Dok bilong Moresby.

I saw on the SMH site the other day that a dead dog was found hanging from a tree somewhere in Sydney. I didn’t get to read the article as it tried to send me to a porn site instead, but I got the gist – Dog. Dead. Tree. Suspended. If that’s the kind of tale that brings on the waterworks then for the love of God (Dog?) stay away from Port Moresby. Here in Waigani Heights there are a few (honestly one or two, maybe three) well-cared for dogs, but mostly the canines in Moresby belong to one of three broad categories – street mongrels, guard dogs, and dead.

The street dogs are pitiful but you don’t touch them. Mange, ribs and weeping sores are the only common trait, otherwise they don’t look much like any canine genus I know of. They’re everywhere, even here in sleepy Waigani Heights. We hear them fighting every evening, and the same dog yelps pitifully after each bout. I would advise a change in career for that particular dog but I guess there aren’t too many options for the ignoble hounds of Waigani Heights besides scavenging and fighting (and preying on newcomers… read on).

The guard dogs tend to be better catered for however they’re often gaunt – keep ’em lean, keep ’em mean. They’re mostly German Shephards but there’s a stocky mongrel outside a chemist in Boroko that I can’t pick the breed of. Yes, guard dogs outside chemists – once I thought Marrickville was a bit rough with a bouncer outside the pharmacy, but here in Moresby you always have them, and they often have dogs. Mostly the animals seem thoroughly disinterested in chewing on raskols, sleep being the preferred pastime during scorching business hours. I’ll leave it to someone else to see what they’re like when roused – although from what I saw on Independence Day they can get excitable. One weekend outside the big supermarket in Gordons a security truck drove by with about twenty dogs in the back. The brutes gnashed and barked at the Sunday shoppers, making their presence well known as the truck did a lap through the carpark. I couldn’t figure out why there was a need to take the dogs on a tour of Gordon’s Foodworld. Maybe the security personnel were out trying to impress the locals: Hey everyone – look at these fucking DOGS!

As for the dead type – do I need to explain? Common trait is bloatage, common habitat is beside the road. I’ve actually only seen two. The first was decapitated. The second was being closely examined by some people for reasons I don’t need to know.

I really haven’t had personal problems with the latter varieties – guard and dead. The same can’t be said for the street mongrels. Yesterday just outside our compound I saw one of the usual dogs uphill from me, which is nothing out of the ordinary as they tend to sniff around and shit wherever they want – as dogs do. A few moments later I turned around to find the same dog coming at me. Friendly fellow, I thought. Wrong! For some reason this fella didn’t like me and wasn’t shy about getting close and personal to make the point. Of course as soon as one starts something the others join in – so within moments I was keeping four of the filthy beasts at bay with my cumbersome sandals and a few (panicky) yells. Someone inside one of the houses on the road was shouting at the dogs but it’s safe to say they aren’t the most obedient or disciplined creatures. They kept a distance of a metre or so when I faced them but as soon as I stopped looking at them one or two would dart in and snap at my legs, and because of my clumsy footwear walking backwards wasn’t as easy as you’d think. Thus the hounds and I had reached an impasse, broken only when a fifth dog bolted out of a yard – a black one who wasn’t as reluctant to get stuck in as the rest. He got a bit too close and I really definitely was worried. Then inexplicably one or two paid attention to the unseen person yelling out and within moments they had dispersed. I was left alone on the dusty road muttering ‘dogs! fucking dogs!” to myself incredulously.

I went about my business and on my way back called in on the Anglicare workshop down the hill, where beardy Dave from Cape York supplied me with some dog repellent – ie a spare bit of thick poly pipe that made a nice whoosh sound as I swung it a few times. I was on guard on my way home but nonetheless the only warning I had was the scratch of claws on the bitumen – and behind me were another three or four of them about to snap at me! Thankfully the dog repellent worked. It worked again this morning – on the same pack that had a go at me the first time! The boys who mind the gate at the compound weren’t far away and with a few of us around the pack scarpered behind a fence. The  boys seemed more amused than concerned when I explained that asde dispela dok olgeta laik paitim mi, not maliciously I am sure but I’m certain I look pretty foolish with my dog repellant. I was told that they didn’t like my stick. “They didn’t like me yesterday without the fucking stick!” was all I could reply.

I’m not sure how this is going to work out in the long term but the situation is already a bit tiresome. I’ve been told that payback compensation will be offered if I get bitten – if an owner steps forward to claim responsibility that is. Just because you see them in someone’s yard doesn’t mean the residents own the dog! Someone mentioned that a while ago the dogs were out of control, prompting some Highlanders to take matters into their own hands. As a result I’m having fantasies about upgrading my dog repellent to a bush knife or a slingshot of some kind but I’m not sure how much I’m up for an all-out bloodbath on my own street. I doubt I’d impress my new neighbours when they see me holding a dog’s head in one hand and a bloody bush knife in the other screaming dispela longlong dok bilong husait motherfuckers!!!!???

Nah. Probably not a good look.

3 Responses to “Dok bilong Moresby.”

  1. 1 Albion October 6, 2008 at 12:08 am

    No, probably not a good look. Maybe it be time to start using a cane or some solid piece of wood in the vein of a nice hiking stick….(Maybe with a woosh maker on the end?)

  2. 2 CRANKY October 6, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Dog update – the ringleader dog’s name is ‘Sexi’, which of course the animal is anything but. Haven’t seen much of her lately so maybe things have been resolved… hmmm.

  3. 3 kickknees October 6, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    as k.r. wheen would say: full on.

    animal confrontations in stanmore are, needless to say, a touch less intimidating. feline instead of canine in this instance. this morning i booted stella out of the bedroom for incessant bed-clawing (her usual morning demand to be fed) and locked her in the back of the house with the back-door open. an hour or so i later i heard cat-squawking and leapt out of bed to find mighty the tabby from next door (who is not mighty in the slightest) in the house eating stella’s food. he bolted at the sight of me, and in my heroic bravery i chased him all the way out into the backyard. i tried to console stella and she hissed violently at me. how inconsiderate of these two animals, why the fuck can’t they just get on, sort out their problems in an adult way.

    in comparison to your confrontation, i feel like an obese parent separating obsese siblings, or like a psychologist trying to ameliorate a breaking marriage. time for another soy piccolo and an afternoon colonic.

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