Bulgakov “Heart of a Dog”
A homeless dog Sharik, who lived in Moscow, was scrubbed with a boiling water by one cruel cook. It was December, and Sharik, with his side wounded from the burn, was threatened with starvation. He howled plaintively at the gateway, when a well dressed, intelligent-looking gentleman suddenly appeared from the door of a nearby store. To the surprise of the dog, this mysterious man threw him a piece of Krakow sausage and began to call for him.
Sharik ran after his benefactor on Prechistenka and in Obukhiv Lane. On the way, the lord threw him a second piece of Krakow. To Sharik’s even greater astonishment, a decent man called him into the luxurious entrance of a large, rich house and led all the stray dogs, the porter, past the original enemy.
The gentleman went with Sharik to a luxurious apartment. Here the dog learned the name of his benefactor – a professor of medicine Philipp Philippovich Preobrazhensky. Noticing the scalded side of Sharik, the professor and his assistant, Dr. Bormental, tied up the dog.
The dog settled in the reception of the professor and began to observe with interest how patients walked towards him – elderly gentlemen and ladies who wanted to restore the youthful freshness of love attraction. Insightful Sharik guessed that the medical specialty of Philip Filippovich is associated with rejuvenation.
But in the evening special visitors came to the professor: a proletarian type. These were “housing estates” – Bolshevik activists who were settled all over Moscow into the “redundant” rooms of wealthy apartment owners. The leader of the “lodgers”, who bore the purely Russian surname Shvonder, said that his seven-bedroom apartment was too large for Philip Filippovich. The conversation turned to sharp tones. Preobrazhensky telephoned an influential official and threatened that if he was not left alone, he would stop operating high-ranking party bosses. The official broke into Shvonder’s tube, and the “lodgers” retreated in disgrace.
In the evening Preobrazhensky and Bormenthal sat down to supper, feeding the dog. At dinner, the doctors talked about new – Soviet – orders. (See Dog’s heart. Dialogue over dinner.) Preobrazhensky assured that after the “housing-friendly” proletariat moved into their home, everything inside would decline. After the social revolution, everyone began to walk in dirty shoes on marble stairs. The Bolsheviks fell all the troubles on the mythical “devastation”, not noticing that it is in their own heads. The working class must work, and now it spends most of its time on political studies and singing revolutionary hymns.
Sharik listened to the reasoning of doctors with genuine interest and great sympathy.
In a few days spent at Transfiguration, Sharik turned into a well-fed and well-groomed dog. He was taken for a walk in a collar, and one homeless dog of black envy even once called Sharik a “lordly bastard”. Having skillfully licked herself to Darya Petrovna, the professor’s cook, the dog spent whole days in her kitchen, where he fell to various tidbits.
But on one terrible day, everything changed. One morning Borobital phoned Preobrazhensky and reported about a man who died three hours ago. Soon Bormental arrived with a strange suitcase, and Sharik was taken by the collar to the lookout. There he was put to sleep with wet cotton and subjected to the most complicated operation. The seminal glands of the dog were replaced by human, taken from the deceased. Then Sharik opened the skull, cut out the pituitary gland and also replaced it with a human. Professor Preobrazhensky did this experimental operation on a dog, suggesting that in this way strong rejuvenation could be achieved.
Dr. Bormental began to write in a special notebook observations of the operated Sharik. The changes that had happened to the dog shook both doctors. The dog was on the verge of life and death for some time, but then began to recover quickly, to eat a lot and to grow rapidly. Sharik’s wool began to fall out, its weight and height approached human. He began to rise from the bed and stand on his hind legs.
But the most amazing thing is that the dog began to utter human words. Among the vocabulary Sharika dominated swearing. Among the phrases he most often used: “Get down from the step”, “I will show you!” And “In turn, sons of bitches, in turn!” They began to put Sharik at the table and tried to inculcate him with cultural manners. To this he briefly replied, “Get off, nit.”