Biki

Printer-friendly versionSend by email

Biki visiting a friend in Terena, Portugal.Yesterday I was looking for all the photos I had taken in Terena. As you can see in yesterday's blog, I found many photos. One was very special. It is the only photo I have of Biki, my dearest dog.

I was living in Portugal for a year or so when I found Biki. I was sharing a farm house with Jeremy Leidstar in the Alentejo. The farm was about 700 hectares and 12 km south of the border town of Elvas.

The farm house was simple. On a hill in the middle of the property, just less then a km from the main gate.

The house was split into two independent quarters. No running water or electricity.

Down the hill from the farm house was a beautiful Victorian well. Over the well was a construction out of chains and 24 small buckets built that would scoop the water on the rotating wheel and bring it up from about 40 m.

One morning I walked down to the well with my buckets to get some water. It was very early and cool this morning. As I walked down I saw a dog's head. Blond, and with two large ears. It was about 30 meters away. I called out something nice. The next day, the blond head popped up again. 25 meters away this time.

I came prepared and had some biscuits, or bikkies on me and while throwing them in the dog's direction I called:'bikibikibikibiki!!!'. For two weeks we went through this ritual.

Then I kept a water bowl outside the house and fed the dog from the veranda. One morning while walking down to the well, I actually stumbled over the dog. We both had a fright. I stared at the dog and the dog stared at the man. I made a kind sound and the dog hopped up, passed me by and ran in the direction of the house. It went in through the front door, found my bed and that was that.

So the dog was called Biki and I loved the silly dog. He was retarded. One eye was askew, tiny underdeveloped testicles and one gammy leg.

Later that day Jeremy came by and he helped me de-tick the dog. The handful of ticks we found looked like gray pearls.

Biki didn't have any hunting instinct or whatever. Just a sweet dumb look in his pretty golden eyes.

After having left the farm for the Big House in Terena, the tiny village with the castelo (castle), Biki was like a part of me. The dog could sit outside in the middle of the road and nobody would harm him. The average Portuguese would throw a stone or shout something unkind. Not at this dog as he was Senhor Paulo's cão (dog).

As I was on my own most of the day, I would talk to the Biki. Often I called him 'Nancy Reagan' or 'Schnietsie Pooze'. Or 'Peddle Pops'. He always agreed with me.

After a few years he aged very quickly and developed a cancer. Under some pressure from friends I decided to make an appointment with a vet in Vila Viçosa, 20 km north of us.

I went to our 'one and only' chemist and asked for something to calm the dog so he gave me a box of Valium. Biki and I shared the box of course and when I got to the vet the door was opened by a very drunk and very silly veterinary surgeon. He told me to come back tomorrow. I had to think. The best thing would be to go to my aristocratic friend Dona Maria Hinze-Ribeiro, who had a small palace in the town. Biki was by now fast asleep and the valiums just cottonwooled me, so to speak. Dona Maria didn't want to kill the dog for me. She knew and liked Biki. But Noblesse Oblige. She took a rifle and with two kids they carried Biki away. I went upstairs and started to suck on a bottle of Scots. Then I heard the rifle shot and it was all over.

Maria gave me the body wrapped in a blanket. It was dead and it didn't mean anything carrying it. I buried the body under a window and grew peas on top.

phb.