When spending several weeks in Northern California with Bestie, seeing a lynx down by the pond, having a Crystal Meth junkie gal banging on the truck door and then, finally, getting to where we had planned to go for a pleasant ride only to encounter a Rattlesnake lying across the path, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Bestie took it all in her stride and it seemed the best way to go. I was beginning to get the hang of it, I was also getting the hang of her attack dog. He was really interesting. She had heard about this poor little pup when she lived in another state. He had escaped from the Koreans who had eaten his siblings. Having done a runner, he was living wild and fending for himself when she was told about him. She was determined to save him and she did. He was holed up under a huge bramble patch and Bestie got scratched and torn to shreds on that mission to save that dog, but save him she did.
Until I arrived at her house in Northern California, I’d never seen a Korean “edible” dog but there he was, very like a Chow but black. She warned me not to try to pet him “He could rip your arm off”. Fair warning, this was a dog who had fended for himself, in the wild, from a very young age and there was something very special about the boy that I respected. He was unique and deserving of respect. As the days went by and I melded into the household, cooking, housework, egg collecting, horse duties and all of the domestics, this dangerous dog was checking me out. He was really interesting.
One evening, after I’d prepared dinner and left it on the stove to cook, I went outside and sat down to listen to all of the racket coming up from the “Pond”, the frogs, the crickets and various other critters when this dangerous dog, Bestie’s attack dog, and he could kill, moseyed on out, sat down by me and let me scratch his ears. I was honoured. The next morning this ritual was repeated as he was the first of her dogs to greet me and I was accepted into the pack. He’d allowed me to touch him and he hadn’t ripped my arm off. I began to realise what an amazing dog he was as the only people he trusted were those who spoke English with an English accent. He trusted Bestie, Bestie’s mechanic who was from Nottingham and then me.
One day when Bestie was working in her home office and I had to go to the post office, I said to him “Do you want to come to the Post Office with me in the car?” and I swear to God that dangerous dog got up on his hind legs, looked me straight in the eye and made a noise that sounded like “Yah”. Off we went. At the Post Office I said to him “Darling boy, I won’t be long. Guard the car.”
He was leaning back like he owned the State. So cool. I wasn’t long and we were soon back at the house. Bestie emerged and when I told her what had happened and where we’d been she was flabbergasted. Her really dangerous attack dog trusted people who spoke English with an English accent. Like she does!
After that he and I became besties and it was a true privilege.
He was a star dog.
I loved him dearly and am so glad that those Koreans never got to eat him.
© Barbican 2019
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file