You may remember that last time we talked about the first furpets The Help had when she left home.
At that point The Boss came along and life began to change a little bit. You may remember that they went away for a year leaving Jason with a friend and Chaucer with family.
Here is where they went:
First they went to live in Bangladesh and then they moved to Afghanistan. They didn’t getting any furpals in Bangladesh, unless you can count the huge cockroaches which The Help certainly didn’t want in the house!
They knew they were only going to live in Kabul for a year so they didn’t intend to get any pets. The Boss really didn’t know The Help that well if he thought that was going to work!
Walking past a flower shop one day she saw a parrot in a tiny cage. For some reason she felt so sorry for the parrot and asked the man if it was for sale, he shrugged and named a price which didn’t seem a lot to The Help but which she learnt later was about ten times the price of parrots in the market nearby!
The main difference was however, as she told The Boss, was that their parrot was healthy and didn’t die after a week which tended to happen to those bought at the market. They named him Mango and after a great deal of patience they encouraged Mango out of his tiny cage and on discovering his wings were clipped, they bought a stand for him to live on.
Mango used to love The Boss, he liked riding on his shoulder and sharing his bacon and porridge for breakfast. For some reason he used to just sit on his stand and give the death glare to The Help which she thought was very ungrateful of him considering she had rescued him!
One day when The Boss was seeing if Mango would like some fresh air in the garden, the bird shocked The Boss by spreading his wings and flying a few metres. Unfortunately this took him over the wall into the neighbour’s garden. The Boss ran to the wall and saw Mango come to rest inches away from the neighbours boxer dog. Fortunately the dog was so shocked and a little elderly so The Boss was able to sprint around and into the garden and rescue Mango before it got messy!
One night they were invited over to a friends house and told that they had a present. The Help was intrigued, her birthday wasn’t for weeks. When they arrived there they were horrified to be presented with a puppy. Don’t get me wrong, The Help fell in love instantly with this puppy, but they knew they weren’t staying in Kabul very long and they couldn’t take him back to the UK. America didn’t have the tight quarantine regulations that the UK had. This family already had an Afghan hound who wasn’t too happy to have this puppy in the house so they were anxious to find another home for him.
They were told the story. The couple had been driving through Kabul when they saw this small white puppy running across the road and just miss being hit by a car. They stopped and picked it up. They looked to see if they could see any evidence of it’s mother or anyone who might be searching for it but could see no-one. So they had no choice but to take it home.
The Help and The Boss listened to the story and applauded the family for rescuing the dog but explained the many reasons why they just couldn’t take him. Their decision was accepted and they sat outside in the garden nibbling on crackers and watching the two kids pull the puppy, drop the puppy, dump the puppy in a vat of water and generally do things that should never be done to a little fellow. Did the parents let their kids run riot on purpose? We shall never know but the outcome was that after watching this for half an hour they looked at each other and knew they couldn’t leave this little guy, they had to take him home. So they did.
They called him Pashtu and he quickly grew into a loving, bright and special pal.
When they first got him he was still only lapping, within a week or so he began to chew and from then on he thrived. The local people referred to him as a ‘ditch’ dog. I suppose our equivalent of a mongrel. He was gorgeous apparently (although I am sure he couldn’t have been as wonderful as me!). He was a little like a Maremma.
Being an only furball he had a lot of toys. During the winter there was a lot of snow on the ground which didn’t bother Pashtu, he was made for snow with a thick double coat and hairy pads to grip the ice.
Every morning in the winter he would go out and dig up his toys. He would carry them to the middle of the garden and then check that no-one was watching. Then he would take each one and bury them in a new place to be dug up the next day!
He would drive out on the weekends with The Help and it caused people endless amusement to see a dog in the car! Pashtu would sit up like a king, sometimes in the front, sometimes in the back.
The cold never really bothered him but he used to like to sit with The Help close to their one paraffin heater at night. One night The Boss commented on the funny smell in the room. They looked around and down and suddenly realised that Pashtu’s beautiful white feathery tail was smouldering!! It smelt awful. Fortunately they were able to stop it burning before he realised what was happening or felt any discomfort. He had a tiny brown patch in his tail for a few weeks as a reminder.
As a tiny puppy he used to love to steal the freshly washed laundry. One day The Help came back into their apartment after shopping and Pashtu shot out of the door, one of her freshly washed bras in his mouth. She chased him up the street and then suddenly became aware of people, mostly men, looking after her in amazement. Recalling that she was in an Islamic country she decided that Pashtu would have to return by himself with or without the bra. As soon as he realised she was no longer playing he returned, still with the bra in his mouth.
She put the laundry away as soon as it was done after that.
As the time came closer for them to leave it became obvious that The Help was struggling with having to leave Pashtu. They discussed with an Afghan friend the possibility of taking Pashtu home to the UK despite the quarantine issues. They were advised against it. At that time the Afghan government had become sensitive about people exporting their Afghan Hounds and he also said that he had known of animals exported without any water in their cages so that they died in transit.
None of the information they received was hopeful so they turned their attention to finding a home for him within the International community of Kabul. They found an American family who were looking for a dog. They were diplomats and had a small son who Pashtu seemed to get on with. They would be able to take him to America with him when they left. It broke The Help’s heart but she felt it was the best chance for Pashtu. She hoped he would bond with the boy and then return to the States.
Mango went to an American family too and the daughter was thrilled to have him. They had bought many a bird from the local market only to have them die and the young girl was so happy to finally have a healthy parrot.
The Boss & The Help left Afghanistan only a couple of weeks before violence erupted. As soon as The Help arrived home she wrote to the American family to find out how they were, but actually to find out how Pashtu was. The news was not what she wanted to hear.
Pashtu had run away. He didn’t have time to bond with the family before he slipped out of the gates. We have no way of knowing what happened to him. The country was never to be the same again.
Did Pashtu find his way back to their little house and did one of the Afghans who knew him take him home? The Help hopes so.
Her heart broke a little leaving Pashtu behind and when she heard he was lost she was devastated.
By now he is at the Rainbow Bridge and is one very special furball that she is hoping to see again one day.
With love from Zena, the emotional Princess