Engkaw, the Limping Dog
The role of pets in our lives
How a pet become an "angel" to us.
Pets lighten our day and sometimes, if not often, and without us foreseeing, they have "significant" mission into our lives. I saw this limping dog walking fearfully down the street yesterday, and he reminded me of Dad's story of Engkaw; his story attests to to the preceding premise.
The sun had not shown up yet from the high and mountainous horizon afar when my Dad started his way off to the wood. It was one of those leisurely summers in his youth, long before I was born, when this story happened.
Just before bed in my childhood, my Dad used to tell his experiences to us, his three siblings; and this story about Engkaw lingers on in me especially when I see a limping dog.
My Dad was the City Assessor during this time and was living with Mom in their lucrative home in the City; but he had a farm which he entrusted to a trustworthy tenant. Every summer Mom and Dad would spend vacation for a week or two in that beautiful farm. He told us so many fond memories in that farm and Engkaw was one of those significant, if not the most remarkable memory he ever had in that farm.
The word Engkaw is a local word for limp; Engkaw was a tiny native dog and was just a puppy when my Dad picked him one summer ago on the path way some 50 meters away from their farm house. The puppy was very weak, lame, hungry and having difficulty in breathing when my Dad found him; and worse, my Dad noticed that the puppy must have been beaten mercilessly because one of its front leg was swelling and was rotting badly; it had to be cut off eventually.
But that was a year ago. This summer of my Dad's visit, Engkaw welcomed him Mom energetically. He looked very happy and healthy despite the missing front leg and the limping and leaping combination.
"Alipio, be careful with snakes." My Mom was warning my Dad as she handed him his lunch pack; it was dawn when Dad was starting for the wood which was located some 10 miles away. She also handed him a compass inside the pack bag. My Dad had to carry separately the axe and other heavy things that he will use for that adventure day.
He was not 100 meters away from the house when he realized that Engkaw was tailing him. He then shooed him away for home; he didn't want to take along a limping tiny dog; he figured 10 miles would be a long walk for him; but no matter how my Dad tried, Engkaw won't badge.
Some hours later, and about after lunch at past 12:00, my Dad was already about to finalize cutting the tree that he had started earlier; he would use it for some project that he was contemplating to do while in that vacation. Engkaw was watching him; sometimes he also limped around while barking at times to anything that caught his attention. In no sooner though, an accident happened; the tree that my Dad was cutting was heavily entangled with vines so that when it was finally cut it swung so hard and boomeranged strongly towards his direction. It was too late for my Dad to realize his stupid act and its consequence; so he was hit hardly by the trunk right on his head on the right ear area; the impact broke his skull and instantly made him comatose. He was bleeding profusely and blood was oozing fast from his broken skull and ears while he was lying "dead" on his own blood; unconscious and "dead" in the middle of nowhere where only Engkaw was the sole witness and companion. Engkaw must have licked his face and skull in which my Dad presumed later that his saliva must have lowered the intensity of the bleeding.
It was late afternoon and Mom was fidgetty; worried and panicky she summoned the tenant who also called other farmers to look for my Dad in the wood. She didn't know the exact location where Dad went, and the wood was a vast area. Then at around 5:00 in the early evening Engkaw arrived, tired but fidgety; Mom was nervous upon realizing that Engkaw was alone and especially when she noticed some dried blood on his furs. Engkaw must have rolled over my Dad's side where blood from his skull spilled around his body as he lied there unconsciously.
Mom was screaming as she saw Engkaw bloodied; terror overwhelmed her and could not think of a reason; she just screamed in asking the dog where his master was. But Engkaw, tired he may be but as fidgety too; in his dog manner that my Mom could perceive, he conveyed an invitation to follow him. My Mom then called the tenant's wife who also called forest guards and other help before she and some company nervously followed Engkaw; who was now acting strange.
It was around 8:00 in the dark night in that woodland when my Dad's body was finally rescued; he was airlifted to the hospital in the city. The City was some 15 miles away and he could have died on the way if not for the airport first aid facilities for emergency such as this; Dad's farm was less than a mile away from the airport.
Doctors were confused on my Dad's condition, they said that he would have been completely dead were he not found another hour; he was technically dead but he was still warm...and for all those hours; nobody in his right mind, and even science could explain why he could still be alive. But he was alive; some pulse beats were showing. My Dad was confined to the hospital and was comatose for three months afterwards and when he came to, it was Engkaw he was looking for. He and Mom stayed two years in the farm for the complete recovery of Dad. My Dad's right face was paralyzed and his eyes won't blink for a year and he looked scary; he had to isolate himself from people including colleagues and friends. Only Mom and close relatives can see him, and of course Engkaw too.
Modern medicines and cosmetics, though expensive, and his determination to live; finally brought him back to "normal" or at least to having a normally functional life. The story telling was actually triggered when I asked my Dad why he was occasionally blinking on his right eye.
We never know what is going to happen to us; sometimes "an angel" come to our lives in various forms, it could be a person or an animal in need.