“Paw-Tails” l July-Aug-05

Beating the heat!!
Who says dog is man’s best friend. Let me tell you, Oscar is a fair weather friend. With the mercury skyrocketing, Oscar sleeps in Nandita’s room where the temperature is 5 degrees below our bedroom (Nandita uses an air cooler) and when he feels cold he abandons her and ventures into our room. When it gets even hotter and we start to use our air conditioner, I can imagine which way his loyalty would swing. He also likes to poke his nose into the refrigerator not because he has any interest in the food but because it’s thanda thanda cool cool. Oscar perhaps doesn’t know that most of Delhi is facing a major water crisis. He spills his drinking water and enjoys his hourly swims. The neighbours are not going to be happy if they found out about his wet and wild behaviour. Not all dogs are as resourceful as Oscar. This is what you could do to help your dog survive the summer: Get an extra tanker of water from municipal authorities. Keep the refrigerator door open at all times. Trim your dog’s mane. During load shedding, take your dog for a long drive in your AC car. When indoors remove the dog’s collar, it’s like you wearing a tie at home with nothing to do and nowhere to go. Avoid sticking to your dog, I don’t think they would appreciate it in this weather. There are other ways of showing that you care. And if you are suffering from the scorching heat, you could train your dog to wag his tail vigorously when there is no electricity. Believe me it works like a hand held fan. Please do not try this if you have a Doberman or Spaniel! All the best, save electricity and water.
–Sadhvi Narang Mathur

“Paw-Tails” l July-Aug-05

Sharing my life with two lil’ darlings
Thinking of the happiest day in my life, reminds me of the instance when I was asked to write down my happiest day in my life in a slam book. At that time, I wrote that I was still waiting for it and was absolutely sure that it will come soon.
Soon after that, my school closed down for Christmas holidays. A day after Christmas, my parents told my brothers and me that they were going to help a friend to look for a suitable computer and asked us to accompany them. As we thought it would be a boring affair, we decided not to accompany them. In the afternoon, when they came back, they were carrying a little basket with a tiny brown thing in it. To our utter surprise, we soon discovered that there was a cute lil’ adorable Cocker Spaniel pup. She felt at home from the very beginning and immediately waddled around the living room, stealing our hearts.
When my school started, I rewrote the slam book, citing my happiest moment as how Sandy, our Cocker, came into our family.
Today, we have Sandy for over 3 years and a new addition Kali, who complete our family.
–Rosanna D’souza, Goa

“Paw-Tails” l July-Aug-05

My dog Spikey
Want to know a little more about my dog? I can definitely say that no dog is better than mine!
My dog’s breed: He is a little Dachshund, the breed chosen by my brother.
His name: He is Spikey.
How he looks: Jet black with brown socks, beady eyes and a shiny sniffing nose.
What I love about him: He is naughtier than me – here I have full competition.
Spikey a glutton: Completely yes. He loves to eat. Even when his tummy is full, he would not stop. He reminds me of a lil’ fat pig.
Spikey’s antics: He loves his mom and in an unknown place, keeps looking at her for reassurance. If he gets too scared, he just goes and hides behind her.
Finally, I would proudly say that no dog is sweeter than mine.
–Anav

