My first dog was a Doberman Pinscher called Cash. I have no recollection of him. I was only a baby but I grew up with one particular story about Cash.
In 1969 my dad relocated to Malaysia for work and in KL that year, he purchased Cash, a “grown and well-trained dog”. He was about five years old already but very “lean and healthy” and accompanied my dad on his morning runs in the park just outside our house. He was a very obedient dog, always following behind. Even one time when my dad left the garden behind him, Cash immediately dashed back behind.
Cash was trained to be an outside dog. He never once entered the house, no matter how my parents insisted and tried to get him past the door. No matter what the weather was like. My dad relented and asked the landlord to put a tarp in the backyard for shelter, which Cash happily made his home.
From my dad:
One day, I was out and your mother was alone in the front garden with you, only a few months old. Suddenly, a few huge, at least two, big men came crashing into the yard. Before they could act or talk, Cash showed his teeth and barked at them. So fearful both men retreated and were gone in a second. In a way he saved your life.
This is the story from my parents. I don’t know if the men meant any harm but Cash didn’t give them any time to act on it. He took his job protecting us seriously. And to those who think that an older dog cannot adjust to a new home or bond with a new family, Cash is proof that dogs are amazingly adaptable.
My dad often speaks of Cash, still. To him, this is the one dog he will never forget. Not only because in his eyes, Cash protected his family when he was not there, but he really was a great companion to my dad and no doubt gave him much joy.
When my parents left a few years later, my dad made the difficult choice and rehomed Cash with an Australian with other dogs. As much as my dad loved Cash, he felt Hong Kong in the 70s was no home for a big dog, especially when he had a chance to live in a nice house with space and other companions.
I think of Cash, from time to time. He was my first dog. I didn’t know him but he was a huge part of my life for a while. He is five years older than me and of course there’s no way he is still alive now.
I think about how he felt when he was given up again. Cash was a sensitive dog. I remember how my dad said that Cash ran away after my dad opened the car door and accidentally hit his head. I don’t know what kind of life he had before us and he might have thought he was being punished for something. Cash returned days later, covered in dirt.
I wonder how he adjusted to his new home, with the other dogs. I hope he finally found a forever home where he felt as secure as he made us feel. I wish he could have stayed with us but in the heart of my heart which still aches for his loss, I do believe that Hong Kong was not right for him, for his gentle soul. Hong Kong didn’t have the space nor the dog-loving culture that is still growing there today.
I hope he lived a long happy life.