He's dozing, the newspaper has fallen from his hand and it's spread on the floor. This is my chance to look at the pictures, because I don't know how to read. And what do I see? A big picture on the front page of a state funeral, and among those walking behind the casket - of all things - a dog. Maybe a little better groomed than I am, certainly more pedigreed, but a dog.
I was very surprised and I tried to find out some details. It turns out that it was the funeral of Prince Rainier III of Monaco, and the dog was Odin. Six year-old Odin was a gift to the prince by the Crown Council.
The good hound, leashed and led by a servant, was walking right behind the prince's personal physician and the secretary of state who was carrying a pillow with all the medals of the deceased.
Don't think I'm a simple dog. I've got some blue blood of my own, and I'm no fool.
Therefore, I'm a gal who understands the historic significance of the picture in the paper: There's no doubt that a global precedent has been set here, which will allow me, too, to accompany my prince on the road to his eternal rest. How does the old Jewish tale go - either the prince will die or the dog will die, something like that. And if he dies first, from now on I will insist on my right of protocol to take part in the ceremonies and even to bark a few words of eulogy. I'll also walk behind the personal physician, although my particular patient has several doctors.
I am not a blind devotee; I do have a certain amount of liking for him, I don't deny it, but I have some criticism too. For example, I can't stand lying at his feet, and in the middle of the night when I want to climb on to the bed and lie down next to him, he pushes me away as if he were living in sin with me to this day. I think it's his mother's fault; she didn't let him have a dog at home when he was little, because a dog makes dirt and spreads germs and disease. Shame on her.
On the other hand, I do love it when he gets irritated sometimes. For example, the fact that they continue to force-feed geese in our country. In this matter, in my opinion, he is absolutely right. You can't imagine the high-pitched sounds dogs hear. I can hear the cry of the tortured geese and it drives me crazy.
And it's not only the cry of the geese that drives me crazy. At night I hear all kinds of experimental lab animals, dogs too, Odin's and my blood relatives. And don't think for a minute that I'm not as sensitive to humans. That would not be true. But that's your responsibility.
I remember our last walk - may there be many more. We went out together to the spectacular Nitzanim dunes. My vision, at my age, is not so great, but he depends on my sense of smell. In that sense I am still a dog's dog, I haven't gone to pot. I rolled around to my heart's content in the sand and then, suddenly, I smelled danger. That's right - don't let them cheat you: This rare reserve is going to be destroyed, in spite of all the promises. Very shortly the sands will be buried by sand, and they will be gone forever.
What can I tell you? Since I saw the picture of my pal Odin, I have much more self-confidence, and yet I'm not completely sure that my private prince and his friends will manage to prevent this travesty. We'll stand there and yell, and the bulldozer will go about its destructive business.
I'm not just saying that, I have experience. We've barked plenty of times he and I, and the caravan has passed us by. Maybe this time I'll decide to bite - there's no choice. Maybe this time we'll win, for a change.
I forgot to identify myself: My name is Totta (a pretty silly name), that's what it says on my vaccination card. And really, sometimes it seems to me that I am vaccinated against everybody, and if I bite the destroyers and the despoilers, even then maybe I won't catch rabies.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now