“Paw-Tails” l July-Aug-05

Yeh dosti!
People, who have to live alone due to certain circumstances, get used to it but they crave company, any company. And dogs are very similar to human beings in this regard. Case in point – Shadow, my 2-year old black Labrador. He seems content spending large amount of time sleeping alone in the house, while I am away at work, he has an amazingly and endearing craving for company which is comic, touching and downright dangerous at times, example:
Dogs
Every single dog, no matter what the breed, sex, size, colour, race, is greeted with an energetic wag of the tail and enquiring look on the face, which says,
“You want to be friends?” He is particularly fascinated by puppies and can watch them for hours with a wistful look, wanting to join them in their romps. Perhaps, he still thinks of himself as one of them, not withstanding his huge girth and height! So typically male! Some special doggy friends are greeted with low whimpers, which means that he really wants to go over and give them a big hug! I feel like a villain when I do not allow him to do that and he gives me this reproaching, mournful look, as if to say, “How could you?”
While dogs are his first preference for making friends, Shadow is a fair-minded and impartial fellow and likes others animals as well. Goats, cows, cats, horses, camels, buffaloes, all animals, great and small are given the option to touch noses with him and be fast friends forever! Sometimes, this offer of friendship boomerangs on him, like the time a gigantic 10 tonne buffalo (buffaloes seem to have the most “attitude”) gave him a shove with his horns instead of a friendly nose shake (doggy version of the handshake)! As such times, Shadow immediately retreats to safer grounds, i.e. hide behind me and peep out to gauge the mood of the offended creature. Talk about timely re-strategising in the face of changing circumstances! So versatile, so adaptable and so very street-smart. Any management consultant would be proud of him.
People
People are Shadow’s second best love. While we are on our walks, the sheer volume of appreciation that they get in return overwhelms anybody who gives Shadow the slightest encouragement in any form. It might be by way of slobbering huge licks on any exposed skin parts or a gentle mouthing of their hands or enthusiastic snorts and grunts. There are times when Shadow almost seems ready to jump into their arms and go home with them. People who are standing near cars, especially if they are opening or closing doors are watched with bated breath till he finally decides that no, they are not inviting him to get into their car for a joyride.
Shadow loves to sit by the roadside and watch the world go by. For him, the whole world is a meeting ground to hang out and make friends! How I wish I could be more like him…
–Alpa Patel

“Paw-Tails” l May-June-2005

Our family pack
2001 saw me being a mom again – this time to an 8-week-old black lab, Rex. But tragedy struck when Rex passed away at 7 months age – leaving me a tearful mess.
My dreams for yet another 4-legged baby led me to place an advertisement for adoption of any breed at dogsindia.com. An email response arrived, with pictures of 4 cute mixed breed puppies looking for happy homes. I convinced my husband and 12-year-old son that this time we should adopt a mixed breed. So on June 5, 2002 we brought Sparky, a 3-month-old mixed breed puppy, into our lives.
From a scared chap who chewed anything under the sun, Sparky has now grown up to be a handsome young dog. He thrilled me from day one when he silently walked into the toilet to relieve himself!! And since then we have a toilet marked Sparky’s loo in our apartment!
With passing months, Sparky started showing traits of an excellent watchdog with great intelligence. All basic training commands came to him easy – and now his behaviour changes with our family dress code. Casual dress with the word chain means its walk-time, whereas my wearing a sari means its home-alone time!
However, I must admit that my overindulgence did bring out a streak of jealousy in him – towards my son. With proper training Sparky appears to be accepting his hierarchy in our family pack but still tries to blackmail me emotionally with his how-can-you-be-strict expressions! So one word of caution to all dog-lovers – being a mom means being strict too!
Sparky’s intelligence amazed me when I was deeply depressed with my dad in the ICU – he somehow sensed I needed comfort. So he poked me with his wet nose and heaved a deep sigh as if telling me I can unburden my sorrows on him. I was speechless!
I really don’t know what life would be without this naughty fellow who has a fascination for stealing socks (SOCKMAN my son calls him) and having’puja prasad… A wonderful companion who despite being a non-pedigree has all it takes to be a perfect mix of loyalty, intelligence and unconditional love.
I want to thank Lokesh and Guddu for replying to my advertisement and also request every dog-lover to adopt a mixed breed -I can assure you – you will never regret it!

– Shampa, Noida

“Paw-Tails” l May-June-2005

Keeping the love alive!

