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In Memory of the Big Boss: Auki


As I have already said, dogs which have shared our lives or made friends with us over the decades could form a nice large pack. I want to dedicate this dog story to one of them, to a Pekingese, which I named Auki. He was born together with his five-minute younger sister Aisa in the first (and also the last) Pekingese litter in my long-non-existing kennel.


Auki is a male name, denominating a sacred person or being in the Quechua language. The Quechua language is spoken by descendants of native peoples of the Andes and other parts of South America. Once I made friends with a group of students from Ecuador; one of them was a boy named Auki, with a waist-long, thick raven braid. He used to be dressed up as a typical otavaleño, always in pristine white, a black hat on his head, hand-made slip-on shoes… he used to tell incredible stories of his life as if jumping out of my favourite magic realism novels… and his girlfriend made (vane) attempts at teaching me Ecuadorian folk dances, and with her eyes shining with love and nostalgia, she vividly described the beauty of the sunset over her beloved mountains… Oh, well, I am changing the subject, being drifted to a far-away time and space in my life… OK, back to the reality!

So, when I helped our two tiny Pekingese puppies to be born on 1st May 1992, I was not sure why, maybe due to dense long coat of the Pekingeses, I remembered Auki, the Quechua boy, and his long thick braid. And that was it: Our little blond Pekingese boy was named after him. During the long years to come, he received lots of other names: He was Buddy for me, Little Aukie, Aukan, Little Owl Man… Jirka, my late brother-in-law, called him, mocking, Duke Sigmund Igthorn; as time passed, Auki was awarded a honorary title of Professor and later on, also The Boss, when he became Alfa No.2 of our pack after the death of his Mummy Kima II, helping me with all his heart and might with the leadership of our little dog pack.

Auki and me, it was love at the first sight – we chose each other. His little sister Aisa (of course, we kept both) chose my Mum to be “her“ person; I belonged to Auki. As a puppy, Auki used to be grumpy and it took me some time to convince him that he should not take life that seriously, as living in this world might be a real fun sometimes. Thanks to thorough socialisation, playing, love and tons of Frolic treats, my little moody-shaggy-grumpy man became a nice and well-balanced dog, an absolutely loyal creature, that would have died for us – and especially for me.

He assigned himself a wide series of tasks which he fulfilled to an absolute perfection. He guarded our house. He would chase away cats and large dogs, especially a giant Irish Wolfhound, an incredibly tender and patient dog, that used to pass by our house, carefully avoiding the furious jumping bunch of shaggy hairs. In the morning, Auki went with us to collect newspaper to the mailbox. He always took the newspaper in his little mouth, and although even folded, the paper was almost bigger than Auki, our brave dog took it home, growling, where he gave it to us. In the winter, he used to carry a glove in his mouth – he had a special glove assigned for this purpose. Auki´s passion for gloves became almost legendary, and we had to protect children from a nearby kindergarten from our little thief, as children used to carry gloves hanging on strings around their necks, and Auki showed a strong tendency towards stealing them. He performed wild rides on his back alongside our house’s walls: lying on his back and using his short legs, he pushed himself from the wall, grunting and laughing out loud like the Pekingeses do, and after some time, an evidence of such a unique activity became well-visible on the walls. He loved his toy, Fidel the Cuban, a rubber Cocker-Spaniel toy. He used to carry Fidel by his thin rubber tail, until he cut it off with his little teeth. When Auki was down with a kidney infection, I gave him a teddy Lemon toy to make him happy, and the Lemon became Auki´s favourite fetish. He slept with it and he was not willing to leave it at home even when we went for walks. He was scared of a flywheel-driven toy mouse, however, when the toy stopped, Auki attacked it with one big jump to kill it. He liked discipline and order, and he duly supervised the fulfilment of the rules, although it was not an easy task, as his little sister Aisa had a strong rebel nature and wild unpredictable reactions, for which I nicknamed her “Rattlesnake Girl“.

When Auki and Aisa were nine and a half years old, I brought Tari. I was afraid a little that my little playful Azawakh puppy could harm my Pekingese friends, as they were not young any more. When I let my new Azawakh puppy enter our house, the Pekingeses demonstrated how unnecessary my worries had been. The Pekingese pair, led by Auki, barked at the Azawakh puppy, explaining him in an uncompromising manner the hierarchy in our pack. Tari, without showing any resistance, accepted his Omega position in the pack and he obeyed his new boss Auki perfectly. Tari had never tried to improve his position in the pack, not even at the end of Auki´s life, when Auki was unwell and the leadership of the pack became a burden for him.

Auki was a very demanding, however absolutely fair and uncompromising boss. It was only after he had left when I realised that Tari´s nice behaviour I was so proud of was more probably a result of Auki´s education than mine. He set firm rules for Tari, and Tari followed such rules without hesitation. One look of Auki´s big black eyes was enough to make Tari do what Auki wanted, such as: standing in a corner without moving; staying outside the kitchen when some tasty food was being prepared… Our huge Azawakh never ever touched the food of the Pekingeses, which loved to leave some food in their bowls to eat it “later“. Tari, that was born with quite a strong territorial instinct, almost did not guard and bark during Auki´s life, as it was the Boss who was in charge of such responsibilities.

Auki took his responsibilities very seriously. It was as if he felt responsible for us; he wanted to help me to lead our pack, to supervise the order and discipline. As years passed by, I could see it was too much for my old buddy. That was the main reason why I brought another Azawakh only after Auki´s death. It was a promise I gave him – I did not want my loyal and responsible buddy to worry even more…

Auki left this world on 1st December 2006 in the morning. He was exactly 14 years and 7 months old. When my Buddy was leaving, I hold him tightly in my arms, caressing him, whispering him. I tried to transmit him all my love I felt for him, thank him for having been with us, for having cared for us in his lovely doggy manner during his whole life.

So I imagine that my best buddy crossed the Rainbow Bridge, joining all my beloved beings, humans and animals, that had left before him…