(And no, I didn't make fried dog feet!)
... but something happened that will make the animal-rights activists howl. Still thank goodness it occured to reassure me that I'm still very Pinoy.
I was worried. You see, sometime during the months since I moved here, along with the many life changes I had to survive I turned into a thing unheard of in our islands, where urban myth has it that half the time, that's cat meat you're eating in your siopao. Now I imagine the luxury of silk in flea-ridden black fur, hear sweet music in late-night meowings, and find a caress in sharp nails scratching against bare skin.
Biggest proof of my new status as cat lover are the veterinarian's bills. I brought my remaining kitty Dolly not just for spaying and regular vaccination, but also to test for cat AIDS and cat leukemia. Despite that "la rage" no longer exists in France, I opted for the anti-rabies vaccine. Just to be sure. It was robbery at 200-plus euros, but I didn't care. Anything for my baby. I actually came back for more. We rushed one day to Doctor Neiman, who smiled when she saw me, remembering the hypernervous Asian who on her last visit asked, "Do you think my cat is suffering from depression?"
I was much more dramatic this time. "Madame, help me," I cried. "Dolly has been coughing like she's choking on something. I'm afraid she's going to die." Doctor Neiman's diagnosis: not death, just hairballs stuck in the digestive system. For that, and a yummy paste to help ease our troubles, she charged 57 euros.
Dolly has a clean bill of health, so in the afternoons her friend can come to play. Gallinou, my mother-in-law's puppy, is a very frisky six-month-old. He bites Dolly's tail, eats the food in her bowl, licks to leave slobber all over her face. The cat generally takes it well, only sometimes protesting with a little meow.
I turned out to be more volatile. One day when I had just replanted my chrysanthemums, I found Dolly lying on the grass, Gallinou beside her, loaded with guilt along with the leaves and stems stuffed in his mouth. When I checked, I found that he had uprooted half of my plants. No mild meowing then. "Putangina naman, Gallinou e! Halika nga dito." I roared, "Lulutuin kita!!!"