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Grief over Mogi

Mongolei/ Grief over Mogi camp — 28.10.2011

Like the last days runs Mogi well beside us. The freedom of running around freely does him good. We hope he has no need anymore to hunt everything what is moving.

The dog gang still accompanies us. On the contrary, we believe they have still become more than yesterday. At the moment I count with Mogi and the young black dog three other four-legged friends. Suddenly they discover something in front of us and race off. Mogi runs as a leader of his allegiance in front away. Still I cannot recognize what has put out the pack as Bilgee already galloped away. Sheep!, shouts Tanja. Now I also see them. “Here take!” I call Tanja, Bor’s leadership rope throwing, while I press Sar already the heels in his flanks to gallop behind Bilgee. Two dogs pursue a group of fleeing sheep. Bilgee follows them, lays his horse in a fast curve to push away the attacking dogs. Ice and earth lumps fly by the air. I race straight ahead further. The same direction Mogi has chosen. Make faster Sar! Faster! Faster! I roar as I see Mogi chasing a big goat on an ice surface. Even before I am able to reach the happening Mogi has already bitten the goat in the bottom. The goat shouts out dreadfully and tries to escape however, it is too late. Mogi in his drunkenness after blood, tugs in the goat. A big shepherd’s dog also comes running and keeps Mogi in check. He gives up the goat which desperate tries to come on the legs again. At this moment a young man comes running down an embankment and shouts at me already from far away. “We will shoot your dog!”, I understand as he beside his roar with an imaginary gun continually on Mogi bangs. It lasts only minutes as a man armed with a gun came running, inserts a cartridge and directs the weapon on our dog. “Tschu!”, I quietly shout in Sars ear and ride in the fraction of one second between the gunman and Mogi. Even if I understand that he would shoot Mogi with pleasure, I cannot simply accept that. The man runs a curve around me and directs his gun once more on Mogi. Quick I swing round Sar and position myself again in the line of fire. A risky game I am conscious about that easily a shot could free itself and meet me. The irritating shepherd takes the gun down. A woman, probably the wife of the shooter, hurries badly shouting to us and increasingly the anger against us and the dogs. Bilgee and Tanja also appear in the meanwhile. A bad battle of words begins which Bilgee obeys calmly and friendly. Mogi, his young dog friend and another pretty dog stand there and are most probably not consciously in which mortal danger they are. Bilgee has kept two other dogs away from tearing one or two sheep of the family. He proved therefore a big service to the people. The dogs do not belong to us, he explains to the angry Mongols round us. Because the other dogs do not carry a neckband they are of no interest. But Mogi which has torn down the goat remains in the focus. While the family shouts down us and the man tries to take Tanja Mogi’s rope from the hand to shout him, I search the ice for the goat. It has disappeared. Obviously the poor animal has recovered from his shock and had made it from the ice. Now we ride to the ger of the family. It is directly beside the grit path. The family is still very angry, shouting at us and insulting us in a bad form why do you want to shoot Mogi? The other dogs were just the same involved. “These are not our dogs. They live here. They are a constant danger for your herd!” I try to give with sign language to understand. Nobody reacts. The badly looking man would like to tear the rope from the hand from Tanja once more. However, she holds the twisted leather firmly. Again he walks round Tanja and directs his gun at the dog. Tanja positions herself this time in between the man and Mogi. We are undecided how we should behave. With such a dog we cannot continue. He pulls the whole day on the rope and demands Tanjas whole attention. Sometimes he pulls her almost out of the saddle. It would be nice to let him walk around freely, but he simply likes to hunt everything what is moving mostly sheep and goats. It is a problem that he does not want to carry a muzzle. Here they would immediately shoot him and the problem would be fixed. Under no circumstances I can accept this. However, how do we come out of this situation? It looks like there is a law in Mongolia which says that every dog biting or even killing a sheep has to be shot. The subject money is quick the point of discussion. From wild dogs there is nothing to get. Cartridges are extremely expensive and one does not want to waste them on straying dogs. “70,000 Tugrik! (40€) We get 70,000 Tugrik!”, the woman shouts to us so loud that my ears ring. I still sit properly apathetic in the saddle and do not know how to react and how we clear this bad situation peacefully. 70,000 Tugrik to be paid is absolutely crazy! We already had this. We would pay the bill and they keep the goat. Why should we pay if we then the animal not get? Even if we are to blame here we do not want to be blackmailed or threatened. “We have no money”, I say. “We get 70,000 Tugrik!”, the woman roars at me. “Look, what they own! They have money! Give it to us!”, is the woman shouting during her husband stands beside us with the loaded gun. “Our goat is dead and you must pay!”, she further roars. "We have no money. We have spent everything on food in Khatgalì, strengthens us Bilgee. “70,000!”, is the relentless answer. “Show me the dead goat!”, says Tanja and bends down to go through the fenced area towards the two gers. The family follows her, while I still sit in the saddle. Minutes later Tanja comes back. “The goat walks around jollily. We have examined the body part Mogi has bitten and nothing found. Mogi only got the thick fur of the goat. It is obviously uninjured. None of the people here could show me only a little blood. They lie. They want money, this is everything”, she explains. “70,000! We get 70,000!”, it shrieks again and again. “For what?”, I ask. No answer. The man inserts a cartridge and directs the weapon once more on Mogi. Meanwhile I am getting angry. “They are not damn blackmail us”, I murmur, tear my camera from the pocket and take a photo of the man with the gun, his bad woman and the son. This shows anyhow effect. It looks like they are afraid the picture could prove like they threaten us with the gun. “Let us go”, says Bilgee, rises on his horse and rides of. When I turn my horse to follow Bilgee, the gunman lays his hand, as already experienced, to my reins. A mistake, he seems to feel my inflammable energy. Before I say something he pulls his hand again away. Meanwhile Bilgee comes back again. He offers them to shoot the dog. The family agrees. Oh no. Please, not. Bilgee rides once more away. Quietly I turn. Then I rise from the saddle and walk like in slow motion behind Bilgee. Tanja follows me. Bilgee stops. He binds his horse to a thin larch. He takes his gun of the back, while my heart contracts. “Please, not. I cannot admit this? What should I do?”" I pray to God as Bilge inserts a cartridge in his gun and lays it in a branch of a tree to be able to aim more exactly on the young black dog. Now she lies rather trusting three meters away from the horses, in the frozen grass and looks to us. Then the shot bangs. The black dog jerks fatally. I stand there as if I was in the wrong film. I feel sick. Tears run down my cheeks. This has the black dog certainly not expected when she followed she wanted to find with us protection, food and affection. She wanted to combine with people to survive the winter and now she has paid for her trust with her life. I am quite sure she was not present with the attack on the sheep. Also she has not supported Mogi with his hunt. She was just at the wrong time at the wrong place. Silently Bilgee takes a rope of the saddle, ties together the hind legs of the black dog and pulls her into the forest. Then he stows away calmly the rope again in the saddle bag and turns his head slowly to us. “Come fast. Let us go do not turn around, quick”, he whispers. We follow him down the path. The gunman runs behind us. His nagging family has stayed behind in the ger camp. It looks like he does not know how to handle this situation. He has got his blood victim. He received his revenge. It was not the dog which has bitten his goat, but it was a dog from the pack. The black dog is without doubt a victim. This will not be enough for him. He would still want Mogis death or money. Now, however, another dog was killed. The gunman has not counted on it. Bilgee has probably said the people there to shoot Mogi and simply taken the wild black dog to save Mogi the life. His clever manoeuvre could work out.“Is the man still behind us?”, I ask Tanja not venturing to turn round. “Yes, he is still on our heels behind us.” “Oh. Please, let this drama so peacefully as possible finish.”, I pray to mother earth, consciously that it has already cost a life. “Then, nevertheless, he should shoot me in the back”, shouts Tanja as she would answer my thoughts. What a terribly situation. And it was thus a perfect day. The distance between the man and us becomes a little bigger. We decide at the same time to rise in the saddles and to ride. Quite slowly we raise the tempo. It may not look like escape. A light bend of the way takes the view from us. We use this moment, to start to trot. Within few minutes we disappear behind a further bend. Now a person cannot catch up with us with out a horse.

