“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