Lest We Forget
I am a fair-weather Tibbie. I know it. Beloved knows it. Everyone who understands me knows it. That is why I am still in shock that Beloved took me out this morning in the rain!
I have said frequently how much I dislike water. I do not like swimming pools, and I do not like wet paws.
Melbourne has had a couple of really wet and cold days. Quite correctly Beloved hasn’t taken us out to the dog park and whilst I miss our social gatherings, I quite understand that even Beloved cannot control the weather. Or at least I don’t think she can.
This morning Beloved asked her beloved to check on the satellite weather and he came back and told her there was a dry spell for a bit. So we went out. Well! We were almost at the park when the first rainfall began. I had already made my displeasure known by trudging at the side of the road and refusing to walk on the wet grass of the nature strip.
Beloved hesitated and I willed her to turn around but then the sun broke through and we continued. It’s is not as uncomfortable for Beloved, her paws are covered but I was miserable. Even The Princess looked a little downcast and if you knew her you would know that is some achievement.
We got to the gate of the reserve and I could not believe my eyes. There was a huge puddle and Beloved expected me to walk through it! It covered my nails. My paws were very wet and I hated it.
I sniffed around a little but all the usual smells were diluted by the rain and the only dogs there were tearing around behaving in a very stupid manner. Two of them had coats on. I have a coat but I don’t like wearing it, although it is a very fine purple coat. Zena has a blue coat and hates hers.
We had only been in the park a few minutes when the rain poured down. Beloved was wet, I was wet, The Princess was wet and everything we smelt, touched and brushed past was wet. It was a horrible experience.
Fortunately Beloved must have realised her mistake because we didn’t go all around the reserve. She stopped at the second gate and we came home by a shorter route.
A few minutes later, wet and bedraggled we had to suffer again as our paws and legs were washed and then we were finally free to roll on the carpet and dry out. I did sit and look reproachfully at Beloved for a time just so that she remembers the next time it is wet that I am not an all weather Tibbie.
Then at lunchtime Beloved put the television on and I learnt about Gallipoli because today is ANZAC day. A day when Australia and New Zealand remembers the World War 1 campaign in Turkey where so many soldiers died.
As you know I am a Tibbie who has a strong opinion about loud noises and violence and I would not have enjoyed war. I am quite sure I would have been very frightened if I had been put on that beach and been shot at. I am not a nimble Tibbie and I suspect I would have been among the many who died on the beach.
We know that about 43,000 British soldiers died, 15,000 French, 8,700 Australians, 2,700 New Zealanders, 1,370 Indians and 60,000 Turkish. That is a lot men, a lot of men who were loved and missed by their pack.
What I learnt made me very relieved to be living at a time when there is not a world war. You may feel that this a silly thing for a Tibbie to say and I daresay you are right. Even during war time I acknowledge that a Tibbie is unlikely to be too much use. But animals do go to war. I admit it is not usually the stocky, hairy mountain dogs but the big, strong, fast dogs that are used, but nevertheless even big strong dogs can feel fear.
In Gallipoli donkeys and mules were used to carry men who were wounded and they must have been frightened by all the noise and even been wounded themselves. There is talk that they may have used tracker dogs too. I am pleased that I am not a tracker dog.
Warfare is not in my blood. We are dogs who will sound an alert but then we move aside for our Beloved’s to deal with the threat. I am not sure what I would do in a dangerous situation but I hope I never have to find out.
But for many dogs war is what they have been bred for. Older cultures used to train dogs to fight in battle and they would be sent to war with armour and spiked collars.
In more recent times dogs have been used as messengers in war zones and some really big dogs were used to pull heavy machine guns.
In the first World War about a million dogs died in action.
There was even a dog awarded the rank of sergeant for alerting his pack to the presence of a spy. He was an American Pit Bull called Sgt Stubby. We dogs have our heroes too.
So today as we paused and remembered all the men who died, I thought about the tracker dogs and messenger dogs and even Murphy the donkey who carried wounded men which was a very serious job.
And as I learnt all the things these animals and men suffered I felt ashamed that I had made such a fuss about going out in a little bit of rain and getting wet and muddy and I acknowledge that I am a very soft Tibetan who likes his warm beds and dry walks and I understand too how lucky I am that for most of the time that is what I get.
Lest We Forget.