Monday, June 14, 2010

A Bad Week for Mikalis, and for us, and for a puppy...

Crete seems to be a place of extremes, on one hand you have magnificent beauty and humbling kindness, and on the other extreme there’s greed, ugliness and unbelievable cruelty. So now I’m going to tell you about the week my builder has had, and the week we have had.

So, as you can see by the pictures here we’re reaching the stage where the electrics need to be installed prior to the interior walls being rendered. I already knew of an English electrician in Makrigialos who would do the job, but he’d told me that it would be three weeks before he was free. Mikalis informed me that he had an electrician who would look at the job and if his quote was okay he would start the following Wednesday. For an easy life I said to get him in for said quote. That weekend, the day before this electrician was to turn up, the English one called me up. I’d screwed up. Things had been so busy that I hadn’t realised that nearly three weeks had passed since I’d spoken to him. I had to apologise profusely and say that I had someone else in. Foolishly, because those Mikalis has had in for work have all been good, I didn’t forsee any problems with the coming quote. There were problems, it was an obvious out-and-out rip-off number. Even with the guy being on a hundred a day,for four days, the figures simply did not add up. Most likely that Greek calculation for ‘rich English’ was employed: think of what you want and double it.

I now had to eat humble pie and phone up the English electrician, fully prepared for him to tell me to fuck off. ‘Ah, you got a Greek quote,’ said he, then came up, looked at the work, and delivered a quote more in the range I expected – neither too high nor too low. I said he’d got the job and paid over part of the price so he could buy the materials. He drove to Ierapetra to buy the required wiring, plugs, fuse box etc. We knew this because he phoned to ask about leaving the stuff at our house. However, he got us on Caroline’s mobile because we were in Sitia that day, shopping.

This was also a day that Mikalis and his workers did not turn up, which was odd – he was normally here at 7.30 punctually every morning six days a week. I assumed he’d got a hangover and left it at that. Then, whilst we were in Sitia, I checked my phone and noted a missed call from Mikalis. I phoned him and, upon hearing that he’d had a bad day, jokily asked if he’d had too much raki the night before. No, his wife was in Agios Nikolias hospital and he was there with her. He then went on to inform me that I must stop my English electrician coming because if he does the Greek electrician along with other Greek electricians is going to cause big problems. I wasn’t sure whether these problems were tax related or whether they were going to come here and beat up my guy.

Not wanting any problems, and unable to talk face-to-face with Mikalis because, quite obviously, he wouldn’t be coming for a while, we decided on a course of action. We drove over to see the English electrician, paid him for the materials he’d bought and gave him an extra 50 Euros because he’d been pissed about. He seemed to accept that and agree that avoiding problems was the best course, though whether privately he thinks I’m a prat I don’t know.

That was Tuesday. On Thursday Mikalis arrived and I managed to talk to him. His wife was now back at their house with people looking after her. The Greek electrician was now nothing to Mikalis and, because it was through him that this problem arose, he was getting another electrician in who he would help, and he would pay the difference in price to the English electrician’s quote. Okay, fair enough.

Anyway, whilst I was learning all this, I noticed a little black and white puppy following one of the builders up and down the ramp to the ruin whilst he was pushing a wheelbarrow. I thought a stray had arrived (there’s too many of them here). Yes and no. Mikalis has a couple of dogs and apparently his mother wanted one. He saw this puppy abandoned at the side of the road and picked it up that day. Lovely little thing, all waggy tail and licking your hands, and it would sit on command, which was surprising.

Okay, some of you might like to stop reading now, especially those who turn away from RSPCA adverts or find Animal Hospital too traumatic. You’ve been warned.

Now, whilst Mikalis and crew were working, the puppy was happily wandering around with them until it wandered off a little way. Caroline and I were inside the house, mostly. Next thing we knew there was an uproar outside. I saw Mikalis charging down the path to a nearby house, hammering on the door and shouting. He managed to switch to his broken English to say to us, ‘Find dog!’ My immediate assumption was that one of the kids nearby had thrown a rock at it and it had run off, injured. It’s a pastime they enjoy with the village cats.

No, it was much worse than that.

