Pawsome analytical skills!

Pawsome-analytical-skills!I often look at my canine companion Coco and think, that the saying ‘it’s a dog’s life’ is way off the mark. I mean, she has it all – a loving family, plenty of toys, good nutritious meals, visits to the vet when she is not well in a pet parent-driven car and a housing complex filled with people who worry if she is not out with me. But I realise that her life is good because of her perspective and attitude towards life and the challenges that she faces as a sole dog in a house filled with humans.

Coco inherently knows that there are no problems…only solutions and deals with issues quite differently than we humans do. If there is a puddle of water on the morning walk path – no issue – she just looks at it and changes the direction of her walk slightly to avoid getting her paws wet and continues. She knows the art of problem solving – without having read any self-help or management books!

When her ball rolls under the sofa, she gets excited and tries various options to retrieve the ball. Each time this happens, she finds new ways to solve her dilemma. She is persistent. As a human, we most probably get frustrated if we cannot solve an issue immediately and look for easy short-term solutions rather than looking at the big picture.

What I learnt from her is that a dog approaches a problem with an open mind and engages in possibility thinking. As humans, many of us approach it with annoyance and a negative attitude, thinking of it as a hindrance rather than an opportunity to learn and grow. We set ourselves up for failure even before we begin. I’ve shared my observations with other pet parents and it appears their pet friends do the same. So, I am convinced that my dog is not a prodigy but has something that other canines know as well.

Problem solving is not only a valuable skill; it is also an art and Coco has taught me that the following subset of skills that are required as translated for the human mind. The first skill is creative thinking. You can call it thinking out of the box. The ideas will flow if you engage your imagination during a brainstorming session.

The second step is to check each option for sound reasoning and weed out unachievable options. Like a canine, be objective in your approach. The third and most important step is to approach each problem that you encounter with an open mind and positive attitude. That is the only way you will not only find solutions but better ones that work… just like Coco does!

–Vatsala Shukla, Delhi

I am Ziki… Ziki Ghatak… a Pekingese

I-am-Ziki...-Ziki-Ghatak...-a-PekingeseI was born on 10th December 2004 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. I flew down from Tashkent by an importer to Delhi and moved to a kennel. On 15th January 2005, while I was playing with my pup mates in the kennel, I saw my dad (Ajit) for the first time. He talked to the kennel keeper and wanted to take me to his home in Kolkata. Next day I flew with my dad to Kolkata on an Indian Airlines flight.

The airline uncles and aunties initially did not allow me to accompany my dad in the flight cabin. They wanted me to be in a cage put along with luggage. My dad convinced them to let me travel along with him in the cabin as I was very small. I remember my dad telling the authorities that if I am not allowed along with him in the cabin in a basket, he will not take the flight and travel by train. My dad was protective about me, I felt very happy and secure as I knew that I was heading to my real home…

On reaching my home in Kolkata from the airport, I was handed over in a basket to my sister (Riji) saying it was a basket of fruits… surprise! When she opened the lid, she saw me and jumped with joy and disbelief as if it were the best moment in her life. Hearing her scream my mom (Babi) rushed out from the kitchen and it was love at first sight. From that day till today I have a complete family.

More about me? I am five kg in weight. They call me a toy dog, but now I am a senior dog. My doctor’s name is Dr Gautam Mukherjee, I love him for everything except for my annual injections. He almost saved my life when I was badly ill as an infant. My groomer uncle’s name is Arup. He comes home to give me a bath, along with my dad. My best friend is my driver uncle Manik. I go mad seeing him every morning. He loves me like his own child. I love my toys… especially the squeaky ones, which I have around 50 of them in three different open trays for me to pick and choose whatever I want.

I love going for a drive which I do almost everyday. I look at my friends in the streets and hope they also get adopted by some loving family someday. I love travelling and I am allowed only in 1st class AC compartments. I have been to Mumbai, Delhi, Puri, Darjeeling, Sunderbans, Shantiniketan on holidays. I can’t stay without AC as I am from a cold country. I can understand Bengali fully and little English. Thank god, humans speak a lot. My dad’s one liner wish to the Genie is—“Wish my dog could speak.”

