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When I was in class 1; the pet dog of our family friends took my entire palm into its mouth and ever since began my fright story towards all animals; big, small or medium; irrespective of size. Still, I am very fascinated to see dog owners being indulgent towards their pets and I promise to myself that if someday; I am able to overcome my fear; I too would get home a doggy.
My younger brother is the proud owner of a German Shepherd dog-Ghost who is the apple of his eye. The dog has been christened after a ‘Games of Thrones’ character. Every time, my brother comes home for a vacation; he comes with a load full of doggy stories too. He tells us of Ghost’s swimming classes, his vaccinations, baths and nail clippings and how it cried when the servant maid was leaving for the day after her chores were completed. This keeps my daughter, Shivani entertained enough till his next visit. My brother and his friend have weaved all their daily activities into a manner that suit Ghost’s time table. Whenever they have their birthdays or there is a festival; Ghost is the first to get a gift.
There is also a daily regime that is followed religiously at our household in Delhi. Every evening when Shivani speaks to my brother over phone; she wants him to place the phone on speaker mode and she would then say her “Hi” for the day to Ghost. She gets really fascinated envisioning that Ghost would be frantically searching for her; hearing her call out its name and eventually not being able to find her. My brother has promised to get my daughter a pet for her 10th birthday and also assured her that in case her mom objects to this; he would get Ghost to deal with mom.
Apart from our family, I have also seen our families go gaga over their pets too. My close friend, Poonam’s family had got home a small Spitz pup, Bingo, during our student days. The sisters would go bonkers with their family member. They would click pictures of Bingo in possible attires (shades, duppattas, hats, etc) and then show them off to all visitors. ‘BYE’ was a forbidden word in their house as Bingo would get extremely upset whenever someone left home and Byes were said in codes there.
Our neighbours, the Malhotra’s too pampered their pet dog, Jacky way too much. Mrs. Malhotra’s identity was Jacky Mumma, Uncle- Mr. Malhotra was Jacky Papa and so on. Their whole lives resolved around this white colored four legged friend of theirs.
Both my maternal and paternal cousins had dogs. My maternal cousin’s Pomeranian dog was called Cutesie. True to its name; it was a very cute dog and was pampered to the extent of being spoilt. My grandmother was an extremely devout and religious lady. She had never touched eggs all her life and so entrusted the duties of boiling and shelling and mashing the eggs into rice and feeding the dog; to their servant maid. Needless to say that Cutesie would put up a tantrum each day during meal times and my grandmother would sit on a stool with a stick in hand. She would keep hitting the floor with the stick to scare the dog into finishing off the meal in the bowl. If ever there were visitors at home and that day, Cutesie refused to eat; my grandmother would think that someone had cast an evil spell and she would try to ward it off with salt.
The name of paternal cousins’ dog was ‘Pepsi’. It was christened so as it was of the same colour as the aerated drink. She was an ultimate charmer and even strangers would get drawn towards it. One particular episode that I remember is that once when we had to go a little distance on foot; my uncle carried their dog in a cloth bag fearing that its legs would ache if it walked all the distance.
All these would definitely seem as idiosyncrasies for someone who has never had a pet but I am sure they would change their opinions when they too walk the walk.