Yossi Faybish - dogs - Tiger
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Tiger - I could never have guessed how accurately this name would apply to this dog.

He rolled into our life quite by chance. One day I came back from work and told my wife - "You know, I just saw our neighbour walking a mouse around the house." She got curious, met the said neighbour, found out they actually had two specimens of this mouse thing, and next thing I knew she walks in holding the mouse in her hands. Needless to say I shouted and threathened (the mouse or I ... kind of thing) and argued my soul out... needelss to say I was actually enthraled. The small bundle just curled into my lap, fixed me with its big brown eyes, and I was lost.

The race, we found out, is called zwerg pinscher. In other words - dwarf pinscher. Looking like a mini size dobberman, slim, sharp pointed features, one may have mistaken this fragile creature, as I did, for some maxi size mouse. NO SIR!!! I decided to call it Tiger as a joke. A joke? A dwarf? The little bastard had a stance, a pride, a fierceness and fearlessness comparable probably only to a real tiger. Powerful solid and muscular body, the proud high headed walk of a race horse at show time. Approaching Rottweilers and Dobbermans and other oversized monsters in the park as if they owed him something, looking them eye to eye from his half foot height to their 2 foot one, revealing as necessary a pair of canines worth of a dragon - almost spitting fire. Dracula's teeth we called them, and were very careful not to be in their vicinity whenever he decided it's about time to get them into snapping mode. And a heart - pure gold. I was in love.

I am surely kind of biased, but I never dreamed such a small head could contain such loads of canine intelligence or insight. First - for him in-house violence was Taboo. When, jokingly of course, I tried to raise my hand in a threatening manner towards my wife - it was clear that, if not for me being (at least on paper...) the master of the house, these small jaws were ready to rip my arm off from the shoulder. The only safe way out was lowering, very gently, my arm at normal sea level. And even then his eyes kept following my movements with certain suspicion until it was clear that "danger" is out of the way. Then there was this sixth sense of, god knows how, understanding certain events that have absolutely nothing to do with dog life. Like the end of a movie or show on TV. With us watching it, he would lie between us, supposedly sleeping, letting his humans have their fun... Then, with the first accords of the end of show or end of film music just starting to leave the TV's loudspeakers - the little devil would suddenly jump like a mini typhoon, barking, scratching, begging - it was time for his walk. And maybe a last example, which even my wife couldn't believe until I showed it to her - the little guy actually knew how to cheat human style. When it so happened that Tizza, the female dog, finished eating but was still guarding her leftovers jealously, and he was interested in these leftovers - we wouldn't just push her out of the way and take ownership by force. No. He played it in a devious uncanine way. He would suddenly start barking and run to the door, pointing at some potential intruders about to penetrate the sacred territory. Tizza, of course, couldn't leave such injustice unpunished and she would join him in the common effort to push away the invading forces. And the sneaky little bastard would turn and rush to her plate and finish the meagre leftovers. Irrelevant how many times he did it, she still fell for it.

As for dog specialties, and each dog has one or a few - this one's specialty was playing American football with Frolic. Frolic, for the uninitiated, is small round pieces of condensed food that a dog is supposed to chew and swallow. Not this one. For him Frolic was the center of a game composed of picking it up in his teeth, tossing across the room and then waiting and expecting some human to rush up to the Frolic and try and kick it elsewhere (God forbid if we were not in the mood, he would chase us all over the house barking and shouting and forcing us to join in). And after about five minutes of chasing, running and barking (humans too) all over the house he would suddenly pick up the "ball", chew it and swallow it, as he should have done to start with. With a great "Thank God" from us.

Twelve years. He died of a heart condition, dynamic and full of energy to the last moment. It broke my heart. We found a local animals' cemetery where he is buried. No, I don't want to forget and go on. I want to remember and go on. And, foolish isn't it, my eyes are bleeding salt when writing these lines. And, as it happens again and again throughout my life - the only way I could kill part of the pain killing me was by expressing it in rhyme, French rhyme in this case. Rhyme for his little grave.

    Tiger,
    Mon ami, mon frère,
    Pour toi une prière
    De larmes amères
    Sur ton bout de terre.

    Tiger,
    Les anges te réclament
    Pour q'ta petite âme
    Tout le ciel enflamme
    Avec joie et charme.

    Tiger,
    Prend soin de ma mère,
    Cher maman - amère
    Ma vie éphémère,
    A bientôt, j'espère.

    Tiger,
    Joie et peine font sœurs
    Dans mon triste cœur,
    Un si grand bonheur,
    Une immense douleur.

    Tiger,
    Je garde pour toujours
    Ta gaieté, l'amour
    Dans tes tristes yeux, pour
    Te revoir un jour...

                Bruxelles, 12.Nov.1996