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

Are puppies always a pleasure?

The word ‘puppies’ reminds us of lovely, sweet and adorable darlings. These are the reactions I get from most people when they see my four Labrador pups. These are thoughts that cross my mind too when I see them… but most of the times… my vocabulary gets limited to a high pitched –NO! STOP! OH MY GOD! SIT!!! OUT!! RIGHT NOW!! Even my neighbours are well aware with these commands by now!

My association with dogs dates back right to childhood. Luckily, I got married to a person who liked dogs and had Val Core, a cross between a Pom and a Pekinese. When he was 10 years old, we got our second dog – Treasure – a female Labrador pup, a gorgeous chocolate brown babe. She grew up to a beautiful Labrador. I found a handsome cream Labrador for her and a month later, I found that Treasure was pregnant!

With the help of my vet Dr Sunita, Treasure delivered four babies and I felt like a mom! Since Treasure was not well, it was a 24-hour duty for me to put the babies for feed every two hours. One of the pups was too weak to suckle, so I had to bottle-feed him. The puppy milk powder was available only in one shop and had to be made fresh every two hours. To be honest, I never did all this even for my own two children.

Anyway, they grew and the amount of care they required grew in the same proportion. I was on my toes the whole day long. My sofa set had to be polished every now and then, computer wires had to be replaced, telephone cords changed, lampshades were broken and books were all chewed up. It was then that I discovered my new vocabulary! But the adorable cute faces of the pups melted down all the anger.

It was then that I decided to find homes for my pups – Knight, Columbus, Crystal and Velvette. I managed to find homes for Crystal and Columbus. But, very soon, both of them came back as they could not adjust to their new homes. The reunion was difficult as the other two pups and the mother found it difficult to adjust again. I was awake for full 24 hours to make sure they did not bite them. Secretly, I was happy that I got my babies back. We are looking for excellent homes for them where they would be treated better than they are in my house!

If you are planning to keep a dog, remember that they are like children who never grow up! And to keep a dog, you truly need to love them in all stages. I personally request you that if you adopt one, keep her for lifetime.
– Grishma

Lovingly yours

Dogs have a way with your heart. Once you have one, you can never do without one. That’s exactly what happened to me. While on my evening walks and interacting with several people who walk their dogs, I came across a Lhasa Apso who had just become a dad. That’s where I found my pup Cocktail, a mix between a Lhasa and a Pom. She is a Valentine’s day baby. Cocktail has a fancy for bikes, I used to put her in a backpack and take her for a ride – she just loved it. Her fetish to chase cats got us into trouble. On a holiday to Pune, our lady decided to run after the feline and while chasing got pierced by a broken gate spike. I was in a state of shock and did not know what to do, luckily for us we got help and rushed to the vet where she got 5 stitches and recovered soon. This happened when she was an hyperactive 1-year-old. Today Cocktail is like a little lady and her boisterous days are history!
When Cocktail was 4-year-old, a friend of mine asked me if I knew anyone interested in adopting a Lhasa pup. Since I couldn’t find a home for the pup, I decided to keep him until I found a better place for him. The pup was sick and could not digest anything. Taking care of him, I adored him and he became a part of our family. We named him Tequila, he is three year old now. He wants undivided attention, he loves Cocktail but is very jealous of her. Whenever we play with Cocktail, he tries to push her away.
I am very proud of my babies. Cocktail and Tequila got an invitation for a Doggy’s day out at a Hawaiian party hosted by TailWaggers. Cocktail won a prize for the best kisses and Tequila for a Hawaiian dancer. Both my babies are darlings and I love them endlessly. Life cannot be the same without them, their smiles, wagging tails and unconditional love.
-Sanober G Master, Mumbai

Boozo buddy

Dog, in dictionary term means, “A domesticated canine mammal occurring in many breeds and that shows a great variety in size and form.” Ask a dog lover and you will get endless adjectives of all shapes and sizes.
We adopted Boozo when he was one year and two months old from a tea-stall man in Noida. His original owner left him there, where he was tied for the whole day and not taken care of. My sister and I could not bear the sight and decided to adopt him. From the very first day, he made a special place in my heart. He was not at all uncomfortable being next to a stranger. The lovely expressions in his eyes simply mesmerised me. He wanted to tell us that, “From now on, please forget all your fears and sorrows…Main Hoon Na!!” Apart from the name Boozo, we call him by names like buchi, motu and gundiboy (gundi implies lovable) and he responds to all of them.