Since two hours we trot already. We follow the shore of the Khuvsgul. The lake starts to freeze over at some places. We travel over ice, grass scars and about small brooks. Over and over again I turn in the saddle. No pursuers. Why also? A disagreeable feeling lies behind us.

In high grass we sit down exhausted. “Here nobody finds us”, I say to Tanja. “You mean they are behind us?” “I do not think so, however, it feels well to have a big distance in between these greedy people and us and to leave no tracks to those that they can not track us down. In the end they get the idea to visit us at night in the camp”, I answer.

“Denis?” “Yes.” “We cannot keep Mogi any more with us. Is this clear to you?” “Humph, anyhow.” “He is a sheep killer. This introduces constantly big annoyance for us, apart from that it brings us also in danger”, says Tanja. “What do you suggest?”, I ask. “We leave him in Tsagaan Nuur with a good family or send him to Mörön to Saraa. Mogi has attacked on this trip already four times sheep and goats. You see how people react on this. Also it is expensive to have such a hunter as a companion.” “Hmmm”. "Hardly is Mogi of the rope he finds something for hunting and biting, even here where there are no small animals supposed. This is a disaster. I can simply build up no connection to him. Apart from the fact he moves like a lunatic in the rope. He spoils a part of the trip for me. In addition comes that we can not take photos properly. You cannot rise simply from the horse unpack the camera and press on it. Only I must fix Mogi somewhere. And if there is nothing to tie how should I take a photo then? ",I hear a destructive huge number of logical reasons. “Well, then we make it in such a way. We find him a good family or send him by a vehicle to Mörön”, I agree feeling a lump in my neck.

With the sundown we reach a hidden camp with good food for the horses surrounded by larch woods. “From tomorrow the feed situation becomes even more difficult than up to now. We must leave the Khuvsgul in the direction of the mountains. There is hardly grass”, believes Bilgee and is glad to have bumped here into an extensive feed area

Mogi is bond on in a distance. It seems to me thus as he anticipates what Tanja and I have decided. In this evening none of us really gives him attention. The annoyance was too big. I sit wrapped in my deel, leaning crouching down to a trunk and look to Mogi and suddenly I must cry. Hiding my tears, I mourn for our dog. With pleasure I would have taken him on the whole trip on our side and afterwards with us to Germany. He is a town dog and not used to the outdoor life yet. We had not been able to invest enough time to coach him. On this horse expedition we are occupied from early in the morning till late in the evening. Apart from that it is not clear to me if it is possible to get rid of a dogs hunting instinct? Whether is this generally possible? Of interesting manner becomes that exactly this race whose name “Do Khyi” is called, is used to look after sheep and goats. In Tibet they are used as monastery watchdogs. The Do Khyi known for their robustness and perseverance and to be able to work under extremely cold climatic conditions. People like this dog race for their distinctive loyalty and sense of family. Humph, he really shows the loyalty and sense of family to us. He knows that we are a team. Whether does he also know that his life today hung on a silk thread?

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