I head down to the dogs’ handicapped area. Jimmy is lying down, head up and bright-eyed. He has good teeth, a full-fluffed red-gold coat and a good coloured tongue. I step over the fences and bend down to pick him up. We have a little wrestle-dance to work out how we are going to proceed. We find it and lift-off – with a squeek and a squirt of pee no doubt - into cradle-pose to step out of the enclosure. I put Jimmy down and I get the scarf under his tummy just in the right place – out the way of plenty of marking opportunities to follow. We get balance on our front feet. The back ones are wobbly and don’t really catch the weight so well, so I lift the back from the scarf – we are set.
The are a multitude of different styles employed here. Each dog has their way: a drag, a lumber, a crawl, a lollop and the rest. On first sight, it’s so touching, and funny and sad and wondrous all at once. Each and every one is unique, but the most important thing is each and every one goes for it with all they’ve got and with all they are. They are themselves and no-one else and this demands the highest respect, beyond degree of ability, they are agents in the world, faultless and so beautiful.
We head out, a drunkard pair – awkwardly stop-starting in a chaos of rhythm. No-one knows who is steering this ship, not even us, and we couldn’t care less. Let’s head to the shade of the tree and the bushes.
Arriving here, 30,000 times more possibilities of scent are available for us to share. He sniffs and I am with him. Jimmy bites off half a leaf from the bush, then again, and then some more. This beautiful fragrance comes to me – a kind of sage-mint. I had no idea – I wouldn’t eat it myself but he loves it. Thanks for opening that scent door for me Jimmy.
We go on. He attends to the undergrowth and I enjoy a welcome breeze to counter this desert air. I watch the ants pass back and forth along a branch, he goes for the donkey dropping.
And when we need to leave our own scent mark, we find the position, I re-arrange the scarf and he lets loose. I don’t know if accuracy is important for dogs when leaving scent. Ours won’t be very concentrated but it will definitely be original. No doubt who’s that is, they’ll say.
His feathered tail sways and my face smiles, our hearts free. We head back. We stutter and stumble, but the most amazing thing about all of this – is that we do it together – me and Jimmy Superfly.
Tags: animal aid unlimited, handicapped-dog, india, India Unlimited!, Jimmy Superfly, trans-species culture, udaipur