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Mascot was the name we gave our new dog. She was the nicest dog we’ve had to-date and the most loving. She really was my Father’s pet. He was the one who took her walking and who really pampered her a great deal, smuggling little nuggets of food to her while eating, and generally spoiling her rotten. The beauty of that dog was that she took all that and still was not spoilt. We had her for nearly 14 years, which saw me through school, college and work.
She really was a darling and had the habit when hungry, to carry her food plate and come bang my Father’s knee with it. “Feed me!” could not have been louder if she had put it in words.
I remember one day my Father taking her for a walk, then a few minutes later I heard a commotion downstairs by the lift. Mascot was yelping, like she was being beaten. I called her in a panic when my Father answered and said it was OK. They came up in the lift and I asked what the matter was, why was she howling, and my very controlled Father was very shaken. He said she didn’t want to cross the road to the Nile side, managed to wiggle out of the collar of the leash and started running back home, crossing a road with many cars, and nearly got run over. When my Father caught up with her he gave her a couple of smacks on the rump so that she knew that this sort of behavior was totally unacceptable. I think the whole incident affected my Father far more than it did Mascot.
One summer, before we had our chalet, we were going to the coast for a couple of weeks, at a hotel, so we could not take Mascot with us. So the day before we left my Father took her to the doggie hotel. This was a government run shelter that took in pets for a fee, whose owners would be gone for a limited period, gave them shelter, food and medical care. It was run by an excellent Vet Dr. Farouk.
We went on vacation and I was enjoying it tremendously, except that every once in a while I worried what Mascot was going through, and if she was being properly treated.
Finally the two weeks were over and we came back to Cairo. Around 11 am I called my home to remind them to pick Mascot up from the vet’s. My Mom had answered the call, and what I got was total silence. What? What happened? Then she told me.
When my Father had taken Mascot to that shelter, the day before we went on vacation, before admitting her they gave her a medical checkup. The poor thing was riddled with cancer. We had just thought she was getting old and cranky. But no, she was very sick and in terrible pain. The Vet told my Father that it was very cruel to leave her with all that pain and recommended putting her down. She was my Father’s darling and he had to decide. He did not feel that there was actually a choice, so he waited with her till the injection she was given took effect, then half blind with grief, drove back home. He told my Mother, but they both decided not to spoil my vacation by telling me, till we came back.
I broke down and cried. I was heart broken. I was given the rest of the day off, and spent a miserable evening with my parents, holding a kind of memorial for Mascot, remembering her idiosyncrasies, her pet likes and dislikes, but mainly how loving and gentle she really was.