A septic little cunt in this village had, allegedly, decided it might be fun to soak the puppy with something like petrol and set fire to it. I have to say allegedly even though there was only this shit and his little brother in the relevant part of the village, and puppies don’t spontaneously combust.

We found the dog, hiding in another nearby building. Mikalis wasn’t sure what to do, maybe some Betadine on the burns. I told him it needed to go into water, now. I used a bottle of cold water from the fridge and also filled up a bucket with a hose pipe and we dunked the puppy in that. It screamed, of course. We finally wrapped it in a wet cloth and brought it to our terrace. It got up and ran into our house, hiding in some bags under our spare bed. Terrified, in agony, stinking of burnt fur. Mikalis called the vet in Sitia, but he wasn’t there. Caroline called our nearby English neighbours – just outside the village – and Terry, the wife of the couple, immediately came over. She was very good. She managed to get the puppy out from under the bed – I didn’t want to grab it for fear of hurting it – sat it on her lap and put Lanocane on the burns. We then put the puppy in a box with towels and cloths for it to bury itself in. Terry then gave us directions to the vet in Ierapetra.

This was an hour-and-a-half drive. We first drove down to Makrigialos where we saw Jacko, a Dutch guy we know, walking down the road for his carafe of wine. We stopped and told him, mainly because he has dogs and almost certainly knew the location of the Ierapetra vet, which we were vague about. He got in the car and directed us there.

The vet used some sort of antibiotic powder on the burns, injected both antibiotics and a pain killer, then provided us with antibiotic pills, painkillers and cream. We brought the puppy back here to look after it for as long as necessary – if it survived – before Mikalis took it to his mother. Terry returned to find out how things were and, at that time, the subhuman village child, who had been in hiding all the while, showed his face out of the door to his house. Mikalis immediately began shouting at him, then rushed down to catch him and ... well, it was most satisfying, but nowhere near enough. That evening Caroline and I also had a go at the little cunt. The parents of this monster finally turned up at about 8 or 9 in the evening, and we told them what their little darling had done. Whether they are doing anything about it I don’t know. My guess is that they’re keeping their heads down until this all blows over, and that the child his planning his next animal torture session.

Friday Morning, Early.

The puppy is sleeping now, mostly, when not whimpering. She’s drunk water and drunk evaporated milk. This morning we haven’t had a chance to give her any pills because she hasn’t eaten anything. Mikalis is here and he will be going to have a word with the parents. I decided, last night, that if this puppy dies I will grab that village child, drag him up here, rub his face in the corpse whilst asking him if he likes it, in Greek, then I’ll make him carry it down to his parent’s garden and bury it. That’s if he doesn’t have some unfortunate accident on the way, you know, like falling into that large prickly pear cactus beside the path.

Monday Morning.

A traumatic weekend, of course. It’s very difficult to put on the cream the vet provided but now we’re there – I dribble it onto the burns whilst she is asleep. I also put aloe vera cream on the less serious burns. After some initial problems getting the pills down her I now wrap them in a piece of soft cheese, then hold her mouth open while Caroline inserts cheese and pill to the back of her tongue, then I hold it closed until she swallows. She’s now eating solid food – sardines in oil were the first success – and has managed to walk about a bit. She’s also well enough to complain about her pain. She also often wags her tail when she sees us, which is amazing, considering the pain we keep causing her whilst treating her. I still don’t know if she’ll survive – one infection and that’ll be it – nor do I know if she’ll ever see out of her right eye.


chrisheli said...

Bloody hell what the hell is wrong with some people!
I wish you well with the subsequent care, it will take quite some time.
How old was the boy and has he actually admitted to the crime?
Do the police care?

Just when you think you have problems,something worse always comes along to make you realise it wasn't quite so bad before.

Jebel Krong said...

hmmm kids these days - same everywhere, though - i blame the parents, who so often don't teach or watch their kids properly... hope the little bastard gets what's coming to him.

the ability of animals to bounce back from trauma never ceases to amaze me though.

the other thing to take away from your post is that the greek problems will never go away whilst they practise such rampant protectionsim - it never works forever, and causes more problems than it solves.

Scott Marlowe said...