My parents were not fond of Boozo at first, but today the irony is that when we go out shopping, my mom makes it a point to remind me to buy something for Boozo !

Boozo’s antics are endless, he loves to wake me up in the morning with his cold nose, he is a drool monster when he looks at me eating, it’s a crime to eat and not give him. Whenever I get late for his walk, he picks his chain and brings it to me. Whenever the alarm rings, he gets very excited as he knows it is time for me to wake-up, and if I don’t get up, Boozo becomes my natural alarm clock by growling- so I have no choice but to jump out of bed and take him for his walk. My friends who were initially scared of him are now his friends too!

I am very thankful to God for Boozo and I hope that he stays healthy and strong for a very long time to come.
– Shweta Shukla, New Delhi

My best friend

After the death of my 3 year old Spitz Bobo in 1990, my father was so shattered that he absolutely refused to get another dog. I love dogs and wanted one but I could not convince my father to adopt one.
My wish came true on our anniversary when my husband got me “Scooby”- a crème colour Labrador puppy. We instantly fell in love with him. As a puppy he kept us on our toes. Till date, we have never left him alone at home. Whenever we go out, we drop him at my mom’s place. Scooby loves his visits , as he is pampered there as well. My father has acquired a special liking towards him but Scooby is my mom’s pet. He follows her wherever she goes.
Scooby’s favourite pastime is playing ball with my husband. Walk time is all-time, he is always ready. He is the shredder of the house and loves tearing newspapers and plastic packets into tiny pieces, what an achievement it is for him.
Life seems to be complete with Scooby. He is the baby of the house, all our decisions revolve around him. We just adore him. It’s definitely a true saying, “A dog is a man’s best friend”.
– Julie Dhariwal, Kolkata

Sherry – our bundle of joy

Life hasn’t been the same since this bundle of joy named Sherry (Labrador) came into our lives. Sherry completed our family.
Sherry was a winter baby. She came to us in winters, when she was less than a month old. It was a major task to keep her warm. For first few weeks, the whole house was decorated with newspapers. Within a month, she was successfully trained to use one of the toilets in the house, so well that for a long time she did not know how to do it in the natural surroundings.

Sherry slowly transformed into one “Demolition” devil and chewed all furniture, chappals, shoes, mobiles, etc. She would collect all her treasures and hide them. At one stage we were all walking about in half chewed slippers and mismatched pair of socks!

My cooking skills are always under microscopic examination, but Sherry makes me feel as if I am the best cook. She laps up whatever I make for her. My husband accuses that I cook only for Sherry and they have to make do with what they get!

Sherry is very spiritual. Though it is hard to believe but it is true. She sits with me for my morning and evening prayers. Any metal sound sends her into a barking frenzy. But during prayer time, the bell sound does not trouble her! What she really loves is getting her prasad after the puja!

She is a voracious snacker! Anyone eating, she will be there right in front with an expression as if she has been starved for months together. With the result both mother and daughter are perpetually fighting the bulge battle. With two brats at home(Sherry and my son), the house is converted into a skating ring, football field etc. Sherry loves to skate with her food bowl and play fetch. In the best of times, the house looks as if it’s been hit by a typhoon. She loves her outings, specially her car rides. When all of us are traveling, I have to sit in the backseat with her. Even though her side of window is lowered, Sherry insists on sitting on my lap and look outside!

We recently celebrated Sherry’s 1st birthday. It was essentially a thanksgiving for she has filled our lives with so much love, joy, peace, laughter and harmony. We had Sherry’s doggy and human friends over for a lovely celebration.

