1... NEARLY FOUR YEARS ON...


Some Pets mark us for life with their characters, unconditional love and total companionship. Mr Djinn was such an animal...

.

Almost four years have passed and when another Member here writes of their own pain at the loss of their Best Friend, a jolt of pain comes back at the memory of my own loss...

Nowadays, whenever I go back to the Mountains, visit his grave and look back towards the house and the favourite spot in the sunshine where Mister Djinn once used to lounge joyfully in the sunshine, I no longer "see" him quite so clearly: its like looking at the memory of an image through the crackly, broken static of a TV screen going "on the fritz"...

So this page is to celebrate the life of an animal who was for me, at least a wonderful companion.

Was he different and better than anyone else's loved pet..?

Intrinsically "no"...

However, he was EVERYTHING to ME...

... And it is also true that many people who met and knew him have a good memory of his personality, his friendliness and his staunchness of Spirit as a "character" and companion.

Thank YOU for allowing me to share his Life and Times with you.

... And if I record him as a "Teacher", it is because as with most pets they teach us the truth behind what UNCONDITIONAL LOVE really means.

... Something that we so aptly and readily forget to apply to our own kind.

Please feel free to comment-on and forwards this story to whoever you might imagine could recognise within this history something of the love and loss they may have felt as a result of their own experience with a pet...

Let it be a witness to just how much we may be spiritually enriched by sharing our lives with an animal who rewards our love for them by an even greater and selfless dedication.

Blessings and Peace...

April18,2015

THE FINAL DAYS . And THE LAST.

Mail sent to all those who knew Mr.Djinn at one point or another.

My friend and old companion whom you either knew directly,or otherwise "Mr.Djinn " died in my arms at 12.20 yesterday ...


Though he had stopped breathing, his heartbeat on for a full minute afterward.

An "Ol Southern Rebel Boy" to the end, it was appropriate that he wore his "Colours".

Mr. Djinn inveteratetravellerof over three continents was most sadly helped to pass away this 18th April 2015 after a brief but terminal illness whose only long-term consequence would have been more pain and an undignified end.

I had known 24 hours before his passing that the Vet would arrive at midday and so, on my way back in the car after that appointment at the clinic with him lying beside me I found myself starting a mental countdown of lasts

His last car trip...

His last sunset...

His last dinner...

His last night at my side

His last dawn...

His last breakfast...

His last lay out on the grass in the early Spring sunshine...

and finally, as I held him in my arms and hummed into the back of his ear his last breath.

This last morning, on rising, he could no longer pee.

The tumour on his spleen and the heavy haematomaaroundd his kidneys along with a grossly-engorged and polyp-affected prostate had finally stopped the flow.

He had been pissing blood these last six days: not a bright red but rather the more malignant brown of something dirty and evil that needed to be expelled.

And finally could not.

So try as he would, nothing came out and he was visibly in pain.

When the vet arrived, he recognised her and there was a pathetic irony in the way he trustingly greeted her rummaging in her back-pack as she went to extract the super-strong barbiturate that was to facilitate his passage into the nihility of the imminent Void.

We lay together outside on the grass the fresh smell of Spring all around.

Daisies and buttercups, the cherry blossoms and other burgeoning growths all lending a gentle fragrance to the mid-of-day: whilst birds twittered, a woodpecker knocked on a tree nearby and the lazy hum of Spring-awakened bees bumbled around in the background.

It was utterly peaceful and so poignant as to squeeze my heart with pain.

I had called him over: he was so weak he could hardly walk.
It was more of a mis-coordinated totter that finally brought him the last few feet to be by my side.

I lay him down and cradled his thin body next to mine he had lost 25% of his weight during the last 10 days.

He licked my hand and looked at me with a tiredness that I felt deep in his bones.

The vet came from behind and gave him a quick soporific in the roll of skin at the back of his neck.

I continued to murmur vibrations into the top of his head.
Being deaf, he could not hear but could sense these comfortings.

Gradually within a minute, his head lowered and he started to fall asleep.

