Maui and Baby are the names of my two English Cocker Spaniels—a Golden male and Black female aged three years and one year respectively; no matter how incapable and nincompoop I may sound, these two dogs have been the most challenging of all the dogs whom I have ever brought up in life.
English Cocker Spaniels are said to be amongst the most gentlest, playful, submissive, obeying and pleasant breeds of dogs to have in one’s house, but what you experience firsthand is entirely different from what is said. I had done my homework thoroughly before bringing Maui and Baby home, and had genuinely felt that Cocker Spaniels are irrefutably the dogs to have, considering how easily they can be trained, taught the ways of this world.
Both Maui and Baby were brought home in the puppy stage and at different time periods, but their reactions to this world and their pet parent were entirely similar, despite the fact that they were from different ancestries/parentage.
Maui: Moody, arrogant and haughty
Maui, from around three to four months old, had absolutely no love for his caretaker i.e. me. He’d ignore me all day long, prefer to sleep in his bed with all the stuffed toys, and even when he was picked up from his bed and made to eat his food, he’d always take out a deep growl showing utter disregard to me and for the food, always. Moody, arrogant, and haughty, was my response and innate feelings about how Maui will grow up to be, and was I right or what!
From refusing to be toilet trained to peeing on and eventually tearing apart my expensive quilts, from smashing all the vintage flower pots that had been in my house since the early 1980s to finding a deep, almost philosophical, sadistic pleasure in doing so, from chewing onto the entire sofa set like a rabid rat, to running outside the house on his own whim and fancy, getting bitten by stray dogs, and when being caught, biting me, and eventually, both he and me being rushed to the hospital for our anti-rabies shots! His being the animal hospital and my being the human hospital, just in case one got confused!
In the beginning it’s all fun and games, but when your dog reaches a certain age, for instance, a year or above and is determinately a ruffian and a goon by nature, then things seem to be getting out of hands. Maui was the quintessential dog who wanted to live life on his own terms. He wanted to be taken for a walk when he felt like it, to never be shouted upon when he’d bark in the middle of the night at the lizard on the wall, to be patted on the head whenever he’d turn up, irrespective of no matter how extremely busy one maybe. Maui was and still is that dog, who resembles that aunt or uncle we all have in our family, who will never listen, and want to get things done either their way, or it’s the highway! Close friends and relatives would suggest Maui to be sold to someone else. And all I would think to myself would be, “What if this was the case of my own child?” So eventually, I listened to none.
Skip to now, three years after Maui entered my life, and honestly, things are still quite the same. Maui the golden boy hasn’t really changed but has nonetheless developed a sense of belonging with me and my family. He is slightly more obedient than he always was, or wasn’t, he has learnt to ‘handshake’ when asked to, will roll on the floor when requested, and bark when advised with the word ‘choo’.
Baby: an all-time follower
Baby, on the other hand, is a dog who has taken it upon herself, by the power bestowed in her by the almighty, to follow Maui in all of his footsteps. In all of Maui’s crimes, both indoors and outdoors, Baby is always the second culprit, the sidekick, literally by Maui’s side, whenever the car seats are torn, shoes and stilettoes mutilated beyond recognition, dead rats being brought into the house, to secretly entering the kitchen to see what’s up for dinner!
Brought home over a year ago, Baby was a little puppy, whom Maui wanted to shred into little pieces, when he first set eyes on her; but it was only a matter of a week, when suddenly, came over Maui, a magical transformation and he—the destroyer, the demolisher, the uncontrollable, the EVIL in disguise of a dog – developed motherly or rather, fatherly feelings for little Baby! From letting her cuddle with him, to being her ragdoll and allowing her to chew on his ears, to letting her be the first to have a stomach full in his bowl of food, Maui became a ‘proud parent’, teaching all the tricks in his bag, and making Baby a mirror image of himself.
Whatever has just been described above with regard to Maui, is precisely what Baby the mischievous beauty does all day long. It’s like I’ve been cursed or something to have dogs in my life who will NEVER listen to me, after all these years of having dogs who’ve been the most loving, respectful and obedient ones! Baby, now transformed into an elegant black beauty with curly fur, is nowhere even close to be graceful or poised.
Baby, like I said, is a mirror image of Maui, and there’s nothing in this world that will ever change Baby & Maui from being who they inherently are. They are disobedient, unruly, disruptive, uncouth, uncaring and everything else in the world, but they are the LOVE of my life. I can never trade them for the world, will never let them go, can never let them go, primarily because the bond that we three share with each other is indubitably priceless and tremendously precious!