I grew up in a house with a lot of pets. All through childhood, we’ve had several dogs: one, two, or three each time; a number of cats, and several goats.
We had chickens, too. Several cows and pigs, and usually one water buffalo. But the chickens were for the eggs, and for food. The goats and pigs were for food too on special occasions, although milk can be had from goats if you master the art of milking. The cows and water buffalo were for work on the farm.
Thus, one hardly thought of the latter group of animals as pets.
The best dog we had was King. He was neutered as a puppy, and became big and a bit chubby. He was my brother’s best friend. His tears were copious when King was run over by a truck.
The cats were another story. Most of the time there were three or four of them, depending on whom among the feral cats from the neighborhood decided to stay. Occasionally we would be feeding almost a dozen of them. We almost never saw mice or rats in the house.
After almost a decade of living in America, I had set-up a household in the midst of Manila. For the Philippines, this is the City of Lights, City that Never Sleeps, City of Our Affections, City by the Bay, Distinguished and Ever Loyal City.
Also City of Garbage.
The third world scourge..
An issue that carried other issues as well, like huge rats, huge mice, and huge roaches. Somehow each species deserve the adjective.
Enter Jude, or Piolo
Depending on your mood, you can call him by either name as he rarely responds anyway.
Jude, because of Thad.
St. Jude Thaddeus. Got it? I had wanted them to be relatives, for some reason that escapes me now. Perhaps because they both are obstinate and moody. Or vainly good-looking. Or dastardly when provoked. Whatever.
Piolo, after I had him neutered. That spaying is another story.
I was smitten with the puppy when the IT lady brought four of them to our place of work, as she had too many of them already. Her American Shorthair had a liaison with a pusakal, and Jude was one of her sons.
I thought of taking in a cat because of the mice and rats problem, and Jude was just perfect. He was toilet trained when he came. He went to the litter box when he pooped.
The pee was another matter. For some reason or the other, Jude was not too bright with the peeing part, like most Pinoy males. It wouldn’t be so bad if cat pee wasn’t so obnoxiously odorsome. An industrial-type stink remover was rendered inutile by Jude’s indiscretions.
He particularly liked to go with me inside my bedroom, where I also work on the computer. Many times I would forget he was there, and this brat never asks me to open the door when the time comes to pee. He loves to rub his body on my legs whenever he was hungry, but he was oh-so-silent when he peed. He would let loose the floodgates, and the favorite place was my bed.
The stink was abominable.
Always, the sheets have to go to the washer immediately. Even after drying though there was a map-like faintly yellow-brown stain left.
After several episodes, it struck me that the stains resemble the Visayan islands.
Bohol. Samar, or Leyte, and especially Panay. It was never Cebu, maybe because the island is very elongated. Luzon is so convoluted, that a random flooding would never resemble Luzon. Mindanao maybe possible, but the Zamboanga peninsula made it difficult to emulate.
My childhood fascination with geography.
I remember everything. With Jude, it all came back, vivid and true.
Only, real smelly.