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Mom, writer-editor, dreamer, dog lover, wannabe traveller...yes probably me

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The first 24 hours

I had never seen such gigantic ears on such a small head. I had never found the patience to say noo nooo noooo…to the sharp teeth as they chewed my ankles with acute interest. I knew those ears that heard the car horn and got the four legs running towards us. I knew the loving face that bounced along with the wagging tail came to me because I was venturing in his territory and hence a perfect teeth practise target. He counted me among the kind souls who tolerated and even played with him.

And he enjoyed chasing Arin as much as Arin enjoyed chasing him all around Sai Niwas, where my in-laws (and the providers of his spartan meals then) stay. That was till some HEARTLESS IDIOT beat him so bad that he started limping and having heard his life could be in danger, our hearts, weak as they are, melted.

But, being a cautious mom, or maybe a responsible parent, I had warned/informed/suggested/implied/insisted to my dear husband that Blackie - the stray who had made his cosy place in our lives - would not be allowed home without an anti-rabies shot.

That was till I saw him at the doorstep, scared, shy, apprehensive and yet trusting, limping a step behind Kunal, all google eyed. The choice of keeping him out did not cross my mind. Instead he was welcomed with a bowl full of rice and milk. That is how, Balckie with his all trusting eyes and always alert ears came home.

Agog yet comfortable in his new surroundings, he didn't even venture to check out the house! His territory for the first few days was limited to the living room, the dining room and the kitchen, where one of us always was. From worrying about his next meal, he now was on a full belly. From drinking drops from a leaky tap, he had his own bowl full of water.

Later that afternoon, while we were gloating in (and about) his presence, he fell asleep, curled up into a tight little ball in the middle of the living room.

Evenings in the Chakranarayan home largely mean music. There was Blacky's first surprise. Try as he might, he couldn't figure where the noise was coming from! Ears cocked, head moving to speakers across the room, he walked around looking, sniffing, wondering about the source and managed to get even more confused. Stupefied, he gave up and settled with a little thud near the stairs. Watching his ears twitch and his face express his dislike, we were in splits.

Then the TV came on. And Boy! Was that another shocker! Moving pictures were another first for the fellow. He managed a weak bark and turned to us for comfort and assurance. We were amused again. It took him quite some TV time to figure he could do nothing about it. Much later that night, he had relaxed considerably and chewed up my legs (I have scars to show for it :( grrrrooowllll...) and the night saw me getting up at midnight spending an hour with him on the terrace...so that I wouldn't wake up to a wet stinky morning.

The next morning, we were with the vet. Two hours, an Xray and two shots later, we were lighter by Rs 2000, richer by vitamin and calcium medicines, some shampoo and a confirmation on the fracture and dislocation.

While we wait and watch and wish that the bone cures itself, Blacky licks us and chews our shoes and socks, sofa and more. But we aren't complaining, dog people are like that only.

Arin of course is over the moon (I’m guessing). As for me, well I can see that I won’t go out as much, will have to manage 3 kids in the house and keep them from tearing each others hair, shoes and egos apart.

Black and brown with a bit of white and some fawn and some more shades of brown...

He came home limping out of the car. His first car ride. Followed Kunal blindly to the building, hesitated to get into the lift (his first lift ride) and walked into his home.
Sunday mid morning, April 22, 2012, Blacky travelled all the way from Modi Baug, near Mhasoba Gate- Agriculture College, Shivajinagar to his new home some 8 kilometers away.
Thus far, we had seen him around the in laws home. Found exhausted and malnourished by Ketan (the brother in law), he gave him water and Blacky found hope.
Back then, none of us guessed that hope would change to home a few months later.
That was sometime in December 2011. By January, he slowly gained a tiny bit in energy and found a following begining with the garbage collector who brought him biscuits when she could to residents nearby.
We visited often and Arin, took a fancy to him. Shortly thereafter, he christened him Blacky and declared he was his.
Proud that my son was following in my footsteps (somewhere), I encouraged the loving feelings. Sadly, Blacky started limping one day. We figured somebody had hit him. Disgusting humans, na? He was just a pup, not even atthe barking /chewy teething stage. Why oh why did they do that/ I was sad, but pushed all thughts of taking care of him out of my mind. Arins Dr (treating him for asthama) had suggested against bringing a dog home for "some more time."  I wanted a Jack Russel - when we could bring a pooch home- to get Arin to spend all his energy on the dog,  rather than on me.  Or then a Beagle or because of HTK, a Golden Retriever...
Then one fine day, people in and around the lane where Blacky stayed started complaining about him! when he actually did nothing. Thats when we started wondering what to do with him. And before I knew it, he came home!

Monday, April 2, 2012

H & B: Hot (under the collar) and Beautiful (in every way)

That fellow na is quite a brat. Agreed he’s the typical roadside ruffian. He’s even named – Baburao – to match it. But she’s no less. All fur and mischief, she’s got a pretty face and a temper that flies off the handle when B is around.
Moving their tails almost in unison, the trio (gorgeous mom K, handsome brother T and she) walk - oops march - right through his territory every morning. Striped like a tiger, this skinny, jumpy, loving dude has figured that of the three, she’s the biggest threat to his authority. Which she isn’t! Houdini’s (H) just Barbie in fatigues. Not possible you think? Here’s how I found out:
On every walk that I’ve seen them, when B is around, the three try to rip their wanna be alpha male’s (we shall call him S) arms out. Imagine the kind of arm twisting that goes into it. One man, three big dogs in two hands. Yep, its tough.

Should push come to shove, B has his pack to back him up. H's pack has not been put to test yet. On most days, H has seen S get angry and shoo irritating B away. Perhaps what H figured that her pack, S included will tear into his. But there came an exception to those days. There was this one-day when S wasn’t in the city. So walking duties were handed over to his always-smiling better half R. She got H and bro for their walk that morning.
Now before we go on the walk, I must mention that B loves me a lot. He walks with me up and down the road when I’m alone, doesn’t let any dog come close to me and talks to me about what he’s done since I saw him last. Yes, we actually do have a dialogue. He totally dislikes, abhors and hates me petting any other dog. So much that he gets upsets and growls and prowls displaying his annoyance. I feed him breakfast sometimes and bones on occasion.
That morning, I saw R with H and went quite delightedly their way. I forgot all about the rascalicious B hovering in the background. Before I knew it, H was snarling growling tugging at her leash and B was frothing, lips curled teeth out. And R had after a particularly sharp tug let H loose. There I was, watching B chase H who was running circles around us, leash flying behind her. R was standing quietly watching the crazy dogs and bro T was just ho humming minding his own business.
In that instant, I flipped. I forgot my own “let the dogs sort it out” logic. I forgot the other crucial rule – never get into a dog fight. I turned into H’s protector. And I overlooked the love that B had for me. There I was trying to shoo B while trying to grab H’s leash. After much no no–ing and bad boy ing, I got the leash and handed it over to R, who was as calm as the Budhda. (Wish I was half as calm for all my talk...) In the many seconds that all hell broke loose, I saw B grab H’s posterior and walk away with a tuft of her coat as his trophy.
And I realised that she is really just Barbie in fatigues. Totally Chic-ken.

As for me, I was totally a wuss at that time. I should have let them "sort" it out. Instead, I gave up on walking down B's road. Decided I was mad at him for being what he is - a dog. That was till yesterday when I felt awful, missed having him chatter nineteen to the dozen and took him bread and egg for breakfast.

All references to dogs are truly intentional.
Names have been reduced to alphabets to protect identity