Yes, I am a fussy eater! I like chicken, fish and mutton liver, eggs and ice-cream, but I don’t like milk. I have a large house to live in… plays around in the garden… even on my grandma’s terrace… I love running around with the pigeons. I don’t know how to bite somebody. I love being with the guests when they come to our house. I’m sad that all hotels and restaurants don’t allow me in. My dad and mom never leave me alone, even for a minute. We go only to hotels/restaurants, wherever I am allowed. I love sleeping on the floor in summer and have a four choice beds in the winter. I love sleep with my mom and dad.

A typical day in my life? Well, I start my day getting up late, having Jagannathji’s prasad, I do my stretching and then going for a walk in the morning with my dad. When I come home, I spend time playing around with my mom. I have lunch around 1pm when I am not hungry and most of the afternoon I tag along with my mom to my grandmother’s place where I have my own bed and toys. I come back home from there in the evening and wait for my dad to come back from office and take me for a walk.

After a walk, I relax on a table outside in the open near our garden. I have dinner around 7pm when I am really hungry. Then most of the days my dad takes the whole family out for a drive, which I love the most. Coming back home, it is playtime with my sister and around 9:30pm, my dad does the daily brushing on me for 20-30 min which I love as I feel very light after that. I doze off around 10pm after kissing my dad.

Unmasking of Zorro!

Unmasking-of-Zorro!I never completely believed in the general notion ‘A Dog is Man’s Best Friend’. But Zorro’s presence in my life made me believe and gave testament to this statement. He is three and a half years old and really adorable. Zorro likes my father the most out of anyone else in our family and he loves going out for walks with father. He also likes car errands and whenever he sees our car, he goes and stands near the car door, expecting someone to open it for him to get inside.

Zorro, our naughty little Pug, loves fetching stones instead of playing with a ball. He makes it a point to get a stone every night during his walk with my parents. We have so many stones at home now and since my bed is low, I often wake up to see a stone lying between my legs and a very sweet expression on his face, his eyes with a spark of mischief and his little tail wagging wildly.

Zorro is very cute and he loves eating – his favourite being fruits like papaya, watermelon and mango. He is also fond of vegetables and like every other dog – chicken. Our entire family love Zorro very much and I can never imagine my life without this little dog who made himself such a necessity in my life.

Picture perfect camera-shy Prince

Picture-perfect-camera-shy-PrinceMy sweet pup called Prince is a cute Lhasa Apso… He loves to eat ice cream, bread and butter. My mom calls him goat because of his longing for peas, green beans, and most of all, methi & curry leaves. He is my mom’s son without him she can’t live a single moment. Prince likes to play with his rings and balls. He loves to play hide & seek, but he is a camera-shy, it is very difficult to click him in the perfect pose.

–Michelle Moursund

Burpy – a gift from Santa

Burpy---a-gift-from-SantaWe have a three years old genuine ‘All Indian’ Mongrel whom I chanced upon three years back in our society. We named him Burpy because as a pup he burped a lot! But we eventually came to know that he could make all sorts of noise, such as snoring, etc. Since we found him coincidently on Christmas Day, we consider him as a ‘gift’ from Santa. Me and my wife Namita try and ensure that Burpy gets the best—be it medicines, medical follow-ups, dog foods, his own space, vaccinations, etc. I genuinely believe that more and more people need to adopt Mongrels off the streets or from our local animal shelters. The amount of unadulterated love and affection we have received from him is beyond words.

-Ankur Khanna, Ahmedabad

My name is Bond, James Bond!

Have been a pet parent for years, now I am the doting parent of ‘Bond’ named after James Bond, my adorable six years old white Labrador. He is the most good looking member of our family. With his huge head and melting eyes, he sure is a stunner and can win any pageant. As for temperament, he is the most amicable and friendly. He is also sharp and talks to us when he wants his ‘bikis’ or has something to say.

Bond has a favourite perch on the stairs in the dining room from where he loves to look at all the goodies on the dining table. Sitting on the seventh step, he also talks eye-to-eye to my sons as they discuss matters with him. Quite a sight to behold!

God plans and cares for every living creature!

