Jan 30, 2006

Puppy Love

Perhaps, it's the snow, which is drifting to three and four feet. And so people act strangely and badly. Or before that it was the cold, which was bitter, or before that, the heat, which was stultifying. No doubt before that it was that this is, after all, a foreign place and before that.... Before that in the slime of personal history there is one's nature and no end to excuse.

Last summer S. asked if she could board Lucy while I was away. I agreed. S. is middle age, round, gray. short. she reminds me of Susan Smith the woman who killed her children. She teaches in the business school. She is single. She lives in the residence. She always has the look of someone who has a trick up their sleave. When I saw her apartment, to deliver food and Lucy's overnight bag, there was little in it. She was glassy eyed and slurred.

She speaks in a low voice. When I first heard it she was traveling in the university van. She was complaining. The van was late, it was too slow, how these people behave. On and on she went. She was so obnoious that one day I said something.

But then after that she came to me one day and asked if she could board the dog. She loved dogs, she said, she loved puppies, she was lonely, she wanted a dog to walk. I agreed and so I went away for three days, to Agadir. When I returned Lucy was not in good shape. She was chained up outside. Night and day, I was told. The guards had done that, because those were the days when Lucy was terrifying the maids, the guardiens, the guards. But S had not touched the dog, had barely fed it. Clearly, Lucy had been causing a rucus. I apologized to S. and told her I would repay any damages.

I went away again for a couple of days and upon return found the same situation. And then some weeks later S, sent me an email with a bill for more than $100. It included money for food, collars, chains, broken something, ripped sofas. I paid half. It was a hold up and I told her as much.

I didn't see her much after that. I avoided her if I saw her in the distance. Once she called to say she'd seen Lucy wandering around the residence. I thanked her. When Lucy disappeared for a month I wondered if S. had kidnapped her.

Yesterday, I heard a story. It was that S had found a puppy, one of these local dogs. She had had it for a couple of weeks. Then the holidays and she went looking around for someone to care of the dog while she was away. She couldn't find anyone. Someone said they would watch her then pulled out. The dog was a few weeks old, perhaps a month. So, having found no one she took the dog to Azrou and had it put down. The next day a neighbor volunteered to watch the dog. "Too late," S. said. "I couldn't wait anymore. Don't worry I'll get another."