We had two beautiful dogs, a Chow-Chow named ‘Jhu Jhu’ and a curly haired Golden Retriever called ‘Satin’. Unfortunately, we lost them within a month of each other. Our family was completely shattered and could not think of keeping another dog.
I was the only one who insisted on getting another dog and despite all opposition one day I walked in with a pup! My parents had a look at him and melted down, as he was the most gorgeous – silver grey colour with blue eyes. The reluctance to have another dog flew out of the window. However, my mother was appalled as to where we were going to keep him as I had given my heart to a Napolitan Mastiff! He grew huge and at 5 weeks when I got him, he was already 8.5 kgs.
Anyways, he was christened ‘Duke’ and has grown to be a thoroughly spoilt royalty. My father doen’t likes dogs on the bed but this one insists on sleeping on his bed (between my parents) and when my father throws tantrums, he beseechingly puts his huge head on his feet saying, “Please let me be!” and cuddles up to him. Dad pretends to be angry but finally gives in!
Though we miss Jhu Jhu and Satin very much, Duke has brought back a lot of joy and happiness into our lives but God only knows what is in store for us as this gentle giant at 5 months, weighs about 30 kgs and already reaches the dining table. Nevertheless, he is our huge bundle of joy.
– Namrata Chandra, Noida

“Paw-Tails” l May-June-2005

A journey of friendship

I still remember the cold winter day when I picked up Sainik, a golden Labrador, from a farmhouse near my house. At first, I was very apprehensive about whether I will be able to take care of a small delicate life with my own hectic work schedule. But the instant I whistled and called him, he came running on his wobbly unsure feet and placed his head on my lap as if saying that he had already accepted me as his partner. That day and till today its been a journey of friendship and utmost dedication. He understands me completely and gets to know exactly when I am happy, irritable or sad. He diligently waits every morning for his daily walks. When I’m down with the burdens of daily life, he comes quietly and sits beside me with his tail ever wagging as if trying to cheer me up saying, “Come on! Alpha! Life is not that bad. Get up and face the challenges of life.” Looking into his large black eyes, I get the motivation and thank God for his selfless love which is totally incomparable.
– Bikram, Gurgoan

“Paw-Tails” l May-June-2005

My canine Family

Most of us are aware that human being is the only species that has the power and capability to protect other species. Yet, only a few of us choose to make use of that power and give voice to the mute. Those who share my emotions will also share the warmth that courses through the heart each time a pet bestows her life in your trust.

I became an animal lover ever since a pet dog named Buddy came into our family. Looking back now, had it not been for the series of cats and dogs we had as pets, I would have remained a lesser human being. Today, I am richer as a person because I have discovered the capacity to love and protect those that depend so much on us for their survival and continuity in this beautiful world.
My world revolves around Koko, the father dog; Kajol, the mamma dog and Koju, their six-month-old son. Koko arrived 4 years back on my doorstep, one rainy morning, shivering, hungry and obviously tame. He wolfed down the bread and milk I gave him. He was there again, on the doorstep for lunch, which he gobbled with equal gusto. Slowly, over the days, he wormed his way into the kitchen and finally my heart. Later, I discovered, his previous owners abandoned him from the nearby tea garden.
Koko is shy of riding in vehicles, but he loves to follow my car to my office, just a short distance away in the campus. He sits guard in the parking area until its time for lunch break. When he sees me approaching, he howls with pleasure and speeds across to our bungalow to outrace my car. He feasts on his favourite meal, rests a while and follows me to duty again.
Life for Koko was doing fine until he began to feel lonely in that special way. He disappeared for long hours. There was a moony look in his eyes and his interest in food wavered. I realised that he was in love! I sought to meet his girl. One fine day, there she was! Honey coloured with brown melting eyes, overweight body and a voracious appetite. Koko dug out a hidden roti from his hidey-hole in the garden and proffered it to her. Her eyes must have done the trick, I surmised. I christened her Kajol. She too, I was informed later, had been abandoned by her previous owners. The pain of abandonment must have brought them together.
Time saw them become a regular team and permanent members in my family. They fill up the loneliness with their unconditional love, non-judgmental acceptance and idiosyncrasies. Over the years, they have become parents quite a few times and endured the agony of being separated from their puppies. I suffer along with them each time this happens.
Both are quite mellow now and doze most of their time on their favourite couches before the TV. I have learnt from them a lot about trust, being non-judgmental and having healing faith in the power of being alive. I cannot imagine life without them. Each time I see their sleeping forms; I pray to God to send such angels to every home that deserves them.
– Farah Haque, Assam

