We made it! We are now officially no longer puppies but dogs. On our birthday, we
got doggie pizza as a treat. We woke up the day after our first birthday as wild and self-willed as ever. So Mom says. Well, what does she know? We have our mature wisdom collected as a handbook, How to be a True Pooch.
Some how to’s for living life:
#1 Life is a joy; breathe, sneeze, snarl, yap your way through it. It’s a breeze, lovelier than the blast of a cooler on a hot hot day.
Live, love, learn. You’ll be surprised how many things you discover every day. Like we did. We learnt that taste and smell are not restricted to bowls laid for us. Everything has its own individuality: the leg of the dining chair is not the same as the plaster blunting the sharp edges of pillars is not the same as extinguished ghee-soaked cotton wool diyas in Mom’s pooja room is not the same as broken bits of flower pots in the terrace is not the same as strips of paper that have strange ink on them (we think our folks refer to them as ‘cheques’) is not the same as … you get the idea, we’re sure. There’s lots more in chapter 2 of our handbook.
#2 Chewy toys are not meant for chewing. You have no business getting bored. Learn to use your imagination. Once the chew is out of the chewy toys, use them to teach your folks alertness while walking about the house. And the entertainment value is tremendous – humans tripping over little things on the floor is bow wowy funny. Only the dull use towels for drying or wear saris standing upright. Tug of war or counting how many threads can be ripped out of each towel are for the creative minds. Try wrapping yourself in a sari as you wriggle on the floor to play a game of ‘mummy – mummy’ (no pun intended.) Challenge yourself to see how quickly you can pull apart the most securely tied shoe laces, pull out the most securely affixed hose pipe, and turn a garden tap on for a good romp under it.
#3 If you want something, ask for it. Keep asking until you charm (read ‘exhaust’) the other into surrender.
You can be as muddy as you please but no doors remain shut for you if you throw a soulful tantrum. When humans decide to train us to sit in the back seat of a car, they do not realise we are front seaters – navigation and driving run in our blood. So keep whining and straining to go on to the front seat. A little choking and strangled sound helps, except do not get so excited about being finally placed in the front seat that you instantly draw in the tongue lolling to the side and start full-lung-capacity barking instead of laboured breathing and gasps. Identify those who will give in first and at what point. Dad does not mind if we crawl into his lap once he enters the complex but he will bawl us out if we try it on the road. It is better to sit quietly at the back if he is in the driver’s seat. Mom will never give tit bits while she is eating; look away while she is eating but into her eyes as she is licking the last bit of the ice cream and she’ll lower the spoon from her mouth and allow us a lick or two. You don’t have to ask Big Sis at all. Just do as you please with her. Mom and Dad are pretty firm about our sleeping off the bed. Pretty. Five whines later Mom pats the space next to her for us to climb up. Dad is trickier. We have to inch nose length by nose length, so slowly that he is asleep by the time the tip of our nose reaches his side of the bed, and that too at his feet. AND we have to jump off when he starts stirring as the sky outside the window becomes lighter. With Mom we can snore in her ear .
#4 Do your duty. Wake your folks up on time by jumping on their tummies; remind them of meal time / walk time / me time / us time more exactly than a clock by emerging from wherever you have been to nudge them with a wet nose; lick up all the food they drop on the floor (you could try clearing the garbage too, provided your folks don’t run
to the bin screaming at you as if you are trying to steal the Crown Jewels); teach folks what a sound, carefree sleep is except when one single member is alone in the house – then you jump up and bark at the slightest noise, patrol from end to end, sleep with an eye open and an ear cocked; recognise their routine and keep them reminded of it. Be their ‘pilot’ leading the way as clothes are taken from the washing machine to the stand, garbage is taken out at night and doors about the house locked. Scratch on the study door to open it at work time, and so on. There is more on doggie duty in chapter 4 of our handbook.
#5 Be the star of the home. Let the world revolve around you. Wrap your folks round your paws. Listen wisely and respond to them as they talk to you. Snuggle up to them. Sulk if they yell at you. Obey them – but only when you want to (we have gone through most of last year pretending we have not heard or do not understand “come here”, “quiet” and other such annoying commands 7 out of 10 times they were given.) Share their lives. Just love them with all your doggie hearts and demand love of them.