Just a few hours earlier we had been standing on our balcony watching the neighbours garden be swept away by the typhoon. What was once a dainty vegetable patch and cute garden shed, was now laid scattered and splattered all over the road below.
Once the windows, and our nerves, had stopped violently shaking we leapt at the opportunity to leave our apartment. After a full day of Cheetos, Taiwan Gold Beer and Sharknado on loop we were more than ready for some freedom.
We scootered down to one of the sea front restaurants. Our headlights shining towards the mountain edge, which was a tangled mess of branches, rocks and mud.
And then something moved.
The branches started to twitch, but there was no hint of a breeze. They moved again. We looked at each other, confirming we were seeing the same thing. What post-typhoon monster was lurking in the bushes for us? We edged forwards when suddenly the beast leapt out from the branches.
Slumped in front of us lay an unrecognisable creature, as big as my forearm and with a matted coat of knotted brown fur. It’s red eyes, like fire, glared at us. I held my breath, waiting to see its razor sharp fangs which would surely be the end of it for us.
I counted down. 3,2,1.
A sneeze. As high pitched as a mouse and as timid as a babies laugh.
Ok, so in hindsight my vivid and overactive imagination, combined with the post-traumatic stress of the typhoon, may have contributed to some over-exaggeration. In fact, what stood before us was a very tiny, very nervous, little puppy. It stood shaking, possibly in fear of our screams, but most likely the storm. It’s big puss-in-boots eyes looked helplessly at us. It was safe to say we had fallen for this puppy, as quickly as we had been terrified of it. This was love in its purest form.
Fast forward to five hours later, it’s gone midnight and we are crouched on the kitchen floor huddled around a minuscule animal wailing like a tortured banshee. The desperation hit an all-time low when we spiked his water bowl with a few drops of whiskey. Interestingly enough, whiskey-induced sleep didn’t seem to be a thing for the pedigree type. And this was the start of a very long, very demanding and very exhausting week.
Daily doggy dramas ranged from toilet-training, deworming and lice combining. My personal highlight of the week was Bruno (the chosen name), jumping out his scooter basket midtransit forcing me into a one-handed, rubber-burning U-turn spin. I Legolas-Lord-Of-The-Rings-style scooped him up just before he got smooshed by the coming traffic. This had all just occurred after Bruno escaped out his basket in an underground carpark whilst I was shopping for more floor bleach (house-training was a slow process). He apparently terrorised every poor customer in the carpark so much so that security brought him into the store caged up. It’s when I heard his bark through the loud speaker that I shuffled over to the customer service desk to shamefully retrieve the head ache back. We quickly agreed we had to find our four-legged friend a permanent home.
As luck would have it my friend’s sister was looking to adopt a puppy, and Bruno being small and adorable (we didn’t mention the night wails), fitted the bill perfectly. We arranged a day and time for the pickup and initially felt incredibly relieved. Rescuing puppies and finding them loving homes was worth a ton of karma points, universe take note.
On the final night with Bruno, myself and my flatmates took him out for one last walk. Looking back, we rather insensitively chose the same spot where we rescued him. He fortunately didn’t seem to notice, god bless him. We walked along the coast, Bruno small enough to sit on one of our forearms.
As we had a drink at one of the beach bars, Bruno snoozing under the table, it suddenly hit me.
We’d have to say goodbye.
Despite the sleepless nights, surprise puddles and chewed up furniture I had fallen for this puppy. I was over the moon we’d found a good home for him, but selfishly I was absolutely gutted to let him go.
After the tearful handover the apartment felt so quiet and empty. Did I miss the early, early morning wake up calls or the late night wailing? Well, no. Not at all. But that little bundle of utter mayhem helped me feel more at home in a country I was still trying to figure out.
Bruno, our typhoon puppy. I hope you’re still storming through life causing anarchy and disorder to everyone who’s lucky enough to walk in your trails.