At this point, the Vet inserted a catheter in his forepaw to which he barely reacted and then slowly injected the master dose that would finally send him off...

Almost immediately he went into a deep, deep unconsciousness and over the next five minutes, I heard and felt his breathing become more-and-more heavy whilst his heart began to slow beneath my palm occasionally and sometimes giving a quick flutter as I held him by the chest to me for a last embrace.

Wearing hisfavouriteStars Bars neck scarf, depleted as he had become, he was still a stubborn fighter to the very end the Vet was almost about to give him another dose when he simply stopped being alive.

No breath.

No heartbeat.

No sense of being part of this dimension

The passage of Life is an extraordinary and ponderous, yet ephemeral circumstance of which to be a witness.

One moment there is a PRESENCE.

The next there is only an ABSENCE.

And its all so FAST

Mr. Djinn who had been so amazingly full of life, love, happiness and companionship no longer was: the empty shell of his completely slack body now weighed heavily in my arms whilst a terrible feeling of guilt that I was a murderer swallowed my whole being and I drowned in the wracking tears that suddenly flowed past the breath caught in my throat.

The Vet left me and I stayed with my now dead friend for the next half hour or so as my grief tore me apart like I would never have believed possible.

The Mountains their deeply-etched profile looking down from beneath a cerulean sky along with all the budding life that danced the vitality of its cadence all around me, listened with indifference.

Mr.Djinn WAS...

... and then suddenly, he simply WASNT.

And it didn't seem to make any difference to anyone other than myself.

He now lies buried at the bottom of the garden set within 5000 sq/m of countryside overlooked by the peaks that surround the mediaeval village of SOSPEL above Menton, and in the Alpes Maritime, South of France where I have a home away from the artificiality of Monaco.

Most of this last year having come full circle and back to Europe from the USA and before that the UAE had been spent in this location or, alternatively every other week for a few days, in Monaco, where he was spoiled rotten

To have a companion like this for almost a quarter of one's life and who has always been around being ever a co-celebrant for the good times as well as an emotional support for those more trying moments creates a huge hole when such a Spirit moves on

The loss of such a well-entrenched and twinned Soul is like an amputation of some part within ones psyche

Not everyone becomes so attached to their pets and indeed, many people seem to be able to get over their loss when its time with a greater facility than others.

MrDjinn was for me an anchor during a whole part of my life when there was much movement and some difficult moments


His contribution to both my sanity and happiness as well as that of the people who came to know him, will never be forgotten, nor underestimated.

He is already so very deeply missed and will ever be a part of me.

To Mr.Djinn: Rest in the Peace of Nature my faithful, loving companion and selfless friend.

MisterDjinn has his own Facebook page which I had created a month after his passing on the 18th April 2015 it was a kind of Obituary...

https://www.facebook.com/Mister-DJINN-1478503999097419/

MAY 18th 2015

It has been a month since Mr.Djinn has left this World to explore a new dimension or wherever it is that our energies go once they have changed from this dynamic to another...

This page is to celebrate the life of an animal who was for me, at least a wonderful companion.

Was he different and better than anyone else's loved pet..?

Intrinsically "no"...

However, he was EVERYTHING to ME...

... And it is also true that many people who met and knew him have a good memory of his personality, his friendliness and his staunchness of Spirit as a "character" and companion.

Thank YOU for allowing me to share his Life and Times with you.

... And if I record him as a "Teacher", it is because as with most pets they teach us the truth behind what UNCONDITIONAL LOVE really means.

... Something that we so aptly and readily forget to apply to our own kind.

Please feel free to comment-on and forwards this story to whoever you might imagine couldrecognisewithin this history something of the love and loss they may have felt as a result of their own experience with a pet...

Let it be a witness to just how much we may be spiritually enriched by sharing our lives with an animal who rewards our love for them by an even greater and selfless dedication.

Blessings and Peace...

January 2000...

Birth Certificate...

Born in Roumania, came to me in Dubai...

My son Alleric and I had gone to look at a new arrival of PitBulls at a shop in Satwa, Dubai...

