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When we moved to a new place seven years back – Luci was not yet one at the time – I told the L&M that we needed a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign on our gate. Not that there was anything to ‘beware‘ of about Luci as such, she being ever ready to be everyone’s friend and all that, but I didn’t want people opening the gate and sauntering in blissfully unaware of her existence and then having to run for their life when Luci made a sudden appearance. If I know people, I am sure that they would then turn around and blame us for setting a great, big, vicious dog on them.

Well, I am laughing thinking of Luci as this great, big, vicious dog, but then it is all her fault for giving that impression to everyone. Look at the way she stands erect on all fours, in a ready to fight stance, when she sees outsiders. There’s a no-nonsense look on her face. Her eyes look fearlessly into them trying to ferret out all secrets. Her tail is up and quivering with indignation for their having entered her domain. WHO ARE YOU? she asks in a deafeningly loud voice (as if you are short of hearing), AND WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS HERE? All she wants is to know, but newcomers (also those regulars who hear her often enough, like the newspaper guy) are terrified and ready to turn around and run for their lives.

So yeah, that’s why I told the L&M, to get one of them boards with a ‘Beware of Dog’ written on it. A plain and simple one. But he came home with this one with a picture. I was delighted. The dog looks just like Luci, I remarked. This way, even those who can’t read English will get the idea clear enough, he replied. Pure genius, that.

Soon the board was hanging on our gate. For seven long years now it has been discouraging people from walking in without first announcing their arrival by banging on the gate (which gets an immediate response BOW-WOW-WOW-WOW-WOW from Luci). The colors on it have faded, the dogs on it, no longer a yellow Labs, but bleached white ones. But no worries since it is still good enough for its intended purpose for quite a while to come.

Oh, by the way, if you look carefully, you can find Luci in the above picture, all flustered because I went down to take the picture without telling her. πŸ˜€

Β© Shail Mohan 2019