What price for a child’s smile? Something under $7,500 …
“She does A LOT for this family,” was the horrified response when the question burst its way through incautious lips.
“She” is Foxie, a saluki-cross dog. The question, as far as memory serves, was something along the lines of, “What does she do for this family?”
To be fair, she does contribute. She contributes to the dog-loving wife’s need to nurture. She contributes to the children’s delight. But the galling point for at least one of us (and one suspects, at most one of us), is her unashamed disinterest in contributing to the $7,500 it’s going to cost to fly her home from Abu Dhabi. That’s Seven Thousand And Five Hundred Dollars. Australian.
Salukis are desert dogs, traditionally beloved companions of the Bedouin. Ergo, it was explained to the loved ones, it would be inhuman to pay $7,500 to take her to a completely alien environment – to the cold winters of southern Australia.
The argument was every bit as successful as the credible and, I believe,
compassionate theory that it would be cruel to bring a desert creature, with the love of wide open spaces in its genes, into a two-bedroom flat shared by four people. And the floors are tiled. She won’t like that. Too far a shout from the yielding warmth of the Rub Al Khali’s dune sands.
“We’ll buy her a rug,” they said. They bought her a rug. She prefers to sleep on the tiles. For hours. Hours and hours and hours.
It’s like she’s gone into hibernation, and I sometimes imagine a nuggety cocoon slowly engulfing her until she emerges the next day as a huge, sandy-coloured, crotch-nudging cabbage moth.
But that was remiss, wasn’t it? Not to mention that Foxie is a groin-sniffer? Allow that negligence to be corrected. And how does one train a dog not to poke her snout where it’s not wanted? To rub tobasco into the undergarment is not advisable. Not that I’ve tried it. It hurts. A lot.
To make matters worse – if anything can be worse than paying $7,500 to send a bone-idle, socially unacceptable member of another species on a joy flight – we’ve discovered that Foxie’s short stay in quarantine back in the mother country may have to be put back a month.
This means that when I return from Australia in January to a lonely, one-bedroom flat in Abu Dhabi after leaving my family to the comforts of our Melbourne home, I may have to enjoy her company a little longer.
And Foxie doesn’t do rent.