Monday, June 7, 2010

Compassion For The Untouchables

It is a lousy feeling when you desperately want to follow what your heart says and yet mindful of the serious repercussions resulting from it. Following my heart here means showing some kindness to a starving stray bitch and her three puppies and the repercussions are....

 It is a known fact that Islam forbids any direct contact with these canines. All contacts, either intentional or otherwise, should be followed by  a special cleansing ritual using mud and water. It is this rigid condition that have the  Muslims shying away from the dogs. (At least that is the reason I would like to believe) Even if I'm prepared to undertake this tedious religious obligation, mud and all, I am sure there would still be a few who would be misled into thinking that I am a tad too compromising, as far as religion goes. On the other hand, I am positive the vast majority of Muslims the world over would not hesitate to show the same compassion for these unfortunate strays had they been presented with the same scenario that was portrayed before my eyes.

A few mornings ago, when the garage door was opened I saw this poor thing and her young ones crouching in front of my gate. They were obviously not bothered by my presence, giving not the slightest of indication that they would leave the place immediately. Ever the soft-hearted, I decided to let them stay and rest their weary bodies for a bit more until I saw mummy scratching herself raw, an obvious sign of the presence of fleas!  Despite the darkness of the early morning sky (it was 5a.m.) I could still make out their balding skins with scattered patches of the remaining hair.  I had no choice but to shoo them off and only when they stood up did I notice how thin and scraggly both mummy and puppies were, one pup was limping badly.

Yes,I solved one problem in chasing them away only to encounter yet another one which is even more heart wrenching, one that keeps gnawing at my conscience even as I am writing this. 

Was I cruel in chasing them away when all they needed at that time was just a temporary shelter before starting their day scavenging for leftovers? I am in a terrible them food, even once, would have them camping outside my house for good. This gesture, no matter how noble and appropriate they may appear to me, would definitely be met with an all round disapproval from my neighbours. They would most certainly resent sharing their living space with a bunch of hungry, dirty, smelly, flea-infested and occasionally violent four-legged intruders. Much as I hate to admit, they are absolutely  right!

Then, there are my eight stray cats to consider. These fuzzies will emerge from all corners of the earth converging in my house for breakfast and again in the evening for dinner, without fail, before disappearing to their hideouts. Like my neighbours, they, too, would not have consented to my desire to take custody of their life-long enemies as well. The dogs would be another hurdle for them to overcome before they reach their house, of course!

Last but not least, there are those fleas to consider. I don't want them crawling all over me. I have seen how my cousin suffered huge rashes over his entire body and it took days to ebb off. I am not ready to take the  risk.

So, where do I go from here? How do I feed those hungry dogs without making my neighbours wary of my religious beliefs, without betraying my poor cats and without exposing myself to those dreadful crawlies. Should I just erase the whole sad episode from my mind or succumb to my heart's desire and hence, risk being ostracised yet again? I am at a very difficult crossroads. I just hope and pray that I don't see them again and that God Almighty has found shelter and food for them.

I should have taken a photograph of those poor things that morning but my sole objective then was to chase them off and I worked really hard at that to the exclusion of everything else. Ordinarily, that's how my one-track mind works but at 5 a.m.,it automatically shrinks to a much narrower track, unfortunately!!!!! So, that explains why there are no photos.

P.S.  I managed to capture an image of mummy minus the young ones when it came round again a few days after I started writing this article.

This is the best shot that I could offer of the poor dog minus her young ones.  Her legs are obviously faster than my aging ones for me to focus properly.

The black patch outside the gate is the silhouette of the unfortunate dog

One of the stray cats waiting for breakfast to be served in a danger-free zone atop my dividing wall at the break of dawn!

Two more of the strays on the other side of the dividing wall on no man's territory 

One more stray cat waiting patiently for its turn to be served.


  1. salam Roffini,

    ingat saya tak...we were 346 Blok F, second college, UPM..

  2. i've been seeing several stray dogs knocked dead by drivers along the highway on my way to/from work for the past few days. it really saddens me that no one was kind enough to move them away, to the level that one of the dogs ended up like minced meat after being driven-over, over and over again!

  3. Salam Nab,
    Ya Allah, mana boleh lupa! Excited sangat "jumpa" you selepas 35 tahun! No. bilik pun boleh ingat lagi. I dah lupa dah. Baru imbas your blog sekali lalu. Wah, seronoknya tengok you dengan anak-anak dan suami. I ada suami saja tanpa anak. Nak buat macam mana, dah takdir. Do keep in touch.

  4. Salam FFini... suratan takdir..kita bertemu di alam siber..
    I baca your entries...take quite sometime to finish all of them. You are a good writer, may be you can publish your writings into a book.
    Enjoy reading for me I just scribble short notes English is lousy..takut nak tulis, nanti banyak mistakes.
    Sure..I'll keep visiting you..
    35 years! OMG!

  5. Salam Nab,
    My problem is Melayu pun tak betul, English pun tak betul juga. Main bantai saja. Actually I'm just learning how to blog. I tengok you have a lot of followers dah. Good. Hope to be as popular as you are.

  6. salam Ffini,

    tadi I try cari kot2 u ada FB...tapi i tak jumpa.if you ada then it will be fun!