A true love story…

Life is a mystery with its own twists and turns. Either you cry and get tensed about the adverse situation or you laugh on your worries. The philosophy of life at times becomes more philosophical when you have your dog travelling with you. I faced a difficult time when I happened to travel with my mother-in-law (MIL) and my loving dog TinTin by train from Mumbai to Baroda.
One is supposed to keep one’s pet in a case with a wooden shutter in the guard’s compartment. I did exactly that. As soon as TinTin went inside the cage, he started showing his power. Even before the train moved, he broke open the wooden shutter and came out with a winning smile and his tail swaying with full force like a flag of triumphant king!! Everyone around was stunned! The guard was terrified and got in touch with the parcel office. A desperate call was made to railway carpenter. They came rushing and decided to fix another shutter of a similar cage. I was happy to see the shutter, as it looked strong. But there was a twist in the story as the shutter was of a different size and it could not be fixed.
The guard panicked since one of the top most railway officials was travelling in the same train for inspection. He was not in a mood to compromise with the departure time but he could very well see love and desperation in my eyes for my darling dog. He asked me to board another train but I explained that my old mother was travelling with me and she had a blood pressure problem and she is diabetic. Also, she was in the coach almost 400m away and the train was signalling to move.
The guard finally came with a solution. He invited TinTin and me to his cabin. Although the actual ticket of Mr TinTin was Rs. 30, I had to pay Rs. 450. I was hesitant as I have never liked paying bribe to anybody, but my love for TinTin forced me to do so. I was given a piece of wood to sit, which my brave dog had broken. I was strictly instructed not to move.
There was no question of sleeping. TinTin was getting up at every station to find out whether it was Baroda or not. And after realising that it was not his destination he again used to put his head in my lap and literally start dozing. I was dozing too but of course my eyes were stuck to the gentleman who was staring at me and thinking whether he has done the right thing or not. He was wondering that how could I waste my confirmed ticket and sit on the plywood for the journey, besides paying Rs. 450 extra just for a dog. And probably he got his answer when he saw TinTin licking my face and sleeping in my lap. TinTin was my child, my love! I started believing that God always makes a way where there is true and unconditional love. I also learnt a very practical lesson that whenever you plan to take your dog in a train, you should always check whether the wooden shutter in the guard cabin is strong enough or not, or better still come prepared with a crate to carry your beloved in it!
– Hirath Pandya

Flashing Smiles all around!

Flash was an unwanted, ill-treated and uncared 5-month-old puppy when he came to my son and his wife in December 1999. He was skinny and badly infested with fleas, ticks, etc. He looked so terrible that even the vet could not exactly tell us which breed he belonged to. But with love and care, Flash is today a handsome, jet black 45 kg Labrador.
Flash is very obedient and follows basic commands. He says hello with a paw-shake and also does a ‘High 5.’ If Sweetie-pie, the Spaniel steps out of the front door, Flash ushers her in if he is told to. He even takes her for a walk by holding her leash and makes sure that she does not steps on the road. His favourite antic is to beeline for Dawg’s twinkling ball and rattle it. He walks around like a conquering hero.
I would like to add that Flash has a heart of gold. A month back, my son took Flash for a walk in the park. There, they came across a bunch of strays, terrorising a tiny kitten. In a flash, Flash chased the dogs away, and gently lifted the kitten by the scruff of his neck and placed him at my son’s feet. Then he gently licked him clean. Very soon, the kitten began rubbing against Flash, feeling very secure. We wondered if he still remembered his unhappy past when he went through the similar situation. After this very incident, he emerged as a complete hero who has conquered our hearts.
– E. De Sa, Mumbai