I Have Created a Hamster

Koldbrann had a big day the other day. First we walked to Shap Long (pronounced Sap Long), about 40 minutes away. It’s a place I let Koldbrann off the leash as there are few cars; in fact our unleashed walks have been getting longer and longer. Everything was going well, it was all sniff sniff, wag wag tail, have a perfunctory sniff of passing dogs, all good. Suddenly he gave a short bark and crashed into the underbrush of a dense thicket. The last I saw of him was him streaking like a comet after some kind of smaller animal – possibly an un-great Dane. Oh, no. Only two months ago he could hardly run at all, having never tried it. Why did I have to go and insist on him “experiencing a normal dog’s life”?

I called and looked, looked and called. Walked half the way back to the beach, then walked back. Koldbrann, you rust-coloured bastard! Why was he doing this to me after all I’d done for him? I had to go to work! I had people coming to my house! But what if something had happened? What if he’d been bitten by a snake and was now writhing in agony? Speared through the chest by out-sticking branch? Foot torn off by razor-sharp rock?

Come on. Nothing’s going to happen to him; he’s built like a bloody tank.
Last week I had remarked that he looks like Bob Hoskins, but that’s not right. Bulldogs look like Bob Hoskins. No, my Koldbrann looks more like Vinnie Jones in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels…

Juggling the various plans of action in my head, like putting up those pathetic “Have you seen this dog” posters, I finally went home.

When I got to the house, Koldbrann was standing outside, grinning.

Later that day I took him on his maiden walk to Mui Wo. It would be good to kill two walks with one purpose. But as well as never having run before I got him, Koldbrann had obviously also never been in a car. When I tried to get him into the taxi, he dug his claws into the concrete so there were long and smoking grooves. I tell you, that boy could pull a tractor out of quicksand.

In the end I had to Cesar Millan him into submission by just willing him into the car. It worked. The taxi driver was unusually kind and didn’t complain. Normally Lantau taxi drivers hate dogs more than normal dog-haters do. But this driver had a good explanation: normally when a Lantau dog gets into a taxi, it’s because it’s just been to the vet and had something awful done to it, making it go on to puke in the car. So if you’re on Lantau with your dog and you for example want to take a taxi to my house and play some cards, make sure you tell the taxi driver that your dog won’t puke! And hope it doesn’t.

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