Mango has a good life. She is four and a bit, a proud owner of three beds (one in the lounge, one in the hallway and one in the dining room) and several toys in various stages of decomposition. She participates in two daily walks, one at seven in the morning with Daughter, and another one around the afternoon tea time with Husband and me. She has her own food in her own bowl, but favours partaking in our dinners, especially when bones and gravy are involved. I often indulge her with juicy bits falling from my plate, which she catches stealthily, thinking that I can’t see her pilfering attempts. She is loving and has adopted our family as her own pack of which she is very protective, especially when the postman comes.
But there is a dark side to Mango, albeit not of her own making. She can be a bully of littler dogs (she herself isn’t that big, but give her a Yorkie and she will tear it to shreds). She goes ballistic at the sound and sight of motorbikers, hangs herself on her lead while trying to jump them from behind and sink her teeth in their helmets. She is mortified of children (until she gets to know them) and footballs send her running for her life. On several occasions in the past she bolted and run home, crossing dangerous streets and throwing herself at the oncoming traffic because a ball was kicked within her earshot. She didn’t realise it was a football. To her it was a cannon ball, or a bullet, or a lash of a whip. She was blinded with irrational fear. That’s because Mango is a rescue dog.
We don’t know what she had been through before she landed on our shores at the age of 5 months, but that little groan whenever I hug here and squeeze her ribcage and those faint scars on her nose tell a sad story. She has put the “kill shelters” behind her and loves playing a tug-of-war. And when some bad memories come back to haunt her she hides under our bed (on my side) and feels safe. I know she feels safe because I can hear her snore.
Here is Mango’s portrait I painted on her fourth birthday. Because she is worth it.