Yesterday, around five in the afternoon, the Olympic size swimming pool of Cebu City wasn't cooperative at all. The traffic of swimmers, amateur and pro, beginners and the like, forced me to cancel my 15 laps - I end up going to the Archivus Designs to print the poster I designed for our upcoming activity, earlier than I planned.
Walking through the infamous Junquera St., is a common sight of a family staying in a make-shift outside the unreachable walls of Philippine Christian Gospel School, an exclusive school where, incidentally, one of my closest hetero male-friend, studied. I don't know if during his high school days he saw what I saw and feel what I felt.
Nevertheless, just beneath the mahogany tree beside the unreachable wall lies what I hardly expected to be a source of my proletarian discontent vis-à-vis bourgeois appreciation. The unfamiliar sight of troubled puppies and the much familiar sight of a family who owned the puppies languishing in a petty-sight of familiar awakenings.
Since this is a confession, I might as well confess.
I owned a dog. Not just an ordinary dog, but one banned in several states in the US and feared by many whose only line of defense is subjective fear. I owned an American Staffordshire terrier a.k.a American pit-bull terrier. Her name is Nadem, a quite patriotic one, short for national democracy. The name is taken from an aspiration for several decades by millions of Filipino people's struggle for genuine freedom and democracy. Thus, Nadem.
The inspiration too, stems from the fact that she was born on the 26th of December.
Four years ago, Nadem, owned and breed by a friend and comrade, a doctor of veterinary medicine, whom I aptly called "animal nga doktor" envied me with his pit-bull puppies and I bought one with a comradely discount.
Nadem gave birth to nine puppies almost two months ago after almost four years of being a single “lady-dog”. Unfortunately, only seven survived. Diablo, Nadem’s mate is a perfect father for their puppies, but that is another story. My puppies are well taken care of by the entire family. Even the stud’s owner, is equally excited to see Nadem and her puppies as often as he can, including his younger brother.
As per advised and the random routine of veterinary check-up, my puppies underwent the routine check-up due them. Otherwise, I can’t sell them with a good price.
Which lead me to be distracted by the three puppies, less than six inches each, dirt colored and sleeping, lying beside and above each other below the mahogany tree. Walking achingly slow towards my destination, as if my legs have just been bitten by dogs, I wanted to move back. But I decided to go ahead and not be distracted with what I saw.
Owning a pet, despite the social and economic disparity in life, should never be a hindrance. In fact, I always appreciate people, whose limitations in life (including time), still finds time to be with their “best-friend.” That old moniker referring dog as man’s best friend simply holds true to several familiar sights I saw within the perimeters of a garbage dump skywalk, below the overpass or even within the unreachable walls of a Christian Gospel school.
What struck me was the family who owns the pet, while their pre-nursery and nursery kids were drinking their milk; they also provided milk to their malnourished puppies. The familiar and disturbing sight becomes deeply familiar, moving and painful. I not only remembered my puppies but also reminded myself that my two-year old kid will be brought to a doctor tomorrow for his routine check-up.
Not just on that day, but on the 26th of December thereafter.