Saturday, May 12, 2007

SOKO: THE SURVIVOR


This is my new puppy Soko, the sole survivor of a litter of 4. The others succumbed to exposure, as the mother had so nurse her new puppies in a roofless dog house in sub-freezing weather. Once we were down to one puppy I finally convinced my host family to bring the mother and pup into the storeroom where they would be warmer.

This worked and Soko lived. In fact, she more than lived, she thrived. With no competition for the milk little Soko ate and ate and ate. Soon little Soko was not so little. She was obese. Like a gigantic burrito perched on stubby legs like cocktail wieners, Soko was a waddling mass of blubber.

Now about six-weeks old, she has shed some of her fat, but she is still a hefty thing that busies herself with chasing her mother around hoping for more milk. Her other food option is the severed chicken-head her mother stashed in the box she sleeps in. She's too lazy to eat the ticks that cling to her, so I spend much of my time picking them off her and squishing them.

As she has grown, she's developed quite a unique personality. She runs about the yard, hiding behind shrubs, occasionally sneaking up on me to attack my pant legs. She has the odd habit of bucking about like a mule, sleeping on my feet and hiding behind me when people come over. She has a good bark on her, far larger than her size.

The neighbors occasionally stop by and ask if they can have her (she has good coloring apparently), but my host mother says it's mine. "It's Ryan's dog. He saved it so he gets to train it." She doesn't seem to happy about it surviving.

While not a problem now, I wonder what is expected of Soko when I leave? Is she supposed to come with me? My host mother already told me that if the other dog was not so loved by her son she would have long ago dumped it in Zestaponi (neighboring industrial town). It's common for Georgians to drop off unwanted pets in the outskirts of large towns or cities.

I would hate such a fate to befall poor Soko. I have a while to figure out a plan for her, but I still worry over it. It's been years since I dumped a housepet at my parents so I'm sure they're ready for another one. Why wouldn't they want a mangy, un-housetrained, tick-ridden Georgian mutt? She adorable.