There was a rustle outside the kitchen door. Then the door pushed open and a lovely brown stray dog peeked his head in.
The kitchen was warm and cozy with a fire burning at the grate. A cat slept next to the fire, so near that I thought it will get singed. I was warned that temperature falls below zero in Pfutsero, but I was hugely disappointed when the late December night turned out to be warmer. It was however cold enough to enjoy the toasty warmth of the kitchen fire.
I looked up from my plate heaped with food and our eyes met. Brownie didn’t bark or sniff, just came and stood next to me wagging his tail. His pupils were opaque. He was blind but he knew exactly where I was sitting. My heart lurched and melted. Every time I called his name, he would look up straight into my eyes. Somebody beat up Brownie badly on the head after which he lost his eyesight. The two girls looking after the lodge took care of him and the cat. I watched Brownie that night as he roamed around the house and the garden. He seemed oblivious to the fact that he could not see and went about his business like a normal dog. More importantly, he still trusted humans.
Just before I went to sleep, I saw him below the stairs looking at me and whining. I called out to him and he came bounding up the stairs, furiously wagging his tail. He understood that I would be leaving the next day. The girls had to force him away from me. They pushed him out into the cold night and shut the door.
I set out the next morning, before the sky had started to clear, leaving behind a small piece of my heart at Pfutsero.