We had been told about it by a friend and on arrival we asked Shopkeeper to close the door and open the cage to let all of the puppies come out.

About eight of them came gambolling across the floor and one of them simply climbed-up onto my outstretched legs as I had been sitting on the floor, and went to sleep./

That was Mr. Djinn.

HE had chosen ME...

Original registration Certificate showing "convenience" registration as a "Labrador / Boxer cross" and first inoculations...

Looking rather lonely and not very sure of himself.

However, Mr.Djinn soon learned his way around and quickly made our home HIS home...

PUPPY LIFE

When he first arrived at the villa, he was so small...


Some of these early photographs show his sizewithrelation to my old BMW motorcycle as he sat questioningly on the seat.

Puppies are always SO endearing and he was no exception: sometimes owning the most quizzical expressions that were just totally enchanting.

Watching a new life develop itself through the simple acts of everyday self-discovery, is a humbling experience.

Whether its the interaction that occurs whilst exploring the flittering amazement of a butterfly, the pricking interdiction of a thornwhistsniffing at a rose, the self-indulgencing and totally-focused activity involved in chewing on an old shoe whatever: the enchantment of being able to witness the novel innocence of a fresh and unformed Spirit as it discovers its environment, is worth every second of its passage.

Looking at a puppy, with all its gangly enthusiasms as it learns to exist and function through the mature and somewhat jaded perception of a well-worn and gently frayed personal optic, cannot help but re-evoke the long-lost feelings and ghosted memories of the years so long ago when the sap of youth once also coursed so hotly through ones veins

One should always have youth around ones self: precisely as a reminder that everything one believes to be set in stone is actually as transient as a sunbeams sudden blaze through the heavy, roiling cotton of storm-grey clouds.

And just as eternally uplifting in the immediacy of its glorious relief.

He HATED it when I was about to travel somewhere and would always go and sit in my suitcase in an attempt to get me to not fill it with the things I needed with me...

SPEEDY "DJINNZALES"

From a very early age, Mr.Djinn like most dogs was a Car Freak

As he grew up, despite the Dubai heat of the summer which sometimes could shoot into the upper 40Cs, and even beyond he would HAVE to thrust his head out of the car window so that the air would flow freely past him whilst he would garner the rich tapestry of varying smells that passed-by his flaring nostrils.

Hanging halfway out of the car with his paws on the door sill, his head pointed forwards, a broad smile over his flapping gums and his eyes half closed, one could see that he was infinitely enjoying every experience.

Always curious, when stopped at the traffic lights, he would actively scan the cars aligned next to him and after making eye contact with the driver, there would often be a happy response: the window opening and the sharing of a broad smile between the both of them.

It didnt matter the ethnicity or nationality of the occupants and Dubaiharbourscitizens from over 190 different countries: nearly always, without fail, there was a positive reaction.


A smile whether from a dog or a human simply bridges all gaps.

It was nearly always the children who reacted the most positively and often, when not European or American, being fascinated by seeing a dog so free, as they were mostly unused to its status as a valued pet because of various religious convictions

(Europeans and other Western nationals were always pretty much considered as very odd by the Locals and especially by Muslims who often observe the tenets of a strict religious code regarding the keeping of dogs, especially indoors.)


Anyway I always knew when I was going faster than 60 Kmph because beyond that speed, his ears would flap more than he could bear and he would bring his head back inside to look at me with a certain accusing disdain.

Mr. Djinn was the best speed-limiter one could imagine!

Of course, also like most dogs, Mister Djinn loved to run along the beach...

Mr.DJINN Beach Dawg

There was a time up until around 2003 when it was quite possible for pets and their owners to walk along the beaches of Jumeirah and other sand stretches in the Dubai environs that ran along the coast elsewhere by the softly lapping sea.


Then the Municipality became all officious Arabs and Muslims in general not being too empathetic towards dogs so that the practice was banned.

Heavy fines $270.00 were levied for offenders, and large signs laying down the Law every 100 m or so, for all to see appeared everywhere people conjoined to enjoy the beach.

