March 10, 2013

We’ve now been here just over a year, and are feeling pretty comfortable about things. We’ve made some friends, done some travelling, seen some things. We’re not yet living in a colonial mansion, but, on the whole, things are pretty good right now. In fact, I think we’re about to take a leap of faith, and get a dog.

We want to get one of these:

A package of Boston Terriers

A package of Boston Terriers


And no, I don’t want to hear any comments about hairdressers. These are perfectly manly dogs, and I’m secure enough in my sexuality to be perfectly happy to be seen in public with a Boston Terrier. They are intelligent, loyal and lively, and I’m looking forward to a dozen years of fun and friendship with the little beast, although Blossom has told me I can’t call it ‘Satan.’

There are a couple of problems, though, apart from finding one out here (there are a number in Bangkok, so we’ve got some people working on that).

The first problem is that of finding somewhere to walk it. Most cities usually have about 12-15 percent of their land as suitable for recreation – that is, as parks. However, here in Phnom Penh, they reckon the figure is nearer three percent. From our flat, I reckon it’s about 15 minutes walk to the nearest blade of grass. And even that’s only about 10 yards across, with six lanes of traffic either side of it.

Back in London, we had Shepherd’s Bush Green within two minutes walk, Holland Park within five, and Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park within 15. Here, we’ve got the Riverside, the Independence Monument, and the Olympic Stadium. And that’s the lot. It’s not entirely fair on a dog.

Even less fair, in my opinion, is the fact that our landlord, the saintly Mr Sokha, has had his two dogs stolen this year, and eaten. If people see a hunk of protein wandering down the road sniffing lampposts, they’ll steal it and cook it, and eat it.

It took me a while to work out what Phnom Penh was missing when I first moved here. In other large Asian cities, you’d have to keep half an eye on packs of dogs. But not here. There are no dogs at all, apart from those on leads.

Mr Sokha lost his first dog just after we moved in: it was a fairly small thing, as I recall. The other was more substantial, about the size of a small Labrador. I could never remember what it was called, but used to greet it cheerfully every evening. They’d let it fossick around outside the gate, and it barked if anyone new came to the house, but otherwise we just cheerfully ignored each other. But this week Blossom mentioned that she hadn’t seen it for a few days. That evening, we asked Mr Sokha, who told us, while laughing uproariously, that yes, the dog had been snatched from just outside the gate at 0600hrs a couple of mornings ago.

We looked fearfully at him, and made little eating motions. Oh yes, they would have eaten him, for sure, he told us, grinning from ear to ear. He’s quite an odd man.

Anyway, we’re borrowing a dog shortly from a couple who are going away for a few days. It’s a small one, and repulsively ugly, but should give us a feel for the realities of dog ownership here in PP.

And finally, and for no reason at all, here is a picture of a gun.  It is real.

A Hello Kitty AR-15. Of course.

A Hello Kitty AR-15. Of course.


7 Responses to “Dogged”

  1. gmanners said

    I miss you SO much. xx

  2. J said

    Thank you for your continuing to write your blog. It always brings a smile to my face. The subject matter is wide and varied. I look forward to them. Good luck with the dog, sounds like you’ll need it. You could always tie your wife up downstairs at night and take the dog to bed. Might be better solution in the long term….

  3. Piper Purcell said

    Hey, found this on a search for a better place to dog walk in PP. I have 2 dogs here and it’s not so bad. Even though it’s mostly paved they can find enough dirt or grass to take care of business, and don’t seem to mind too much when they have to use the pavement. And there are so MANY disgusting things to smell mine are in heaven. WOuld like a place to let them off leash, hence the search. I would NEVER let them out of my sight without a leash though what with them being so tasty and all…

  4. Miss Wan said

    Boston Terriers are great dogs, we have a 5 year old Boston called Levi. He’s lovely and far too spoilt. Bostons don’t like the heat too much though, well, they do like it but don’t cope so well with it given their flat faces and dark fur. I’ve been to Phnom Penh once, it was a decade ago now so I imagine it’s changed a lot since then. Amazing place.

  5. Richard Ellis said

    Umm Bostons eh……..well you know what they say about a man and his dog. Personally I feel that one should be able to express oneself in all ones variety.

  6. DTH said

    Meant to ask you and Susan more about the dog experience. Did you actually eventually get a trial-run dog? The real problem in PP would obviously be being forced to walk it in surface of the sun heat and raging monsoons. You’re right about the lack of vicious packs of dogs in PP. I had to bottle a few to stop them from killing some tourist girl’s puppy in Koh Pangan years ago. In Taipei, the roving packs were more pathetic than scary, but were definitely a major public health liability. Keep us all blog-posted about what you two end up doing.

  7. Bego said

    Hello, I found this post on a search for Boston Terriers in Phnom Penh. My husband and I are looking for a Boston Terrier puppy and it seems that it is not so easy to find one here in PP. We just want to know if you know of someone in Phnom Penh who might have puppies for sale?

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