A couple of weeks ago, Jason was hit by a car. That's his name, Jason. We were trying to avoid naming him because it would mean that we'd end up keeping him, building an attachment to him that would be difficult to break. So instead of naming him, we were calling him "number 11" 「十一號」. It then occurred to me that this was worse than naming him because it inferred that he was going to be our eleventh dog, so we named him. I wanted to name him Lucky because I think he's been lucky to have met us, to have survived the screwworm flies and to have made it this far. My wife didn't like the name though so I asked her to come up with one of her own. She named him Jason.
We hadn't taken the time to train Jason on a leash. Actually, I had taken him out a few times on leash without any problems. He would tug hard in different directions, look back puzzled at the leash and then eventually realise that he wouldn't be getting away so he'd relax. Unfortunately, we normally take five dogs out at a time so adding Jason to the bunch was not an easy thing to do. I was ok with it because I'm a big guy but our helper wasn't up to the task. Nevertheless, Jason liked to follow us out on our daily walks.
It was while on one of these walks that Jason got hit by a car. The helper came back after the walk and told me how she heard him yelp and saw him do a summersault or two before getting up and bolting off down the road. He didn't come back and the helper couldn't find him.
That night, I walked down the road four times looking for him, calling his name and whistling for him as I walked. It was raining the fourth time I walked down but the air was warm and getting wet was not my primary concern.
I had to give up and come back home, hoping that he hadn't been seriously injured and that he hadn't collapsed from internal bleeding.
It rained heavily that night.
Around three in the morning, I heard his signature bark. Ever since we had him, he would race outside to take his walk and do his business and then race back to the outside of our garden gate and bark to let us know that he was back. Eventually, I was able to teach him to run around to the front gate where I'd let him in, but waiting and barking at the garden gate was still the first thing he'd do each time he returned.
I recognised the bark, went around to the garden gate and let him in. It was raining but he was fine. The next morning, we discovered in the better light that he had a scrape on his face, just above the cheek bone. Otherwise, he was in great health. This was one amazing dog. Sleeping tablets can't put him to sleep and cars can't kill him.
He was lucky. That incident with the car taught him to be wary of cars. Prior to that, he would walk all over the road, ignoring each and every car and truck that went past. It was as if they didn't exist and I worried about him often. Now, he was scared of the cars, so much so, that he refused to go with us on our walks. After getting to the top of the village road, we'd continue on our way and he'd backtrack back to the house and wait for us there.
Over the last couple of weeks, he has continued to improve, becoming less and less wild. He still likes to nip when he plays with us; especially me; but it's just fun and he's not trying to hurt anyone.
We placed advertisements to find a new home for him in the local ParknShop store, and on the windscreens of the cars parked in one of our village car parks but no one called.
Jason was staying with us.
Then a week ago, a young girl asked us about Jason. She knew an old lady who was looking for a new dog. One of her dogs had just died and the others were aging. She had had lots of experience with dogs so dealing with somebody as lively, strong, rough and playful as Jason wouldn't be a problem.
Yesterday, I silently took Jason out the front gate leaving everyone else at home. I opened the car door and he happily jumped in. It was difficult keeping him still and in the back seat while driving to the pier in Bak Sha Wan 白沙灣 but we arrived safe and sound.
We got out of the car and walked over to where the ParknShop store used to be. I couldn't see the girl who had organised to meet us there but she might have been late. We walked around a bit with Jason excitedly trying to go everywhere and smell everything all at the same time.
And then we saw the girl. She was waving at us and walking up from the end of the pier. We walked down to her. Her strong sun-tanned shirtless husband took Jason's leash from me and began walking him down toward the end of the pier. Jason didn't mind that somebody else was holding the leash and continued to try to go everywhere and smell everything.
When we arrived at the end of the pier, they began going down the stairs to a waiting motor boat. Jason was scared out of his mind because he'd never been on a boat before and never been down stairs near water. He did get on the boat though with some pulling from the man and he stood on one of the middle benches, slightly off balance but doing ok.
He was going to a new life, a life on a fish farm, something I'd never imagined. It wasn't going to be a posh life in a home with canned dog food. It was going to be a life where he wouldn't be allowed indoors, where he'd be eating rice and bread for most of his life, and where he'd probably have the best time of his life running around everywhere, getting exercise, playing with the other dogs and possibly riding boats with his new owners every chance he got.
Of course, what happens next is unknown to me. I can only hope that he'll be fine but I instinctively feel that he'll have a wonderful life.
I miss him though. It was a tough time we had together; meeting him on the road, trying to get him to the vet, teaching him not to bite so hard, to be softer and easier with us humans and trying to teach him to be a better dog.
I watched the boat with its single bright light as it headed out to sea under the darkening sky. For ten minutes, I watched before it turned left around an island and disappeared from sight.
I sought out the girl today and asked her about Jason. She said he's fine. He's tied up away from the other dogs to prevent fighting at this early stage but he's eating well and not making any noise. They're quite surprised by his good nature.
She said I can visit him. I'll give him two weeks to adjust and accept his new environment and owners, and then I'll visit.
It'll be great to see him again.