The unforgettable pet: Moon, the stunning yet clumsy doberman, who accidentally burned his testicles in scorching tea.

He exclusively consumed tripe, possessed the strength comparable to an ox, and had a knack for losing his way. A frequent visitor of the local police station, his misadventures became legendary.

One day, my mother went to pick up my 10-year-old brother from school. She arrived accompanied by a large brown doberman. “Whose dog is that?” he inquired.

“It’s ours,” she replied. “His name is Moon.”

This marked the arrival of Moon into our lives. Being the oldest sibling, I had a hunch that something like this might happen. Mom had mentioned that she was going to visit a family who was struggling with a young dog. When she got there, she instantly fell in love with Moon (the family’s chosen name, but a good one nonetheless). And that’s how he ended up coming home with her.

In 1984, labradors and collies were the typical choice for families like ours, hailing from the middle class and residing in the home counties. However, we somehow ended up with a doberman, and here’s why: dad found them visually appealing, whereas mom opined that the more commonly seen black and tan dobermans (famous as guard dogs in Magnum PI and second world war films) seemed too fierce. Brown ones appeared softer, hence we settled for a brown doberman.

At first glance, Moon was an impressive sight. He was on the larger side, lean, and well-built. He boasted an illustrious pedigree and had an almost regal profile. Moreover, his lovely temperament defied the breed’s reputation. However, intelligence was not his strong suit. We struggled to teach him anything beyond “come” and “sit”, with the former being treated as optional by him.

Moon’s idea of going for a walk was as follows: “You take me out for 30 minutes, then I’ll spend the rest of the day chasing the local muntjac deer, only returning after dark, covered in mud and sporting cuts from brambles.” During my teenage years, a significant portion of my time was spent wandering around the nearby common area, shouting: “Moon!” On one occasion, he went missing for 12 hours, which led us to contact the local police station. “Do you happen to have a brown doberman?” we inquired.

“Is he beautiful but incredibly silly and dim-witted?” the woman on the other end responded. From then on, Moon became a regular visitor to the local police station.

As we grew up, our household was filled with children, and Moon was considered one of the gang. He would scatter the back lawn with sticks, as if it were a hobby of his. His strength was remarkable; if you put him on a lead, he would pull you along on a skateboard. He once even managed to pull my grandmother off her feet. His diet solely consisted of tripe, which I found revolting.

Everyone had their favorite Moon anecdote: Moon welcoming us at the door with a kilo of cheese in his mouth, Moon attempting to navigate between trees that were two meters apart while clutching a stick measuring three meters in length, Moon accidentally bumping into a coffee table and momentarily dipping his testicles into a cup of scalding tea, Moon unexpectedly appearing during a Christmas Eve walk with a quarter of a turkey in his mouth.

While writing this piece, I came across information stating that dobermans are considered one of the most intelligent dog breeds. However, this does not align with my own experience. Moon may have been good-looking and athletic, but in terms of intelligence, he was more akin to Homer Simpson. Even to this day, 30 years later, whenever I encounter a smart and well-trained dog, I can’t help but think: “Not like Moon.”

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