White Dog

I’ve titled this story after the name of a neighboring boy’s dog in Thailand.  I don’t know if it relates to the meaning of the dog pictured in the Tarot card on the home page of this journal or not but here is my best shot at explaining what happened to that dog.  This dog’s name was just that — white dog — for the obvious reason that he was just another Thai cur with white hair.  And, from the moment I and my tribe of Burmese kids moved into a Thai village farm house, this animal was at our door step night and day begging for food.  Before long, he was following us on our bike rides across the countryside and became a constant companion of sorts.  Indeed, when we moved to the next village about five kilometers distant, he ran away from his own home and became resident at ours.  We couldn’t get him to return to his master, the boy next door, or to stop following us on our bike rides.  At times, I thought he identified with me as his ‘alter ego’ — if this is at all possible, I don’t know.  He was one of those dogs that thought it was a person.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say white dog represented my own ‘animal desires’ at the time in Thailand as the explanation of the Tarot card says it does.  If I do accept this interpretation, though, I have to explain how I came to renounce my worldly thoughts and desires — as a sannyasa would do — in an act of self-sacrifice on the dog’s part and as a rejection of worldly society on my part.  The story goes like this:

I and two of the children living with me at the farm house were off on a bicycle trip across the countryside to the school where I worked at the time.  It was a Saturday and we were making a visit to school so I could use the internet.  Of course, white dog decided to follow us as always.  He had developed a bad habit of running into the road without stopping to look both ways as dogs will do.  We had to cross the 4-lane highway that runs in front of the school gate.  As fate would have it, white dog ran in front of a Thai pickup truck which ran into him.  It was a typical event — I suppose — for those times when ‘dog meets motor vehicle’.

Luckily for the kids and me, there was no bloody scene or mess to view and we weren’t on the road ourselves although it was a bit of a shock to see it happen right in front of us.  White dog just passed out as though he had gone to sleep peacefully and I laid his body on the highway divider.  By the time we returned to the gate on the way home, his body had already disappeared.

I will never know if someone removed it or if he actually had just been knocked out and decided to get up and walk away.  In any event, we never saw him again.  I will leave it to the reader to make ‘heads or tails’ out of this story and to decide whether or not it bears upon the story about the Tarot card, the Fool, who represents me, the author of this journal about my pilgrim’s journey — funny how both words share the same ‘root’.  My own ‘take’ on this — in hindsight, mind you — is that the child pictured at left represents my inner self quite accurately.  I would like to think of myself now as the child pictured here — safely asleep upon the back of the loyal servant here.  He reminds me of white dog and how he looked the last time I saw him.  It’s a good picture to convey what I understand — “I have made peace with my animal desires and they serve me as a ‘comforter’, much as the dog serves the child here as a ‘soft mattress’.  My own desires are asleep most of the time although I can always summon them when needed — like calling the dog — to serve me in situations I encounter on my Fool’s Journey.

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