I have been a non-practicing Catholic for a long time. It started in the mid-80s, when I was in church with my eldest son who was then just a toddler. Everything was going fine until the celebrant/priest started talking about who to vote for in the upcoming elections. Being one who until now believes in the separation of church and state, I stood up and walked out of his sermon, toddler in tow. From then on I only set foot in a church if someone was about to be baptized, married or buried.

I don’t know if this is psychologically sound, allowing single incidents to ruin my relationships with religion and bakeshops. I know this does not extend to my relationships with actual people, as I have disappointed and been disappointed by several people (hey, i was once in a marriage that tasted like very bad paksiw for 19 years before I decided to get out) but that didn’t deter me from keeping people around me. When you’re a mother you don’t have a choice.

But today I have been seriously considering multiple murder, a virtual massacre of both human- and canine-kind. Our landlord and landlady (landpeople?) have 20 dogs, give or take a mutt. This apparently is to compensate for the lack of grandchildren, as their kids are thoroughly enjoying singleness. If you listened to them without looking you’d think they were talking to little kids when they romp around with the dogs.

Fact is, I’m having a bit of a problem with them already, as there was one afternoon when Mrs. Landlady told me to have Maia put her shoes on so she could play with the puppies that they had let loose on the grounds. There they were pooping and peeing and she wanted my little girl to get down and play with them, as if they were next door neighbor’s kids!

Just this morning, as my 12-year-old was on his way out to school, we didn’t know that Mr. Landlord had let loose the german shepherd and was playing a game of fetch with it. This german shepherd is about six months old, which means it’s almost at its full height & weight but still with the “playfulness” of a puppy. This GSD could easily pin down a slight-of-build 12-year-old kid and it may have happened, had I not ran out to intervene.

For some reason I hold no fear of dogs of any kind, but I could not for the life of me pass on this lack of fear to my kids. It’s not like a stick.

Mr. and Mrs. Landlord made no move to collar their wayward pup, but they kept calling out to it like it was a one-year-old child who could heed his grandparents. This dog had never been through any training, formal or otherwise, and I saw no reason why it could not have knocked my son to the ground. It was barking incessantly at my son who was now immobile. But it stopped when I stood in front of it, pointed a finger at it’s nose and growled “Bantay lang jud ka…” which in Cebuano is a clear threat that implied anything between maiming and murder.

Mr. & Mrs. Landlord quickly stepped in and grabbed the GSD by the collar, as if to sheild him from the damage I might inflict on him. I took this opportunity to escort my son to the gate, open it so he could go out to the road and catch a ride to school. Behind me I could hear their usual assurances not to worry, the dog had had his shots anyway… the dog, always the dog, no thought at all for my human son.

When I turned around I willed myself not to look at either Mr or Mrs Landpeople. They would have dropped dead if they had seen the look in my eyes, because at that moment I really had murder in my heart.

Murder in my heart

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