So Mino and I made the successful transatlantic crossing without any major hang-ups, but a few close calls.
There were a fair amount of people along the way who doubted Mino’s right to live in the land of Zion. After waiting in the taxi line at Reagan National in Washington DC, the taxi driver told me he was allergic to dogs. The man directing taxi traffic saw this as normal, and I had to sweet talk another taxi driver. According to this guy, the previous taxi driver wasn’t allergic to dogs.
“Maybe he is from Somalia,” I said.
“Why do you ask this?”
“Because I’m reading a book, and I read that Somalis hate dogs,” I replied.
“All Muslims hate dogs. But I think that taxi driver is Somali,” he asserted. I knew it. The taxi driver then recounted stories from the Prophet Mohammed, as if he were reaching back into his childhood: stories of Islam.
As it goes, Mohammed the Prophet was performing miracles one day, one in particular that involved a leather bladder full of milk buried underground. After proclaiming the desolate landscape “fertile” and showing the onlookers how milk seeped from the ground up, Mohammed was upstaged by a canine that dug up the leather bag to reveal the source of his miracle.
“You see, Mohammed was made fool by dog” the driver explained. “This is why the Muslim man hate dog.”
I wondered if it occurred to the driver that the dog had called out the prophet, and that dogs can’t be fooled by prophets and their second-rate miracles.
“Prophets can fool people, but not dogs,” I uttered.
Three days later, I was to board the plane to from Washington DC to Addis Abeba. After paying for Mino’s ticket and getting him into his hold, where he would be for the next 20 hours, a representative from the airline came aboard to ask me if I could get Mino off the plane and fly to Ethiopia tomorrow.
There was a big mix-up it seemed. A family was repatriating a deceased family member back to Ethiopia. When he first told me there would be human remains near Mino, I told him not to worry, that Mino probably wouldn’t mind.
Again, he asked me if I could fly the next day, but it was impossible for me not to go to Ethiopia today.
“Tell me,” I said in a hushed tone. “Is this out of respect for the dead?”
“Yes sir,” he whispered.
“But my dog had his reservation a long time ago.” And if it is purely superstition on the part of the family, not to worry. Mino has no religious affiliation.
“Maybe you shouldn’t mention that there is a dog in the hold. You know, it can be a secret.” I suggested. He walked away and never returned.