By Edward B. Antonio
It’s January again, fellas.
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year, too, Bravo. I hope he is well and good there in heaven with other dogs.
This January is the 7th death anniversary of my dog, Bravo, fellas.
He was murdered in 2010.
Bravo was a big, black dog with heavy furs which I usually trimmed. I bought Bravo from my wife’s aunt who bought it from her nephew. It’s of hybrid descent. It’s not the usual “askal.” My wife’s aunt, Myrna (blessed be her soul) bought it for P300 and when she passed by our house carrying the dog, I fell in love with the puppy.
“How much did you pay for that dear aunt,” I asked her.
“I got it from my nephew Meneleo for P300,” she said.
“I have P400 here, would you sell it to me?”
But after 3 days, she came to our house carrying the dog.
“This dog keeps on barking at night and I can’t sleep,” she said. “You can have it for P400.”
And that started my family’s love affair with Bravo.
Bravo grew up healthy and big. He was so big all the dogs in the neighborhood would scamper for safety whenever he barked. His voice was loud and booming. My kids loved him. He would play with the kids who regularly bathe him.
One Saturday afternoon, I treated my family to a motocross show. Bravo, still a puppy then, hopped in. We enjoyed the show but when we were about to go home, we could not find the dog. Then, it rained. People started to go home until we were the only ones left in the area. We started to worry.
Just as we were about to give up looking for him, I remembered that he knew his name. I stood on top of a big rock and shouted with all my might: “Bravo!!!!” And out he came running to us from a cave-like mound under the bushes. He took refuge there when it rained!
But Bravo was amorous, too. When he was older, he started going out after the females. He would come home only if he was starving. He would pursue his “wife” for days and nights.
But one day, we noticed he had not come home for a while. Two, three, four, five days passed and still, there was no sign of him. We searched for him in the neighborhood and in the nearby villages, but in vain.
On the 6th day of searching, a friend called to report that three days back, a big black dog was shot, killed and cooked for “pulutan” by a barangay toughie who was a known bodyguard of a politician. This man was also rumored to be a professional assassin. On the day Bravo was murdered, the man was seen hosting a drinking spree with his friends who were also working for his boss.
We felt helpless and just prayed that justice be served to these people someday. My kids cried when they learned of Bravo’s murder. We later learned that more dogs disappeared. But nobody dared to confront the man for fear of their lives.
A month later, one of this man’s buddies was gunned down. Neighbors said it was a case of rivalry within the group. Apparently, there was misunderstanding in their line of “work.” And so, they started to kill each other. Another one died and then another one.
Then it was Bravo’s murderer’s turn. His killer fled and never returned.
We surmised that Bravo came to earth with a mission and that mission was fulfilled in his death.
And so this January, we remember Bravo, fellas.
Greetings to him in heaven.
From Bravo, I learned how to be kinder to dogs. They, too, have feelings. They also need love. They need ample food and a warm, cozy bed.
From him, I learned, too, many things on how to take care of dogs like these things which appeared in an article:
When adopting a puppy, wait until it is at least eight weeks of age before separating it from its mother. Although the various breeds, and dogs in general, have different temperaments, look for a clean puppy that is happy, outgoing, and alert.
A puppy that is excessively shy or thin or that has obvious health problems, such as discharge from its eyes or nose, is not a good choice. Dogs also need rabies shots to protect them from the virus, which is transmitted in the saliva by the bite of an infected animal and attacks the nervous system.
Most young puppies harbor roundworms and intestinal parasites. Roundworms rob the puppy of nutrients, resulting in the puppy’s failure to thrive; the parasites are eliminated with several doses of oral medication.
Veterinarians recommend that dogs of all ages have a yearly checkup, including vaccination booster shots and screening for external and internal parasites. Since dogs cannot communicate their health problems through words, an annual examination is important for the early detection and treatment of problems. Owners should be aware of signs of possible illness requiring veterinary attention, including changes in appetite and behavior.
All puppies and dogs have three daily requirements: plenty of fresh drinking water, correct amounts of nutritious food, and adequate exercise. An outdoor dog needs shelter from the elements and plenty of shade during the summer months, and indoor pets must have regular access to the outdoors for elimination. Whatever their living arrangements, all dogs require the loving attention of their owners.
I may not have done all of these things to Bravo, but surely, he was dewormed, fed properly and lavishly loved, only to be murdered for “pulutan.”
My only consolation is that he did not die in vain.#