Yossi Faybish - dogs - Toy
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Toy - the complete and absolute anti-depression drug.

Indescribable. Whoever never heard before, like myself, about a race called Cavalier King Charles - it's high time you hear about it. When my wife appeared one day back from her shopping trip dragging this creature behind, or rather the creature dragging her, we didn't dream what change it would bring into our lives, our behaviour, our habits. After my usual show of screaming and shouting and (again) "me or the monkey...", I suddenly had this incredible feeling that this was exactly the kind of medicine I needed to kick me out of the lethargy that started settling on me. It is hairy, it is tri-coloured, it is intelligent, it is funny, and it is so attached to humans you cannot keep from wondering why it was not born as one. It doesn't growl, it doesn't snarl, it doesn't bite - it's not a dog. It's a toy. It is Toy. You have absolutely no choice but be happy with this "thing" playing its tricks, or fixing you with its huge eyes, or sleeping on its back with one giant ear covering one hulf shut eye. Tizza, the bitch, shot out of her deepening depression as if shot out of a gun. She barked, she snarled, she attacked - she was alive again. And the huge baby, with its wiggling hindquarters, its huge paws, and its innocent indifference just couldn't care less. Bitten, scratched, pushed - he was oozing happiness. Ever seen a dog smile, ever heard a dog laugh - this one did. And it still does.

It took him one minute to learn his name, two weekends to learn to identify Saturdays (when my wife HAS TO take him to town) and Sundays (when I and my wife HAVE TO take him to the big park), and one to two months to learn from Tizza how to chase cats. That's when the big friendship blossomed between them - she informing and watching from a safe distance, and he doing the chasing like a hell driven maniac. To do what? To get to the cat, then eye it with keen incomprehesion ("what kind of dog spits like that?..."), and then start rubbing noses with it. A big baby, as I said. The one and true and only real Teddy Bear.

His specialty? Well, I am sure no other dog in the world can do it, and it is of his own learning that he started doing it: give him the leash - then he lays it on the floor, folds it once in half, then folds it in half again then he picks it nicely in his mouth and he is ready for the road. And if it misfires, then he drops it again and folds it again until it sits elegantly in his muzzle. Never seen such before. A first.

Depressed? Disoriented? Sad? Worried? Sick? Small children? Take a Cavalier King Charles. You'll bless the moment.

*

On a dark day of October 2006, not yet ten years old and his health failing miserably, Toy declared his wish to die. I could not refuse him his last wish, I granted it, dying with him. Oh, the misery and the terrible torment. We buried him next to Tiger and Tizza, so he won't feel lonely, his leash - the symbol of his liberty - next to him. Now free to roam the sky. Wait for me, ok Toy?

    It took me long to sit down and write it,
    This,
    This poem, pain, howl... you name it.
    I played delay games hesitating between names,
    Between Your Beautiful Eyes and Toy and Tribute
    and Murder, Planned and My Friend, Gone and You...
    Finally I had to sit down,
    Choose the title, call back the unending howl, pain, poem,
    and write it.
    The untold untellable story of Toy.
    My dog.
    Gone. Dead. Today. At my murderous hand.

    Oh, the beauty of those deep brown sugar eyes,
    The smirk in that quashed muzzle, the huge paws,
    the knots in that long hair hanging from your ears,
    the knots in my throat right now wishing it was I not you
    lying there cold, rigid, unseeing. Dead.
    The little ribbon I tied from time to time to your forehead,
    You looked like a clown... so beautiful.

    Sure I remember.
    When you arrived like a mad cyclone from the depths of a horror story
    running through the house like a pack of mad wolves
    chewing to death everything that didnít move
    licking to death everything that did
    peeing and shitting with joyful glory all over the carpets
    and bed sheets and all around the newspapers I laid down for you
    never on them... making mush of me already then
    and I fell in love with you and now you are gone.

    Once in your life, only once, you growled
    and you were so embarrassed and so ashamed at the sound
    that you never did it again. Love, only love, this is all you knew to give
    and you gave and you gave and you gave so much of it.
    Always alongside me, with me,
    in the bed, in the bathroom, in the car, at friends,
    you demanded your place in my life and you got it,
    half of the place and all of my life,
    sneaking with you into shops, cinemas, restaurants
    where you were fast to hide underneath the table
    waiting for me to share with you half of my hamburger, half of my chips,
    my spaghetti, my ice cream, my pizza, the cream and the cakes.
    Always thanking me. With love. Endless love. And tail wags.

    So elegant,
    folding your leash in four symmetrical parts
    picking it up as the symbol of your liberty
    and waiting at the door... OK, letís go together... you said.

    Time. Heart. Sickness. Still dragging along with me. Everywhere.
    Slowly. Unrelenting. Happily. Slowly. Slower.

    Our last night together.
    Weak, hardly able to pick up your body,
    two weeks your stomach got nothing but a few pills,
    some water. You were still smiling. You were in pain but didnít tell.
    But I knew. Your murder was planned for the following day
    so I refused to come home, I refused to let you go, but I did.
    You still wagged weakly your tail, unable to get up.
    You licked my hand. You rubbed your head against my knee
    wishing to leave something with me, your smell,
    a few hairs black and white and brown, your flag and mine.
    Did you know already? That you will die?
    That I will die with you after that night to end all nights?

    I watched the needle enter your muscle,
    the plunger pushing the liquid in, half of it, then all of it.
    I couldnít watch the second shot,
    ran out of the room and hid in a corner
    howling in my mind howling in my mind howling in my mind.
    Respecting you. Letting you go. With dignity.
    Oh, so painful it was letting you go...
    Then he told me with fake sorrow in his voice that it was over. I paid him.
    I took you with me.
    There will be flowers above you, and around you, and in your heart.
    And all the worldís desert in mine.
    I loved you, friend mine. Like a child.
    I have no choice now but to become a believer.
    I must believe that I will meet you again.

                Brusells, 11.Oct.2006