This single example epitomizes for me the erosion of some of the freedoms that had made Dubai's early-days informality such an attractive place to live

Over the next few years, so many other small privileges were gradually either quashed, regulated, or eliminated.

Dubai simply grew up and became the same kind of cosmopolitan city as Paris, Sydney, Nice, Copenhagen, or Venice.

That said, before this date, I used to take Mr. Djinn down to the beach and he would hare-off along the border between the lapping waves and the flotsam usually washed up the length of the tide-line.

One day, I saw him stop and seem to pick up what appeared to be a stick in his mouth.

All well-and-good: Djinn liked to fetch sticks, chew and otherwise destroy them. Normal yes?

However, to my consternation, the silhouette of this stick started to move in a definitely un-sticklike manner.

I was about 20 meters away and whilst running towards him shouted to catch his attention.

He turned towards me and, sensing the alarm in my voice, dropped the stick to look at me quizzically as if to say "What is wrong with that Crazy?"

When I arrived next to him I saw that the stick was actually one of the highly poisonous sea-snakes that are occasionally washed-up on the beach and which had obviously been dried-out by the sun into a fake somnolence that fully belied the danger their small but lethal bites can represent when disturbed.

It was a close thing. (Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, UAE)
WATER DOG ... NOT

Mr.Djinn was one of those dogs who remarkably could not actually swim!

Not that he didnt try: he always followed me into the sea when I went swimming.

Or else he stayed at the edge and barked in consternation.

However, when he did in fact attempt to swim, he spent so much time snapping at the breaking crests of froth from the small waves of the Gulf that he would quickly swallow a mass of salty water.

At which point, he would start to literally go down.


Quite a few occasions required my charging in and hauling him out by the scruff of his neck

The waves, he saw, as an invading challenger of some kind and his instinct, whether out of a natural desire to be defensive aggressive or from playfulness was to bite the heck out of every melting curler

His Near-Drowning experiences never stopped him from again attacking those pesky waves as they rolled up onto his patch of beach.
FROGS-LEGS

Mister Djinn, in the same manner as many PitBulls had a very distinctive way of lying down as can again be seen in this pic.

It seems that this frog-spread position is particular to the breed and a few other Molossoids.

A long time ago, in Paris, I once had a Neapolitan Mastiff who occasionally would spread herself out in the same way.

However, it was also a useful way for him to stay refreshed as he would lay himself out on the villas marble floors and in this manner keep cool during the summer months.

The corollary of this was that sometimes because he would still sweat a little the moisture so engendered would also encourage a rash to spread along his tummy and chest one that needed some light cortico-steroid cream to keep it in check.


It seemed that this was not unusual for dogs that lived in the heat of the Arabian Peninsula especially short-hair breeds.

It helped when I asked the Maid to no longer clean the floors with Dettol-enriched water but to merely use an eco-cleaning liquid I was able to find that suited the purpose.

MISTER DJINN's HOMES IN DUBAI...

THE FIRST ACCIDENT

One time, again late at night, and whilst starting our usual circuit, Mr. Djinn who had been champing at the bit, instead of waiting at the second crossing, simply ran straight across and was hit by a passing 4WD.

Naturally, because of the indifference Muslims, Arabs and Asians mostly have for dogs and animals in general, this particular Local diver whose white headdress was clearly visible to me didnt even bother to stop but,unfortunatelyand somewhat predictably, simply just drove straight on

My heart was in my mouth, and as I approached MisterDjinn who was lying down on the other side of the road where he had been thrown by the impact, I felt sick and filled with dread.



He was only three years old and in his prime.

His Strobe Light was still flashing but there was no movement.


As I waited to cross the road whilst another car passed, I eventually saw just the smallest flicker of movement and as I came to his side, he struggled to get up onto his four legs.


When I leaned down to him, he shivered and then looked at me most sheepishly.

I felt him all over and seemingly there was nothing wrong with him except when he started to walk, there was a slight limp on his right foreleg.

I attached his lead and walked him slowly back the 200 m to the villa whereupon I went into my study and for the next 40 minutes cried at the thought of almost having lost him.

