Were I to fall and die in my kitchen some unfortunate morning, my youngest dog, Geddy, would definitely eat my corpse. Maybe not that very minute, but pretty soon after I slumped to the floor he’d be nosing around, checking my pulse.
He’d probably give me a couple of hours to rise up from my “nap,” pawing at me now and then to demand that I sleep-scratch his belly. But by mid-afternoon, if I remained deathly still and if no snacks were offered to him, my beloved pup would start in on my fleshy bits and go from there.
He’s a Korean jindo, which is a relatively “primitive” breed. Meaning he thinks he’s a wolf—doesn’t obey, likes to hunt. (Bred to hunt wild boar and the like, in fact.) On a walk, regardless of how much I’m yelling “Stop! Stop pulling! God damn it, stop pulling! Stop that! No, sit! Stay! STAY! Let go of that! Leave it alone! Leave it! LEAVE IT!” Geddy stalks. Geddy gives chase. Geddy catches and shakes. Geddy rips and tears. Bunnies in particular don’t stand a chance once he spies them and snaps the leash (and my shoulder) going after them. And later, job done, Geddy gets in my bed and licks my face and demands more belly scratches. That’s just how he rolls.
People aren’t his typical prey, but he has tasted, and liked, human flesh. [Fun facts: The practice of eating human meat is called anthropophagy! Drinking human blood? Human hematophagy. And, only marginally related to this post but still fun: Human flesh eaten by cannibals is called long pig (translated from Māori and Polynesian). You’re welcome.] Once or twice my arm got in the way of his bullying another dog. His teeth are really sharp and boy are those jaws powerful! I think of the scars as a sort of tattoo in honor of my loving bond with him.
And lest you think I’m the only giver in this relationship, I promise the love goes both ways. As my arm lay severed on the floor after the first (above) incident, for example, he licked the bloody end so gently before picking up the whole thing and carrying it over to me like a stick he expected me to throw. It was adorable! His eyes were so full as he gave me back my shredded appendage. He felt bad, I could tell.
Geddy had a rough time before we adopted him, one reason I’m extra forgiving of him now. He was a stray in Los Angeles for at least six months. It must have been awful, going on pointless auditions for parts like “barking dog # 5” and eating out of the bin behind the plastic surgery clinic. (Eureka! Taste for human flesh!)
So it’s easy to let slide his occasional poor manners, even when they involve removing one of my limbs. It’s not like he does such things on purpose! Anyway, it’s a relatively common thing—pets eating their owners. Common may be a strong word, but still. Shit happens. It doesn’t make the love less real.
I’m actually pleased that Geddy is so fond of my flesh and blood. To eat my corpse would be the ultimate form of loyalty! I mean, who wants their nasty-ass dead self elbowing up from the melting ice 75 years after collapsing from cold and starvation? How embarrassing. Your naked jawbone and tattered underwear would be exposed for all to see! I’d rather go back to the Earth the paleo way, chewed to a flesh-and-drool slurry and then run through the esophagus, then stomach, then small intestine, then colon, then rectum of a hungry animal. That this particular animal knows me by name and puts his head (okay, sometimes his butt) on my pillow makes it even sweeter that I’d get to be so intimate with so many of his organs, ultimately for the good of his me-adoring heart.
Really and truly, my beloved Geddy will be doing me a favor when the time comes to dispose of my body. And until then, I’m just happy to know he’s always watching out for me. To trip and fall and hit my head.
Photos shot by the author with her remaining hand.