom and Dad talked about it.
"He was so cute! Too bad he was completely incapable of learning anything!".