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Don’t go by the look on her face. All Labradors have a butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-my-mouth look by default. Or is it the I-am-the-saddest-dog-on-earth look I am thinking of? Hmm… it could be either or a third one, the no-one-loves-me-my-food-is-two-inches-to-the-left-of-where-I-want-it-to-be look. This last one takes the cake, and a lot of patience too. I should know, I deal with it every day.

It had not always been so. Ever since she got officially promoted to a ‘senior’ dog, she is picky about where she wants her food to be kept. She is a poor eater – has always been so – and quite unlike the Labrador equivalent of a glutton dog, eats only as much as a cat would, or a small dog. Some illness along the way had put her off food totally. So sometimes I have been known to take the food to wherever she was and setting it before her to try and tempt her to eat. How else could I give her the medicines on time?

And, now? Now she chooses to sit at one place and wants the food to be brought to her. I don’t mind. I’d gladly do it for her. But what when I do so? Luci gets up and moves away to a different place. One would think she doesn’t want to eat, but then one would be wrong. She whines, the give-me-my-food whine from the new place she is at (about a feet or sometimes just a few inches away!), which whining she thinks goes with her new ‘senior’ dog image. Okay, food moved. Eat now, baby. No way. She goes to a third place. If you ignore her, she whines some more. No one is feeding me today. No one cares for me. I am such a lonely dog.

Third time is usually lucky, a few endearments thrown in does the trick, and she starts eating. The house-help was watching the ‘drama’ one day and hitting the nail on the head, she said, ‘It’s because you indulge her that she behaves this way. You have spoiled her!’ [Here I have gotta add what mother said on hearing the help. ‘She (me!) has got a lot of patience. When I get old and become cranky, she’d probably care for me the same way.’]

Others have told me this too, that I am putty in Luci’s paws, that’s why she makes me run around, they say. But I beg to differ. It is only now that I do so. She deserves a little pampering now that she is ‘senior’ (by definition). And that brings me to the ‘don’t go by the look on her face’ that I began the post with.

This pity-card-playing canine manipulator of mine, transforms into someone unrecognizable on a few occasions. No traces of the I-am-so-old-I-wanna-sleep-all-day or I-am-so-old-please-give-me-more-and-more-pettings or I-want-my-food-kept-here-not-there-and-not-there-no-not-there-either will you see in her other avatar. First, when she suspects someone is at the gate. Second, when she sees a cat. The third, when she hears thunder.

Most dogs are scared by thunder. Not so, Luci. Where other dogs cower beneath sofas and cots or stick close to their humans, she runs out of the door into the open to stare at the sky and bark her loudest bark. I dare you to come down here, she says throwing the gauntlet at the invisible dog. Shamelessly hiding behind clouds and barking down at me, and my dad and mom too! Show yourself, you coward of a sky dog!!!!

These things are not to be dealt with lightly, according to her, the iron hand is the right approach. Her dares though, go ignored. Puzzled by the lack of show on the part of the dog in the sky, Luci tries to provoke by calling it all sorts of unkind names at the top of her voice. To think the season of thunderstorms has only begun. Earmuffs, we need earmuffs! 😉

© Shail Mohan 2020