I'm an eye for an eye sort of person. Set the kid on fire and see how he likes it. Thank you for taking care of the dog. Very sick what some people will do. Unfortunately, if the kid will do that to a dog, only a matter of time before he grows up and starts doing it to people.

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

a guy i know shot animals until he had his hand blown off and knew pain. animals have nerves. duh. took him a while.
hell isn't an invisible place under the earth.

my pal who was on the greek mainlaind was constantly buffering swindles by people who complained how their 'brothers' had lousy jobs. i guess lousy jobbers can do some damage too.

Jimmy Devine said...

That seals it Neil, you and I would get along very well, here's hoping the little one pulls through, and that little shit finds out what burns feel like. Bravo mate.

Jimmy Devine said...

That seals it Neil, you and I would get along very well, here's hoping the little one pulls through, and that little shit finds out what burns feel like. Bravo mate.

Unknown said...

I'd watch the sick little fuck. Proper psycho in the making. Needs putting down.

Best of luck with the pup. And luck it will be, hopefully the dry Greek air will lower the chance of infection.

paulb said...

you must have the patience of a saint Neal, I would have lamped the little bastard.

positive thoughts to the pup though, hope it pulls through.

Wrathex said...

My best of wishes with the healing of the puppy.

Humans are capable of extreme cruelty, I admit, I don't understand it at all.

Bad parenting is ground zero when it comes to creating sadists, rapists, murderers and psychopaths.

The day humanity realises just how crucial parenting is to the welfare and future of human society has not arrived yet.

Parents must take responsibility for the actions of their minor children and the law should reflect this and enforce it.

The big debate about the right to pro-create is nearing as populations swell and resources become rare, it's an ethical and moral issue we should all be thinking about and take very seriousely.

loggerag2002 said...

You are a good person. Name him after one of your war drones. Make sure you have a snot nosed little brat get massacared in your next book.

Mark T Croucher said...

Get it big and strong. Then train it to attack the little fucker on sight. Should be poetic justice.

Anonymous said...

Good on you Neal,Not many would take her back and look after her.Your top bloke.Fingers crossed she gets stronger.You and Caroline take good care.

Andrew said...

That's fucking awful, well done to you for showing compassion to the dog.

I have never been able to understand how people inflict harm on others (human or animal).

Hopefully you will see the puppy recover.

The kid will probably grow up to be a sociopath too.

andy brown said...

Keep us updated Neal. And I'll say this:

1. I hate to tell you, it's your dog now... :) Too much love to let it go.

2. I shouldn't have read it cause I'm all sad and angry now.

3. I have 5 cats (I love dogs but work too much to be able to support them they) and we never let them outide on their own. Too many freaks out there. I eat meat, but you gotta respect animals.

3. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL THE COMPUTERS TAKE OVER!!!!

Thud said...

Not sure what to say....puppy aside veiled threats are not my cup of tea...not a place for me I'm afraid.

Xanares said...

First thanks a lot for a very informative couple of posts about Crete - I actually spoke with a Greek friend of mine about moving there at a later date. He says it's the best part of Greece.

Now about this fire-kid... If he's young enough I think the behavioural pattern can be broken, as it is almost definitely caused by parental neglect or worse. I've seen kids to a lot of cruel shit, but never anyone who actually hurt a fucking puppy like this... so might be too late for diplomacy.

Hope for the best for her, and good luck with the electrics.

dnvrdreamer said...

Goodness, gracious I just do not know what to say. Although you Neal are now blessed to have the opportunity to apply the Bodhisattva principle to this creature, do I mean the dog or the boy? Be Well Keep up the excellent work............
A fan in Colorado

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

all power to you Neal.Thud these arent the forgotten children like so many liberals like to suggest these are thugs that would do the same to any pensioner.The only way to stop them doing what they do is to humiliate these thugs in public.

Thud said...

Mr wish to humiliate Greek builders?...well as an English builder I can only say good luck to you and be well insured.

Anonymous said...

Thud, was refering to the teenager that set the puppy on fire...Greek builders?..ok thanks for tip.

Thud said...

Mr Sullivan...the puppy burners are beyond I didn't.