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Facebook who has cottoned on to the fact that I am a serial offender when it comes to cute dog videos, goes out of its way to push them on me and sucker that I am I fall for it each and every time.  Thus it is that I happened to watch and then join the ranks of the followers, nay adoring fans of Sporty the Dog and Archie aka Thieving Archie on Instagram.

Sporty the Dog is a ‘self-walking golden retriever’ according to his bio, who lives in Chicago, but has fans all around the globe. There are plenty of videos of him walking the streets of his city, holding his leash in his mouth.  It is the cutest sight, him gambolling along, in various interesting get-ups, turning back every now and then to make sure his dad is right behind. He stops expectantly when he sees people on the way, his body language suggesting, ‘Here I am. If you wanna pet me I am all for it. Nay, I demand some petting from you nice people!’

What had me in splits was a video of him walking to a mannequin in a store and wagging his tail. ‘Hello!‘ he seemed to say. ‘Here I am! Aren’t you gonna pet me?‘ The lack of response clearly puzzled him. Here he was providing the opportunity and someone was actually refusing?  Whoa! Who could it be that had not succumbed to his charms? Yeah, I ask too, WHO could it be?!! For if I were a mannequin, I’d most certainly have jumped up, thrown my hands around and hugged him!  Probably scaring the living daylights out of him, sigh. Never mind. It’s good I stay in far away India.

There’s another absolutely adorable video of Sporty posing amid an admiring crowd during one of his walks. it reveals that he takes his obligations towards his fans seriously. The expression is one of joyful acceptance of the adulation as his due, his dog-given right even.

Now, about Archie, also a golden retriever. He is someone I started following only recently. Archie is this big, handsome fella with eyes to die for. Naughty! screams his face. His modus operandi is running away with whatever he can find, magazines, shoes, wallets… just about anything will do, remotes topping the list. Hence his name Thieving Archie. Having started early, according to his mom, he is an expert at it now. All he does though with the things he has swiped, is strut around, the loot in his mouth, letting his family come close and then running away only to stop and stare as if asking, ‘Aren’t you gonna follow me?’ then running off again. The cute show off!  I can so imagine that happening because Luci does the same with my stole, or shoe, especially when I get back home from an outing. Archie has a brother, Vince the cat and together they are a pair, the cat leading from the front.

There are other dogs too. But every time I open Instagram, these two are the ones I look out for. They are my mood-lifters. I cannot get enough of them. Recently I opened Instagram after a gap of few days and found Sporty’s page full of prayers and good wishes for him to get well. I went cold. What was happening, or had happened? Tears welled up in my eyes when I read he was fighting cancer. That’s when it struck me with force once again, the amazing bonds we form with strangers on the net, and now dogs too, how their pain touches us deeply just like that of those physically with us. Subsequently I read that Sporty is now back with his dad and coping well. I hope they have more good times together.

©Shail Mohan 2018

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