Anyone familiar with my terrier mutt, Ripley, knows him as an uncommonly needy dog, one apparently so smitten with the very idea of attention that he'll debase himself to any level just to get so much as a scratch behind the ear.
He is also a murderer of mammals great and small. His scalps include a skunk, a possum, a squirrel, at least two rabbits, and, over the snowy holiday in northwest Arkansas, three rodents in two days. This plump field mouse Ripley flushed out of a snowed-over patch of flowers, only after pawing through ice and chomping through branches to follow his nose.
Death comes cold and swift in a mouser dog's jaws. And it's worth remembering, when this cute little dog tries to lick you on the mouth, that his lips would just as soon be curled around stiffening rat hide.
And for no other reason than that the Internet is fueled by nipples and adorable animals ... here's a photo of the latter.
It’s a curious thing when you know the lasting image from a day in one of the world’s truly overwhelming cities will be one of the last you saw.
I mean, we went from the hotel down a slalom of thisclose pedestrians and past a shocking flipbook of commerce and chaos. We met with, broke bread with, overlooked ravines with, visited a cockfighting arena with and visited the home of a Haitian national who was deported from South Florida to Port-au-Prince 11 years ago after his rap sheet got too big for the States to hold. We dropped in on a small business in which women weave recycled litter into purses and wallets and sandals for sale here, in the States and online. And we took the long way home, past the citadel that is the U.S. embassy and the U.N. outposts and one of the longest, craziest lines of traffic I’ve ever seen, dodging motorcycles, entrepreneurs, hello-down-there! potholes, crossing dry creekbeds with a goat foraging on one side of the bridge and a hog on the other …
Then a quarter-mile from home, we hit a damn dog. Poor thing was a variation on what I’ve come to call the Haitian national dog: a rangy long-tailed tawny dog that plumps itself to 24 pounds on the garbage it scavenges ahead of the chickens. The dog wandered into the street right in front of us, sauntered through our lane, decided better of getting hit in the oncoming lane, and backed its way under our tire. It screamed, wretchedly. Men on the sidewalk winced, then yelled at us to pull forward. The dog cried as it limped away, its back right leg now a useless gray looseness. As we had braked, we had dragged it.
It was a fuck-all rotten way to end an otherwise fine day of reporting. But it reminds me of a line from Tim Cahill’s “Road Fever” (which I’ll address more fully later): “There are no old dogs on the Pan-American Highway.” Petionville either.
I was happy hours later to dance to Cat Empire with a dog named Tarzan on some U.N. workers’ patio.