Friday, May 05, 2006

Of dogs

We all know that the world is divided into dog people and cat people. And I definitely fall into the former category. That’s because my whole family except my mom has always favored dogs. And since she was outnumbered, we’ve managed to convert her into quite a dog person too (though she still likes cats). It’s a different story that I’ve never had a dog at home. My sister and I would have loved to have one, but my parents didn’t want us to have the liability of looking after one. So we were encouraged to try other means of getting close to a four-legged woofer. We only accompanied our parents for formal visits to people’s homes if it was a ‘dog-house’. We launched ourselves frequently at friend’s/neighbours’ places if there was a cute lil dog out there. Never mind if we had to endure boring owners. Our biggest aide was my aunt, a crazy dog lover. She knew more than half the town and definitely the ones that had dogs. The moment there was news of pups, we would be off with her to cuddle the balls of fur. And we continue to ambush friendly looking dogs being taken for a walk on the streets.

One of our doggie friends was Pepper, a hyper active black lab in my previous apartment. He used to love being in our house more than his own as we fussed over him a great deal. Besides, sitting all day long with only a servant at home must have been really boring for him. A maniac, he would run out of his house at the first opportune moment. And then the free spirit would loiter around the neighbourhood till his servant caught up with him after a good chase. That’s when we realized why his owners had a bell around his neck (my sister found this highly insulting for a respectable being like Pepper). But soon we trained our ears to the sound of the bell.

Bell=Pepper=Lets go meet him.

Many a times we would hear the bell run down the stairs and turn silent at our floor. And when we ran to check near our door, there he would be, happy and hopeful, waiting to be let in. He enjoyed chewing anything that fit in his jaws and would bolt like a gunshot if chased. I’ve yet to see a dog run faster than him. It used to terrify us that he would collide with something, running inside a cramped apartment. But he was equipped with a powerful set of air brakes and could halt from 100kph in a split second. It was funny and sad watching him throw a fit when he had to go back to his house each day. He would dig his paws in while his servant yanked and cajoled him out. He pretended as much as we did that he belonged to us at times.

And then, after some months his visits trickled down till he stopped coming completely. His folks were taking more interest in him now. We used to watch him go out for more rides and walks with the owners than servants. Our naughty little friend had gradually found true love at home. Or so we believed. At least they were keeping a better eye on him now. Besides, I bet they were a little embarrassed at us showing that much interest in him. We sulked initially and especially when we heard the sound of that tinkering bell. But we were glad for him. We didn’t have to feel that sorry for him anymore and knew the nut was having a jolly good life with his folks. Very soon we moved out of that apartment and that pretty much ended our association with him.

So hey Pepperi, hope you’re still as crazy as ever.

And here’s to all my canine friends from Robin to Rani whose mischievous eyes, warmth and wags have made life a lot of fun.