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On some days, as soon as Luci is let out, without any urging on my part whatsoever to get going, she dashes off. What about that, you wonder. Dogs like going out, don’t they? Or it must be that she was in a hurry to do her business. Nothing extraordinary about that. True enough. But you see, that’s not why Luci rushes off.

Nowadays Luci, who was a Marley-in-the-making in her younger days, is more like a dog preparing for the title of the Laziest Dog on Earth or so it seems to us. At a few months short of her tenth birthday, she feels she is too senior to move fast, or move at all. Whenever you open the door and ask her to come along, instead of pushing past you like she used to in her younger days, she pretends not to have heard you at all. Excuse me, you talking to me? Some of the time, she considers the request seriously for a while and then decides it is not worth her effort. At other times, she fools you by getting up, walking a few steps, sitting down to scratch herself and then laying down, deciding to shelve the whole thing. When she does decide it is worth her while to go out, Luci makes it the slowest walk possible putting every snail in the vicinity to shame. It’s like, I’d rather not pee or poo and I am doing this going-out thing only because you asked nicely (..or ordered me to).

On some days though, as soon as Luci gets to the open door, she walks at a brisker pace (no running!) making you wonder if she is in a hurry to do her business. Nope. It is because she has smelled the cat from next door. This cat who has taken to curling up on the cushion of the chair in our front verandah. Sometimes the cat can be found stretched on the roof of the car, or the room next to the gate. In short, though it has a home of its own, free of any kind of dogs and lots of space all around, it prefers our house to spend the day and sometimes nights, dog or no dog. The wily cat knows the dog lives inside the house 24×7 and as long as it is alert enough to make itself scarce when the clumsy dog (which doesn’t run!) walks out making a lot of noise, it is safe.

The dog could walk as briskly as it wanted, it could never catch it, the cat knows. Catch me if you can. Besides, the cat could shinny up the wall and slither down it to reach the safety of its own house in like a second. What’s more, the cat also knows it could fly to Timbuktu and be back in time for lunch by the time the silly dog finished sniffing under the car and running around it in circles.

In spite of all its bravado, the cat IS a wee bit wary of the dog and her mother. Look at it watching me and Luci in the front yard from its safe perch on the roof.

© Shail Mohan 2021