……..continued from the first part: Danny and others…..
The little Martians with big plans disproportionate to their own size wanted German Shepherds and/or Labradors. Awww… I mean who wouldn’t want them?? But I paused to take a look into the future and saw myself walking an energetic dog, all out of breath and panting (Me not the dog) and again put down that dainty foot and said a firmer ‘No’! Bigger dogs need not only lots of space to grow up in, but also plenty of exercise. It’s another matter of course that I regret not having opted for one of them. All that panting and running out of breath trying to keep up with an energetic dog would have had me in svelte shape (unlike the circular one I possess now), the envy and cynosure of the masses. Ahh isn’t life made up of REGRETS of all hues??!! Sigh.
The case for German Shepherds and/or Labradors was put forth in an impressive manner by the little Martians. The Lord and Master who was not a dog-fan, (all that would change soon little did he know it then, the poor man!!) and did not have an opinion either way, was just letting himself go with the flow, taking his cues from yours truly. As luck would have it, a friend called to say about this vet who had been talking about Spitz pups who needed homes. Soon things were settled and off we went to collect the two month old pup from him. The Martians (excluding the senior-most) were beside themselves with excitement, and secretly, so was I. Mid morning found us at the clinic and soon a tiny, sleepy little bundle was passed on to me. Awwww……….
What an absolutely adorable little ball of white fur, with black button eyes and an even cuter black nose!! Even before I had a proper look the fur ball had passed my hands on to those of the two little Martians. We, the Lord and Master and I, finished the formalities, got the card with the pup’s details from the vet and were on our way. The fur ball meanwhile had gone to sleep. We were to discover in subsequent days that sleeping was THE favorite hobby.
On the way back we stopped to pick up a few things at the grocer’s. Returning to the car we found the little Martians all worked up. It was crying!! It must be hungry!! Why did you take so long at the shop?? Righteous indignation shone on their faces. I could hear tiny sounds emanating from the fur ball which was now letting know its disapproval with the arrangement of things though in a subdued and piteous manner. Where is my Mom?? I want my Mom!! I pacified the little Martians. Give him to me, let me hold and comfort him. And then I found it was after all, not a ‘he’ but a she!! I was ecstatic. At last I had company!
Next came the squabble over the naming of the pup. One little Martian said Sherie and the other was all for Silky. What about you Mom?? Oh no I would rather stay out of this one, thank you! But wonder of wonders, into the arena that I vacated steps in the Lord and Master with his suggestion of Goofy. Goofy???? Three pairs of eyes look at him in disbelief and disapproval. The three names are written on little pieces of paper and a lot drawn. ‘Goofy’ comes up winner. The L & M wins. So ‘Goofy’ she becomes!
Such a sleepy pup as Goofy I have never seen in my life. All she ever did was sleep, sleep sleep… and you guessed it, sleep some more. The little Martians would lie on their stomach watching her sleep, patiently waiting for her to wake up. I would join the vigil once in a while. Since the Army would take a serious note of it if the Lord and Master followed suit, he simply put on his uniform and went to the office. But I doubt he found the past time indulged by his family worth emulating, anyway.
Goofy would wake up and look at us with her button eyes and sometimes go as far as to sit up. Then slowly she would slide to the floor and go back to sleep disappointing the waiting crowd which had hopes of watching a puppy antic or two. How unlike kittens who cannot sit still! Bathing time became a tussle. No, not between the pup and I, but between the little Martians and I. They were eager beavers all set to help Mom in a big way. Phew I was glad when in the days ahead the interest waned.
The usual pup phases of chewing anything and everything in sight was upon Goofy soon. She started keeping awake more now that she found how much more pleasurable it was to chew on things, especially the ankles of the family which had so lovingly adopted her. I bet she thought it was her positive duty to do a bit of chewing to let us know how much she appreciated this.
Jumping on to the bed and digging for hidden treasure was another favorite hobby. However much we tried to convince her that we had NOT, repeat NOT, hidden anything of doggie interest in our mattress, she refused to take our word for it. One day the sardar helper walked into the kitchen mournfully to report that Goofy had once again gone on her digging spree. The expedition having been kept a closely guarded secret by her had escaped our constant vigil. In her enthusiasm for finding the imaginary doggie treasure stashed in our mattress, she had torn my beautiful bed spread!!
There was a little patch of garden on the terrace. Goofy loved the plants so much that she dug them up to see if the roots were growing well. Once the garden became a barren patch, she would go stand there solemnly wondering just how the plants had died in spite of her constant nurturing. She hated the birds that encroached upon her airspace above the terrace, even if they were tiny specks in the sky. She would bark fiercely and run from one end to the other. Not even Pakistan would put in such strong objection if Indian planes were to encroach on their airspace. One day found her going snap-snap all around my face as I sat outside reading. I looked up shocked and found that she was snapping at mosquitoes that dared fly close to my face and above my head!!
The Bihari lassie moved South when the Lord and Master was posted to Trivandrum. She travelled in style in the truck along with the sardarji bhaiyya. She became an absolute fan of iddli. She prefers the uncooked batter to the real thing. Carrots vie with potatoes and cucumber (all raw) in her list of favorite foods, as also the dough made for rotis. Oranges, apples grapes are all to her liking. She spit out the banana piece the first time she tasted it in Kerala but on second thoughts gobbled it up. Meat, fish and chicken for her are passé.
With age the goofy dog who tried hard to live up to her name, mellowed down. She took a liking to a local cat Steffi, and took to letting her share her food. All cats to her were ‘steffi’ from then on. She quickly made friends with steffis (kittens) brought home, but those that sat on the compound wall, swishing their tails and looking at her superciliously were chased off the premises in a jiffy. She played cat-mother to two little steffis (kittens) to our delight. The canine Cleopatra that she was, she started getting attention from the local Romeos aspiring to the post of a canine Julius Caesar. (More about her beaus and the one who almost scared me to death, in a future post.)
She is now twelve years old and as sprightly as ever. She adores the Martians (The traitor, the turncoat..!!!! Grrr…..) and has relegated me to second place. Yet, I am the only one who can snatch her food from under her nose without her protesting. Even if I take her favorite carrot from her mouth right when she is chewing it, she looks at me placidly as if asking, ‘Ok what next??’ Now that the little Martians have grown into bigger Martians and have left home, she sticks really close to me hoping I wouldn’t disappear too. But unfortunately for her, I have, on a month long vacation.
That brings me to why I am writing about dogs. I simply had to write about Goofy. My heart broke when I left her at the dog hostel, tied and in a cage, she who has been absolutely free not even having to wear a collar for so many years now!! It almost felt like the Ultimate Betrayal. I heard that she is off food and pining away which depresses me even further. Only a week more and I will be with her once again, to chase her off the sofa, inciting her to chase that pesky bird or the sneaky cat with designs on the fish curry, jabbering to her non-stop that it lulls her to sleep, finding her with a coconut shell in her mouth asking for a game, have her waiting at the gate for me when I am back from my walk………. Yeah I am waiting to get back to her!! 🙂
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