Sidebar: Note that I do not claim that ALL Arabs, Muslims, Middle Eastern, Levantines or Asians feel nothing for animals.


Many Locals literally spend millions on camels and horses.


Others actually have dogs within their compounds but only ever very, very rarely within their homes.

The more traditional Muslims believe that the saliva of the dog is so unclean as to warrant washing the clothing so soiled seven times before the pollution is cleansed.

It is simply a cultural and religious thing that one might say unfortunately colours their perception but which nevertheless, as a traditional standpoint, should be respected.

What is harder to accept is thesometimecallousness that such a cultural proclivity can provoke from these otherwise eminently worthy peoples with regard to how they generally interface with animals.

In this once desert-based, survivalist and originally nomadic way-of-life, animals have a purpose and exist to be used: for their fur, milk, meat, bones or, more recently, for the face that owning such an expensive beast brings to the owner.

Under these circumstances, there is little empathy or love: merely a practical appreciation of the animals worth to them.


This should not be taken as any kind of judgment but simply as a commentary based on factual observation.

Besides which, there is not a single culture that is blameless when considering how most domestic animals are treated in terms of food-on-the-hoof waiting to be processed into hamburgers or chicken broth

The SECOND ACCIDENT

Unbelievable as it might read, EXACTLY the same thing happened a couple of years later.

Literally: same circumstances, same place same result.


Again, Mister Djinn just upped and walked away from what I would have considered an impossible bang that should have killed him or any other dog.

But No...



Happily and thankfully.

And again, however, the driver didnt have the decency to stop.


(I disdain those big SUVs So often their owners sitting high up within their seemingly armoured arapaces, behave as if the road has been made exclusively just for them.

What to do?)

The THIRD ACCIDENT.

On this occasion, Mr. Djinn would have been about seven years old.

My Gardner was washing the car outside and the gate being open, Mr.Djinn slyly decided hed go for a wander.

I was just inside in the garden and had soon noticed his absence: a few moments before he had been sitting in his favourite spot on the houses front steps.

As I went outside to check with the Gardner, suddenly across the road there was a screaming of brakes followed by a dull thud.

Naturally, I had turned my head when hearing the braking and was just in time to see something flying ahead of the van and landing 2 m away on the side of the road.



The van drove off (By now I would have been REALLY surprised had it done anything else..)

I suddenlyrealisedthat the still form on the side of the road was Mr.Djinn and so I immediately ran over to him.

He had been knocked unconscious.

However, in just a few minutes whilst I was frantically trying to see if he had either any broken bones or blood coming from anywhere, he started to wake up

Amazingly he must bearmoured! Mr.Djinn staggered to his feet a little groggily and with another sheepish glance came and put his head between my hands witha themost contrite of looks.

Deep down there must have been some trauma because the concomitant result of all of this was that as he passed into his senior years, Mr.Djinn gradually started by the age of 12 or so to limp.

A limp that was most probably arthritic by origin as during his last two years, the use of Arctic Krill Oil and other Omega 3/6/9-based supplements, somewhat managed to ease his obvious discomfort when walking.

The accidents had ALL been on the same right shoulder which was heavily muscled.

There is no doubt that this is what had protected him.


Nevertheless, such physical resilience is truly remarkable.

However just to be sure I did take him this time to be x-rayed and whilst the results confirmed that therewasno bones broken, I was nevertheless able to note that the solidity of the top of his skull was a good 1 cm in thickness..!!

VISITORS

Mr. Djinn didnt (often) discriminate.

(Almost) everyone who came and rang the bell to the Garden door was the subject of intense and (mostly) friendly scrutiny especially if they were known to me, and so allowed in.

I dont think he ever really understood why it was that any Indian, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi or Pakistani who came to either visit, deliver or simply read the utility meter, was always so frightened of him whenever they first came into contact.

Of course the reason is fairly obvious: in these countries the inhabitants are often scared by packs of wild dogs that are sometimes rabid and which will terrorize wholeneighbourhoods.