  7. Siti,

    ,,,my ever faithful friend, Jane has caused many troubling incidents for me on the island too !. The locals at times throw stones or sticks at her but she is an island dog and protecting her turf plus me apparently is her no.1 priority. When got chased by Jane for annoying her, they would curse and swear at me at times until i meet them face to face or rather eye ball to eye ball, with Jane awaiting my command to attack if ordered !. She is now 4 years old and was given to me at 3 months by an ex-SB officer now running The Moon at Charating. Her parents were guard dogs as such she too grew up as one. Pretty intelligent and obeys order from me. Told to stay, she will not move an inch and she 'ronda' the Capt's Longhouse area, knowing the houseguests after proper introduction, will only bark at others or strangers. Everyone falls in love with her after getting to know her charming ways.
    Unfortunately, some of our locals would trigger her anger due to their own fault i.e. throwing things at her if am not around at times. Once I allowed her to chase this guy up a tree for being rude to me for having a dog in my longhouse !. hehehe i was pissed off !
    ,,,As a guard dog, we muslim is allowed to keep them according to some religious people, am used to having dogs since as a kid cos. my daddy take in strays b4 finding them proper homes with his friends. In fact, that habit has been ingrained into me too and I have taken in many strays (cats/chickens too) into my home and finding new homes for them after taking care or bringing them to the vet for treatments.
    ,,,to tell you another story, i take in human strays or society rejects too on the island, train them as my crew (more than 70 person to-date within the last 20 years) and then release them on their own after getting necessary working skill/experience at Capt's Longhouse. Many are pretty successful in running their own small business nowadays too but unfortunately a few still failed themselves with their drug addiction or just plain lazy attitude. Its my secret agenda or contribution back to society plus a win/win situation for both having such arrangement with my molly crew on the island.
    ,,,Sometimes it is best to put some of the stray dogs to sleep, just call the Govn. vet. but you must win the dog's trust first by feeding them and some caring !. Its not easy, can be very emotional when the Vet. comes for the final job. I been through it a couple of times already. you get attached to them-lah.
    ,,,we have also, yet tamed to us but still wild 26 ayam hutan, staying/sleeping on the mango tree beside our bedroom in our Miri home. Stray chickens !! interesting indeed, ask Bib more about it, she has names for her pets hahaha plus the 8 cats too.... eeerrrmm all strays too.

  8. Hi Siti,

    Sometimes u need to be cruel to be kind, IMHO, strays should be rounded up by RSPCA / Town Council and be put down humanely if no homes r found for them. Else u’ll find strays rummaging garbage bins & streets scavenging for scraps & spreading diseases, worse sometimes they go wild & attack children when provoked or cornered.

    The trouble is a lot of people think that having pets r fun, but in most instances when the novelty & fun wears off and one realises the tasks & responsibilities looking after pets becomes too much they quickly abandon them & in most cases in very cruel ways too, especially the way the discard kittens / puppies.

    I think people should be screened first before they r allowed to have pets.


    P/S – Some “humans” (worse than animals) need to be put down too….muahaha. No, no that’s not a very nice thing to say, sorry!

  9. Salam Nab,
    Semua orang ada, I pun ada juga FB tapi I get confused with all the happenings out there. I think you can reach me via my full name ....siti roffini mohd yusof

  10. Capt.,
    The soft-hearted pirate of Pulau Kapas!! We need more people like you and Bib and I slept well last night because I finally managed to feed the hungry dog and one of the puppies.

  11. Tommy,
    Yes, I do agree with you that strays should be rounded up and put to sleep. It's better that way than to have them treated so cruelly. But, Tommy, when they come round to your front gates, looking sadly into your eyes, I don't have the heart to turn my back on them. Most people would think that I'm just looking for trouble. may be they're right but at least I have the satisfaction of having shown some sympathy and kindness to these poor things before the Town Council takes them away to God knows where. I hope they have a better life in the hereafter.

  12. Awww Cikgu u r not fair there, pricking on my conscience :((

    This is a very nice song;

    Bless the beast & the Children

    Bless the beasts and the children
    For in this world they have no voice
    They have no choice

    Bless the beasts and the children
    For the world can never be
    The world they see

    Light their way
    When the darkness surrounds them
    Give them love
    Let it shine all around them

    Bless the beasts and the children
    Give them shelter from a storm
    Keep them safe
    Keep them warm


    P/S – To answer your hypothetical question; No I’m won’t feed them but I will get in touch with the appropriate parties that are trained & paid to do what’s necessary. But then again I might react differently when actually confronted with the real situation before me. Maybe the soft side in me will shine thru'. :))

  13. Tommy,
    Beautiful lyrics. Would be even more beautiful with you singing it. Hehehe.

  14. Siti,

    ,,,can't help wondering why tak cat dinding kat luar runah tu ?. Baru bersri luar dalam hihihi. kidding, give it a paint job and you will feel bloody good for it. Good exercise too-lah...DIY Yeop, don't get outside labour for it. hehehe.

  15. Capt.,
    Oh, oh! Should have been more careful with my pictures, especially having people like you around, meticulous in every aspect!!! Hehehe.
    Now, how do I go round getting my Yeop to do it for me. That is like reaching out for the stars, unfortunately.