The Final Days of a Tropical Dog

Meet the new dog (left). Less fearsome than the old dog. I would object to the crime against good taste and the dignity of our new friend, Corisco, represented by those doggie pyjamas, but the nephew (right) is too young to know better.

We are working on a sad business transaction today.

Our German shepherd has a brain tumor and is no longer in any condition to carry on menacing potential bandidos, or doing other things that she enjoys, such as downloading her olfactory e-mails from the Internet of dogs.

She wakes up howling in pain and confusion in the middle of the night, falls down constantly, and bonks her head against the wall inadvertently.

The advice I am giving my wife, who is obviously somewhat devastated at the decision she has to make, is not to let the local veterinarians exploit her emotional desperation.

The beast is comfortable at the moment in her quartinho, on her pile of blankets, getting plenty of mimos and kind words. We can take a deep breath and think this through.

So it falls to me to call around and get comparative price quotes on the service: general anaesthesia, a humane and rapid-acting lethal injection, disposal of the remains at the city crematorium. Maybe some memorial paw prints. The beast does have lovely feet.

Prices quoted are varying wildly. As in some 100%, based on the quotes I have so far.

A fact that the local consumer protection agency, PROCON-SP, might be interested in.

Procon regularly does price surveys and places items in the paper about how, say, school supplies are priced in various parts of the São Paulo metro area.

The price spreads can be brutal. Which probably explains why the 25 de Março — São Paulo’s Acropolis of Sino-Paraguayan discount goods of dubious provenance — continues to throng with shoppers.

Coming as it does after the untimely demise last year of the miscreant but wickedly charming and eternally optimistic Zé Branquinho — when the malandro vira-lata, all dressed in white and bearing a permanent boner, was skulking around, you had best keep a close eye on your churrasco — the day’s business is being conducted in a spirit of melancholy commemoration.

This is definitely the end of an era.

Come to think of, one of our favorite New York dogs also recently left the building.

His name was Elvis.

He was nothing — no more, no less — but a hound dog.

That day Elvis took off down the beach at Fire Island with a string of the neighbors’ sausages in his mouth, flailing along in his wake, like Emerson Fittipaldi putting the pedal to the metal, will long be remembered by all and sundry.

The pudgy neighbor running after him in his apron with one of those tacky K-Mart BBQ-chef sayings on it — “Bless this mess!” — red-faced and brandishing an outsized sausage fork.

One of the funniest dog-darn things I ever saw in my life.

True story.




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