So maybe their reactions were completely natural especially if Mr.Djinn sensed that the person visiting may not have been as welcome to me as normal.

Otherwise, I would jokingly tell them "Do not worry...! He has eaten today already!" which was not always appreciated.


Or even quite properly understood.



Sometimes I would see a questioning doubt in the eyes of such visitors that indicated that this nutso European might ACTUALLY feed a few guests to the hound(s)

Despite their unease, Mr.Djinn rarely ever showed anything other than a mild incomprehension at their nervousness.

Naturally, Muslims of different nationalities who visited, mostly wished he would keep away for religious reasons connected with pollution by his saliva.

Interestingly enough, he mostly sensed whom he could approach and who would rebuff his friendliness.

However, if for whatever reason he really didnt like someone and it was extremely rare for this to happen it was obvious: he would fix them with his Sly-Dog Look.

Nothing more: but often it was enough to demonstrate the point, and communicate his feelings.

THE TREE RAT TERROR

There is a particularly nifty kind of rodent that lives in the leafy and tree-shaded parts of Dubai.

Referred to by the Municipality Pest Control as Tree Rats, thesebeastiesare the size of an ordinary rat looking, behaving and reproducing themselves like a standard model, yet seemed to live in the trees.

Certainlythey communicated from house-to-house using the branches as inter-villa highways.

At different times the house was more-or-less visited not to say infested by the occasional one of the rodents who would come through into the kitchen outside door closed or not by whatever means it could.

It would then rummage around the rubbish bin, or look for crumbs wherever.

Nearly all of the year the front door to the Villa was always open so that Mr.Djinn could go out at night and do his business. (But also because the clement weather encouraged it).


However, the kitchen door at the back of the house giving out into a small yard that led to the Maids Quarters and the gym was usually kept closed.

Nevertheless, Mr.Djinns sharp ears would pick up the faintest of scrabblings even whilst asleep on the bed in my room and at the other end of the house some 25 m away.

He would then jump off and in one fell bounce, hie himself to the kitchen where he would start sniffing around usually near the refrigerator. This was usually where the different rodents all seemed to imagine being a good, dog-safe, hiding place.

I would then come to the kitchen and close the door to the hall.


Following which I would move the fridge around until such time as the terrified rodent made a run for it.

At this point Mister Djinn would chase and catch it.



There was only ever one that got away disappearing under the kitchen sink unit and through a hole gnawed in the cupboards base which led from there out through the aperture in the wall to the outside drain collector that served the sinks evacuation,


The rats really squealed when caught.

And then Mr.Djinn would play with them: allowing them to sometimes run from his jaws.

However, they were sotetanisedwith fear that they didnt know where to go and often just went battily around in circles.

He would watch and then pounce again.

Just like a cat.

Eventually, he would take the poor beastie onto his day-bed and simply crush its head.

The dead rats somehow always looked so much more diminished in size than when alive.

In this way, he would have caughtalmost 50 or so over a period of three or four years.

STREET LOVE

Though Mister Djinn never really had a lady dog companion, he nevertheless made a surprisingly good friend out of a Street Moggie that used to come and take the shade beneath the neem tree that overarched the garden.

Usually, Djinn had been wont to chase all and any cats however, there was something about this particular wild street creature who wouldn't let anyone at all ever come near him that caught his heart: even allowing it to come into the house and pick from his food bowl.

To watch these two animals together befriended and entirely happy in each other's company was both surprising and beautiful...

MEMORY

Maybe all dogs have a good odour memory: I dont know.


However I DO know that Mister Djinns olfactory recognitions were particularly sharp.

He remembered people he had not smelled for years.


Two people he had no trouble in remembering were both my Son and my Mother.

In the former case there had been a good 3 to 4 years between their first contact and a later visit.

In the second case, Mr. Djinn immediately recognised my Mother even though he had met her first when he was only 5 when she had come for a visit to Dubai and then re-acquainted himself with her in Monaco, almost 10 years later.


Mister Djinn and my Son got on famously.

As he did with my Mother but that was because she was always feeding him bits-and-pieces
She said he looked hungry No, Mum: he just likes food!

