“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:
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 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

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