“Just come and see what she’s done!” shouted mother angrily. The whole household rushed to the drawing room to see what had happened. Molly as usual, was the first one on the scene, shoving everyone else out of the way. Though she was just a daschund, therefore just ankle high, Molly possessed a powerful pair of shoulders. When she built up momentum, she could knock you off your feet if you happened to be in her way. She rushed to the corner of the sofa that our mother was pointing at. The brand new leather sofa that was my mother’s pride, had been badly attacked by a sharp set of canines and the corner looked very ragged. Molly’s momentum led her right upto mother’s feet, before she realized her mistake. A rolled up newspaper landed two sharp raps on her backside. Without a whimper, she scuttled into the bedroom to hide under the bed. Her pride was much more badly wounded than her bottom.
She spent the next few hours sulking, refusing to come out in spite of much coaxing and cajoling. She wouldn’t come out even for her meal. Several hours later she emerged, to sit quietly apart while the rest of the family watched television. After a while, she sidled upto mother and rubbed herself against mom’s legs. It was her way of apologizing. Mom stroked her head and all was forgiven.
Molly was the third child of the family. It never ceased to amaze us all at how human she was in her behavior and emotions. She would be as excited as a child at Diwali, unlike most dogs. She was always in the middle of the fireworks, flowerpots and “Zameen chakras”, barking joyfully. She would run alongside a string of crackers as it burst, barking imapatiently if it turned out to be a damp squib. When she chased a cockroach under a cupboard out of sight, she would lie down on her side to peer better. No child enjoyed cotton candy as much as she did.
Every dog lover surely feels he has a much better doggy tale to tell. Like any proud parent, you feel that your dog is much smarter, how much more human. Yet aren’t we taking this humanizing of our dogs too far?
Once upon a time, a dog was man’s best friend and loyal companion. A dog loved its master and his family. A person kept a dog only if he could feed it meat and bones and take it out for long walks. While the children would wrestle with it, the adults would just pat it on the head or at most scratch its belly. Yet the love that existed between dog and its masters was unshakeable. Each would give his life to protect the other.
Now of course, we keep pet dogs for different reasons. Our choice of dogs reveals our status in society – the more exotic the breed, the higher our standing. We can’t prepare food for it, so we get it catered, in little (or large) doggy boxes. No time to take it for a walk, no problem. Hire a dog walker to do it for you! Out at work the whole day? Just leave the dog out in the balcony or yard. The dog feels lonely? Why should he, you’ve given him enough food and water.
Oh wait! We can surely overdose him with our love. We’ll pamper him with grooming sessions at pet salons, smother him with fancy collars and clothing, get him the cutest little bowls and beds. We’ll throw him his own birthday parties with doggy cakes and cookies, invite other doggy friends. Each little invitee even gets his own doggy bag with special return gifts. When the darling dies, he even gets his own special grave in the exclusive pet cemetery. The mourning family feels comforted that the dear is being well looked after, even in the afterlife.
Everyday, rich little Nero stands at his gate gazing at a happy band of strays romping around on the road. They chase after rats in the gutter, wrestle over scraps in the garbage, fight over the scrawny female in the pack, play with construction workers and live their life to the fullest. Leaving Nero barking and whining enviously after them! Which is a dog’s life, I wonder?
Here’s a dish of spiced sausages, in honour of Molly, the smartest sausage dog in the world!