Bringing out the best in people and dogs

July 14, 2017

Dogs are not so different from people….often they need to be coached to discover their strengths. Most dogs for instance are afraid of water. But one of the puppies in the litter of six seems to like swimming so much he can’t get enough of it. He shall be called froggy. As he swims like a frog. When froggy grows up I will train him to catch fish in the river that runs thru the lower sections of my land….when foggy transitions from milk to solids. I will feed him the head of fish that will be his reward.

Another puppy seems to like climbing trees. He’s always climbing like a squirrel. I will call him Tenzing after the great Nepali Sherpa who climbed Everest. I will train Tenzing to hunt squirrels when he grows up.

Only three of the puppies in the litter of six have rotweiller markings – they will be trained as hunter dogs….the rest need more time to discover their calling.

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‘I think when you’re young and perhaps even if you’re not so young it’s absolutely necessary to try your hand on as many things as you possibly can. Especially the one’s that at first you may not want to try or do. Don’t let anyone put the idea in your head this or that you should not try. There can never be enough of experiences. Because out of everything that you once put your hand on….one of them is surely going to be the skeleton key that unlocks the door to who you were really meant to be.

If you don’t try. You will never discover your niche in life.

Sadly most people never ever find their niche in life. All they seem to do is follow everyone else…that also means they will likely end up living the life of everyone else. I am not saying that is bad. Hey! If it works for you. Go for it! For some people I guess it works well enough to produce the quantity and quality of happiness that gives meaning to their lives.

But for some other people that will never do…or maybe I should say….never enough – so for these category of men…they have no choice but to try and experience as much of life as there is out there to find themselves….if you understand this…you will understand. If not there is no point in trying to explain it…it’s a vampire thing.

But once you decide to press the go button. Often they have to risk everything and just take a leap of faith.

When I was a young man. One of my relatives gave me a tool bag and suggested to my Mother I work as a typewriter Mechanic like him in what he described as a prestigious establishment that was as timeless and enduring as the Bank of England. This fool went on to add….everyone will always need a typewriter. The name of the firm was Silver Reed. I still remember. On my first day at work I overheard the supervisor saying to a colleague…the boy is a dimwit…he will never make the grade. That night I rode around in my bicycle and saw a knot of boys hunched over a stationary shop. In the shop window was the first computer laid eyes on…it was a Apple home computer…It emitted an eiree greenish glow that played out geometric shapes that mesmerised me to go almost every night for a whole month. One such night, it all clicked in my head and I knew there and then my future was a dead end. Because I was looking bang straight at the future. That same night I threw my tool bag into the river. Thereafter I wolfed down a char kueh toew, Mee goreng, twelve sticks of chicken satay and two ice Kacangs.

From that day onwards I worked three jobs and saved up enough money to buy an air ticket to London despite being called an ingrate by everyone. Even my parents refused to speak to me….but I didn’t care. When someone asked me what will you do for tuition fee when I got to London….I told them sardonically. I will figure it out when I get there.

Eventually I managed to buy a third class seat on board an Aeroflot flight. When I got to London I slept under bridges for a whole month. Till I found a job in a leather tannery. I was a strong lad….I was not afraid of work.

Eventually I upgraded myself into an abandoned building. I worked on the building on my free days repairing the roof with whatever I could scavenge from work sites. When the owner of the house who was a rich Pakistani merchant who owned a chain of corner candy shops in Brixton found out I was squatting in his premises. He sent gangsters to evict me. But when they tried to rough me up my Alsatian put one of them for a six month stay in intensive care. After I told the owner…don’t be rash…use your mentality…. a house with no one living in it will soon turn into a wreck…is that what you want. So I suggested that he give me a grace period of about a year to repair the house and I would rent out all the rooms and give him the proceeds on a monthly basis on condition that I be allowed to stay there for free. As since it was in a crime infested area he would never be able to rent it out. He reluctantly agreed and I kept my end of the bargain and slowly my life got better.

I worked so many many jobs as a student. I lost count. No one wanted to sit next to me in lectures as I was always dirty and smelly…but that didn’t bother me and soon I even gathered enough on the side to buy myself an old BMW motorbike that I restored to running condition. I went all over Europe with this bike. Often sleeping rough under bridges and in graveyards.

One summer’s day after finally getting my degree. I decided to give myself a treat and toured the whole of Europe. I’ve always wanted to see Russia and I remembered standing astride on my bike and before me was a section of the Berlin Wall that had just been torn down the night before by a mob. The Soviet Union was in the final days of its death throes. There were no border guards around and everyone was drunk like a kite including the soldiers….I had a full tank of gas…like I said I wanted to see Russia….so I just rode right thru that hole like the rabbit in Alice in wonderland. I rode thru the infinity of the Russian steppes till my bike fell apart stuffed the tires full of straw, but they still came apart…sewed it with leather as I was good with pelts, but it still fell apart and finally I traded what was left of it for a donkey. I bought a WW2 rifle, axe that I carried around in my waistband, sextant and compass for the price of a pair of jeans and hunted and survived on the dirt road on wild rabbits and stag mainly…..by the time I made it out of the Ukraine I was so marinated in the wild that I must have looked so odd in my furs and strange hat that I fashioned from a moose that whenever I encountered hardened brigands and professional criminals on the road often they ran away in sheer terror leaving all their valuables…..and all I ever wanted of them was to know where is this god forsaken place, what date, month and year was it….and might they be kind enough to spare me half a cigarette. By the time I stood before the paraffin blue of the Volga I could speak fluent Russian. It took me one year and two months and 3 days to transverse the entire length and breadth of a decaying Soviet Union….I felt like a tissue paper soiled with shit being taken by a river of sewerage into the sea….till this day I don’t remember very much except maybe the relentless litany of putting one foot in front of another….the bitter cold….the siren whine of the wind that can drive a man…any man stark raving mad.

But there was one happy scene that stood out from all the sharp edges of my journey – I was lying on top of a haystack chewing stray, it was the height of summer, the sunflowers were in full bloom and the sky was so blue that it seemed almost inky black whitening the clouds even more so like bleach…I had the farmer’s daughter in my arms. She was a strange girl. She went on and on about wanting to know more about coconuts and what it really tasted like as it’s a mysterious and exotic fruit to most Russians…I told her I will show her mine, if she did me the courtesy of doing the same…she was happiest to say yes…thereafter that I drank hooch and smoked a cigarette….and I can still remember that day even today…I wished this day could last forever.’

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