Feb, 2002
Walking with the dogs in the rice farming community of Nondu, Thailand

Usually in the early evenings I take a short walk along a dusty red gravel road that runs on the other side of the rice field behind the house. Invariably I am followed by the household's two young dogs. A German Shepherd, about 8 months old and what appears to be a black Labrador Retriever puppy, no one knows for sure. The Shepherd keeps close to me but the Retriever puppy scampers all around, running off the road, down into the rice fields, then back to the road. She picks up whatever is interesting. A couple of days ago, it was a dead chicken she found on the road. She carried it high in the air, all along our walk down to the pond, then all the way back to the house. Yesterday, she carried a small bone she found near the road, putting it down to go sniffing around or to swim in the pond, then finding it and carrying along to the next place. This evening she found what appeared to be half a lower jaw of a dog or some other small mammal, complete with teeth. What a trophy.

When we walk down to the pond, we follow the fork to the right. The pond is about 200 meters down, and the dogs like to swim there and poke around in the brush. One of these days, I want to follow the fork to the left. It goes a short way through the woods to the clearing where the community's cremations are held. There is a large iron box on a concrete platform, and I'm not sure what all else is there, so I would like to go and poke around a little just to satisfy my curiosity. Alas, every time I leave the house, the dogs are with me. I can imagine getting to the clearing and that Lab puppy running off and picking something up in its mouth and me chasing it around, waving my arms yelling "Hey! drop that!!!" or something of the sort.

Not a pretty picture.

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