When Wookie was a puppy, he took some getting used to the car. I used to go out prepared with the dog equivalent of a sick bucket and towel, just in case. But this time, nothing could really prepare me for what he was to bring up.
I’m trying to navigate the winding twists and turns of the Serra do Espinhal, where one false move could put you off a cliff, and Wookie starts making vomiting gestures. I’m begging him not to, but there’s already this huge intestinal looking lump coming up his throat and out of his mouth. It looks like he’s giving birth rather than vomiting. It is one solid mass, a slimy salivery bloody fleshy gargantuan slug.
I almost immediately start heaving myself and slip onto the road shoulder in a brake- locking skid. I turn to look at the horror beside me just as Wookie starts up again. This time it’s a big white ball that lands at his feet in a puddle of masticated offal. It is an eyeball.
I can’t get out of the car fast enough. Nor can Wookie. After a few deep breaths I charge in to grab a plastic bag or anything that might help but I recoil at the smell. It is so intense, but all I can think about is that stuff soaking into the seats. I have to get two hands around the warm leaking pile of puke and in shifting it slightly I see there are actually two eyes, and they are looking at me in a just-died kind of way.
I had plenty of time to review the images in my mind while I hosed out the car that afternoon. Maybe I was in shock or something because I just couldn’t work out how this cute little puppy had been able to get a pair of human eyes into his belly. Certainly didn’t come out of my tin from the supermarket. After repeated recitals of the story to the neighbours (they took a while to be convinced I wasn’t babbling incoherently) all was revealed: Tia Maria had slipped them a rabbit that morning. I choose to believe it was an already dead rabbit.