This is the story of a stray dog named Sallu who was born and brought up in our colony but lost his way and disappeared on a Diwali night (perhaps escaping the fire crackers). Among the gang of stray dogs, he is the most docile, affectionate and good looking. One day me and my friends – Dr Sunder Raman, Saraswathi, Kannan decided to go out for dinner at Swarana Restaurant, Janpath, New Delhi. After which we all headed for Nirula’s located near the Bhikaji Cama Place petrol pump (just opposite to our residential colony Safdarjung Enclave where lived several stray dogs. Among them, I suddenly recognised Sallu, my long lost friend. He immediately identified us and while all other dogs left the spot, he kept sitting outside the main door of Nirula’s waiting for us to come out.

The petrol pump attendants and Nirula’s waiters were surprised by the behaviour of Sallu. I came out and told them that I will walk him home. But the main obstacle was crossing the busy main road at 9.30 pm. Kannan and I walked Sallu up to the main road where the furry buddy stopped and refused to cross. The vehicle lights were terrifying him. Kannan then lifted Sallu and waited for the traffic to stop, but it didn’t stop.

Then Nirula’s waiters also came over and told us to leave Sallu with them as they regularly feed them. We looked at Sallu and asked him whether he would like to go ‘home’ with us? What I saw was a remarkable expression! He raised his head and looked thoughtful – I could ‘see’ him making a decision! Then suddenly Romey told him – “Let’s go!” and we all three headed towards a subway. Sallu ran with us, so full of joy. He crossed the subway and stopped to sniff the outside lane of the colony (which smelled familiar to him).

While entering our colony gate, he jumped with joy! Romey went ahead to drop him outside his home located just seven houses away from ours. The watchman informed her that they had been searching for him for past one week. When Romey returned, Sallu also came back wagging his tail as if to thank us. It was so overwhelming to see such affection. We were so grateful to get Sallu back!

Raja of my heart!

My pet’s name is Raja. As his name denotes, he is indeed a raja (king)! He is a lovely German Shepherd Dog and we are inseparable. We are friends, companions and of course, in my son’s language, I am his mother too! When he gets angry, he throws a tantrum! We all love Raja – he is the raja (king) of our heart!

Buddy and the bone trick

I have two dogs, Buddy and Tommy. Buddy recently gave us a fright. In an adventurous mood, he tried to eat his bone while lying on his back. Unfortunately for him, the bone got stuck in his mouth! I ran to my father for help. We managed to catch Buddy. Our watchman and electrician held him tight and my dad with the help of pliers took the bone out. Whew! It was out! Buddy didn’t try any more tricks that day, thankfully!

Love gets a second chance!

Love-gets-a-second-chance!Bucher came into our life when my wife Gitanjali had a miscarriage. To help her cope up with the loss and bring some cheer to our home, I brought home Bucher, a Boxer pup. Though Gitanjali preferred felines, she soon came under the spell of unconditional love of the Boxer pup.

The young furry buddy loved her and followed her wherever she went – in the kitchen, living room, terrace, bedroom, etc. He eventually filled the cavity of loneliness in Gitanjali. But fate had something else in store! One gloomy evening before Diwali festival, we went for a party and someone stole the young pooch. We frantically searched for him the whole night and for so many days…still there was no trace of the lost Boxer pup! Gitanjali felt as if she had lost another child. Furious but helpless, I finally went to a breeder where I found 7-8 smart Boxer puppies playing around. One naughty dude just popped up to approach me and started climbing on me. He was the chosen one for us.

Gitanjali adored the new Boxer and named him Bucher as well. In the initial days, she guarded the young Bucher closely and carried him wherever she went. Butcher even slept with us at night.

Bucher is a smart pooch now and he understands all three languages we speak – English, Marathi and Hindi. He listens carefully to whatever we tell him. And he is the toughest pack leader my locality ever had so far. Having Pedigree in the morning, chapatti in the afternoon and meat at night, Bucher is quite a smart commander among his friends who are really afraid of him for his unique ‘throat catching’ tactic. But ‘Shoot’ is the command he always seeks from me to attack his opponent or enemy!

Our son Veer also loves him dearly, but Bucher is our first child and he will always have that special place in our hearts.