An Old Man and the Dog 老人與狗

Today, I saw an old man and a dog at Portland Street 龍虎砵蘭街. The dog was crouching on the ground when the old man was picking fleas out of its fur. The dog looked very shabby. It shed, almost from its neck to the buttocks. And wounds were everywhere.

Clearly, the old man was homeless and the dog kept him company.

When the old man picked fleas out, he was talking. To the dog or to himself? I don't know. Still, the dog was wagging its tail softly, enjoying the moment when its fleas were being picked.

In my recollection, there was a kind of sadness, anger, and feeling of being unfairly treated in the old man's eyes. But I had a feeling that when the old man picked fleas out, the dog was smiling (not grinning) gratefully.

This may be an illusion because I really don't know the story behind. But from the interaction between the old man and the dog, I could sense that there was a trust between the dog and the old man, a comradeship in a difficult battle.

To me, I would rather be the dog, lying and crouching in one of the dirtiest places in Hong Kong, enjoying the moment of being served.

by Thomas Shum