Thanks to Sherry for teaching us how to give and receive love unconditionally.
– Maya Dwajan, Noida

“Paw-Tales” l July-Aug 2004

Taking me by storm Storm Front Batra, a German shepherd puppy,  came to us at a time when I was not ready to look at the possibility of another four-legged friend, having just recently lost our beloved four years Dobermann Nero to kidney failure. My husband suggested we go to our friend’s pet shop to “play with the puppies” to cheer ourselves up. That decision was  to enrich our lives forever…
At the pet shop, it was the dark uncontrollable German shepherd pup who  caught  my  attention  and  heart and  I thought of him  that night and the next night and the night after. My amused husband lovingly christened him Storm Front Batra on day three. Storm was two months old and he came to us exactly three days after Nero’s death.
Used to greeting me with a gigantic jump each time I got back home, all this had to be changed once I got pregnant. On the first day back from the doctor, I took his two paws in my hand and explained to him how “ mummy had a baby in her stomach” and his jumping could hurt it.  It was like we had made a connection that afternoon, till date Storm has never greeted me with a jump again. A loving wag, a kitty brush and wet slurps, yes, but never a jump again!
In the past four years, Storm has been the center of our universe, the universe shifting slightly  after the birth of our first child but once again firmly in place today.
Storm  – the love of our lives is totally intimidated by our two and a half year old daughter. Scared by her fidgetiness and her whisker pulling, he steers clear of her path, clearly terrified of her hands, he charges to me for total protection.
As I write, Storm is trying to nudge a biscuit off Ameera, not managing to get a bite in without dropping his ball which is tightly secured in his mouth, aaah life is back to normal.
And I, his Mama, bask in this glory.
–Aparna Batra

“Paw-Tales” l July-Aug 2004

Blackie – the macho
Animals have their on way of reaching your hearts and Blackie, our pet dog is no exception. He came to us as a small little black pup on a frosty cold winter morning, two years back. We spotted him shivering between the flower pots at our front door. We gave him something to eat and since then, he has been in our house. We feel that it was Blackie who adopted us!! Blackie has a silky black coat. And the name Blackie struck to us as apart from his mouth, chest, paws and the tip of his tail, he is all black. Moreover, black is the most dramatic colour in any composition and we feel his composition is the best. People are often scared with this huge black creature but behind his huge body is a soft and friendly heart. His most amazing aspect is his speed with which he can run. He can keep up with any moving object like a car, scooter or an auto. He is a child at heart, often enjoying playing with mud. We often find him full of mud, waiting to be cleaned! What sometimes bother is the look I often get from people who ask if he is a stray but Blackie has learned to maintain his cool. He is the world for us and nothing can deter the love we have for him. Blackie has inspired me to do something for dogs. I often dream of setting up a dog’s hostel and a parlour for dogs, irrespective of their breeds. Maybe some day I and Blackie will find this dream come true. –Radha Spolia

“Paw-Tales” l July-Aug 2004

Pati, Patni or voh!
I am not the usual dog lover. I never had a pet, not even the occasional low maintenance gold fish or parrot. My disdain for dogs is probably hereditary. As a child, my mother was attacked by a pack of stray dogs and the fear of dogs has been transmitted to me through her genes.
The twist in the story is that I am now married to a family of dog lovers. For the last seven years before my marriage I had been the single child, my only elder sibling had moved out.  From being the focus of attention of the family, I found myself in a situation where I was competing with OSCAR. Oscar is a Golden Retriever, aged 3 years and the blue-eyed boy of the family.
Before we got married, Oscar and my husband were roommates, or rather bedmates. Hubby used to wake up with Oscar, silently waiting for him to flutter his eyelids. Sometimes, he would wake up with Oscar lapping his face. All that has changed now.  I am sure my husband misses the male bonding that he once shared with Oscar but he never dares to admit it.
Oscar now sleeps with my in-laws. Initially, my mother-in-law i.e. Oscar’s mother would bang on our door to wake up hubby for Oscar’s morning walk. However, that was met with strong opposition from me. Getting up at 6.00 am in the morning is absolutely criminal.
But, this is not the end of it. Though we have been married for barely six months, husband has a picture of Oscar as a screensaver on his mobile. And you know what his explanation is, “You’re my bibi and Oscar my baby”. Husband cootchie cooes to Oscar and me using the same sweet nothings. I wonder if Oscar has ever noticed this! Even if he has, thank God, he is not complaining.  I sometimes wonder if dogs also feel jealous like women.
But, things are gradually changing. Oscar and I are now getting to know each other. I allow him into our room but he can only put his front paws on our bed. Maybe, it is only a matter of time that he would find his way back into our bed and into my heart too.
–Sadhvi Narang Mathur