DJINN, HOOVERS ANDMAIDS

Over the years inJumeirahI would have had three different maids.

Two Sri Lankans and an Indian lady.

In each case Mister Djinn accommodated to them quite easily and vice-versa: even if there was a little bit of uncertainty on their side during the first few moments of their getting to know each other.

Though in the instance of one couple, the husband used to beat the wife and one day when Mr.Djinn saw what was happening, he was barely restrained from going for him.

The Husband was kicked out of the house and never dared return.

Mr.Djinn both loved and was fascinated by Hoovers.

Whenever one of the maids would take it out, there was something about the snaky tube, the noise and the expelled air that would fascinate him.

Bottom line he was always in the way: trying to chew the sucking head, or the twitching tube Or even her ankles Always in the way Yet they were all very patient with him

(This fascination continued even into old age when in Monaco and the Cleaning Lady would get out her own vacuum cleaner)


When I travelled overseas and was not there with him for up to three weeks at a time rarely ever more these Dubai Maids were especially good with him.

They would tell me that he KNEW when I was coming back: he would stay by the garden gate and even sleep on the house steps waiting for me.

Most times that is where I found him as flights into the UAE often happen during the night: the heavier air makes the landings and take-offs more efficient, and so less fuel-consuming.

So I would arrive from the airport by taxi and as the car drew up outside, I would hear him on the other side of the door give a bark.


And then as I entered total pandemonium.

He was all over me like a rash

MISTER DJINN AND THE DESERT

When he was younger, I often had occasion to spend the night in the desert outside Dubai or inthe Oman and I would take Mr.Djinn with me.

Having reached the place chosen to camp, he would bounce out of the car and literally go tearing from dune-to-dune examining every sparse bush and following even the faintest of trails.

He loved the desert And so did I walking happily barefoot in the pristine sands.

However, one day I had a client who was an arachnologist: a specialist in scorpions and spiders.

He asked me if I had ever seen a scorpion or a Camel Spider during my time in the Middle East: I told him that I had only ever come across three scorpions on different occasions and one Camel Spider: in my bath, of all places...

A small smile crossed his lips and hesaidWait and see

This sounded ominous.

One is as viscerally and naturally cautious of scorpions as of sharks and other beasties that can either cause pain or punch one's clock

One of our deepest fears in ending up in some animal or fish's stomach.

I knew nothing of Camel Spiders until arriving in the Middle East.


They are really ugly to look at, have huge mandibles, can be the size of a small hand and have a disgusting modus operandi with regard to their prey.

Basically, they are called Camel Spiders because in the desert they will crawl up onto a camel, spit out an anesthetizing saliva, wait for it to deaden the animal's nerves and then start calmly eating away until satisfied.

This usually leaves a fairly large hole in the camel's side and it has felt nothing.



I mentioned this to my guest who enlarged upon my limited knowledge inwayI would rather have avoided.

Later that night around 02.00 he said "Let us take a walk.

Better leave Mister Djinn in the car..."

Which I did.

Crossing a couple of dunes over so that the light from the campfire was no longer affecting our vision, we stood in the bottom of a bowl between two dunes where he switched on a portable UV Black Light light.


Suddenly there were like 20+ glowing dots all moving around across the dunes.

The nearest one was barely three feet away from my bare feet and coming my way!

I jumped back: "WOW! How come I have never seen them before?"

Well, said he they stay under the sand: but tread on one and it will get you for sure. And these little blighters are painful, though not deadly.

From that day forth, not only did I check my boots when waking up and before putting them on but also my bedding before crawling into the sack.

And I ALWAYS wore footwear from then onwards.

As for Mister Djinn I kept a close eye on him: but I guess he was always running around too fast for those little critters to up-and-have-a-piece of him.

He never did understand camels.

They didn't smell like dog, or horse or anything he had ever met: though they did elicit his curiosity

Generally, he kept away from their bad-tempered snarl.

And so did I.

(Please click on PART 2 to read more of Mister Djinn's story...)