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人犬情未了


□ Mona Chung-Chao

  译/陈兆娟
  
  My dog Coffee is a little black-and-brown Australian terrier. He’s not a particularly bright or obedient2) dog. He’s not even especially loyal. He comes when I call him only if he feels like it or if I have food in my hand. He confuses every command I give him and has no inkling3) when I’l upset or injured, so there would be no chance of him ever rescuing me from a perilous4) situation like the smart dogs you often read about.
  But I’l the first to admit that a big part of the problem with Coffee’s attitude5) is his upbringing: he’s spoilt rotten. My dad is the biggest culprit6). While Dad can instil7) fear in my sister and me just by the tone of his voice, I have never heard him raise his voice at Coffee — no matter how naughty he is. In fact, one look from Coffee at the biscuit tin is enough to send my dad flying to get him a snack. Whenever we protest about the unfair treatment, a guilty smirk8) creeps across Dad’s face. It’s become a long-standing family joke that Coffee is the closest thing to9) a son Dad will ever have.
  Then, five years ago, our lives were turned upside down10) when Dad suffered two major strokes in the space of11) a month, caused by a massive brain haemorrhage12). At the time he was in Hong Kong on business and, luckily, my Mum and sister were with him. I was in Melbourne, studying at university, but left Coffee with a relative and hopped on the first plane as soon as I heard the news.
  Unfortunately, the prognosis13) wasn’t good and the doctors told us that, most likely, Dad would not pull through14). For four long months it was touch and go15) as he remained unconscious in intensive care. Mentally he was non-responsive. However, physically he was still able to move and would frequently thrash16) about trying to pull out the vital tubes that were keeping him alive. Within a 30-minute period, he would make an average of five attempts. His movements were often swift and strong and we had to take turns standing by his bedside, on guard, to protect him. We were exhausted after every “shift” but grateful, despite the doctor’s warning, that he was still alive.
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