I was under the firm belief that a dog is a man’s best friend. There are umpteen stories of a canine’s bravery and devotion to his two legged master. Yet I am quite convinced that things are gradually changing. Yes I do mean that Man could soon be rated as a dog’s best friend! My belief gets strengthened daily as I watch the world with my presbiopic eyes! Let me illustrate...
Pouring rain or freezing cold one finds the master out on the roads to enable this family member relieve himself. Despite the recent extended unseasonal cold, hard core late risers in Pune sacrifice their cosy razai to troop out to the canine demands. I must add that the pet too is well protected against the chill with woollen garments of various types- just one more design for Grandma to knit when she makes sweaters for her grandchildren! It’s OK to dirty the roads but not the house; that’s their policy! I have counted at least 5 dogs who treat the compound in my building as their personal toilet while their masters and mistresses indulgently look on! Is there no way to properly potty train dogs? I am told that in the US, the dog owners have to clean up the streets as they walk their dogs along.
Being health conscious I try to make it a point to walk my daily 6kms but often end up logging just a couple of kms. Before there are any doubts about my sincerity or hints towards laziness let me clarify that all shortcuts are necessitated by friends. You may well ask, what’s wrong with meeting friends? Let me explain- it’s not the friend that I am averse to but his four-legged family member. Even before our greetings are complete, the hound has already got his two forefeet on my chest and is trying to slobber me with saliva. The experience of a close up examination of the dental architecture of a panting hound is most frightening, not recommended for the fainthearted. All the while my friend indulgently says, “Polly won’t do anything!” Anything? I would be the one having to take 21 injections in my stomach if any of those pearly whites as much as scratched me! Then there is a bull dog who insists on following me as I try to get to my target heart rate. I should not be bothering really, the sight of the dog is sufficient to get my heart racing as it is! So you can well understand how my resolve to stay fit is desperately challenged each day. Why can morning walkers not bring along their pets on a leash? Of course in some cases, the sight of the duo is hilarious as one wonders who is taking whom for a walk as the dog surges ahead, pulling his hapless master behind him!
Visiting such friends can also be a testing time. Pomeranians tend to want to contribute to the conversation in a manner that leaves one temporarily deafened with their high pitched barking. Honey is one pooch who is most protective of her mistress’s property. She doesn't bother with troubling her vocal cords though preferring to keep a malevolent eye instead, pouncing forth if I as much as move a finger to pick up a magazine as my friend goes off to get me a cup of tea and biscuits for Honey. Believe me I am too scared even to reach into my purse to make a rescue call on my mobile. All joy of meeting my friend is totally overshadowed by having to sit erect and immobile for the entire period. To add insult to my injury, my friend waxes eloquent on some of Honey’s frivolous antics as I am forced to make appreciative noises as I watch the DVD of Honey’s birthday party!
Then we have these well wishers who feed every stray dog they can attract. End result being that the dogs soon assume food to be their right, the area becomes a flourishing maternity ward and the newest entrants end up snapping at the two-legged legal owners! I am all for feeding a hungry animal even offering some shelter but not if it ends up being a public nuisance.
Dogs are of tremendous aid to differently-abled persons and children. Dobermans and Labradors do an excellent job to supplement our Police Force, be it to track down explosives or thieves. I can understand the companionship a dog can afford a child or as a beloved family member. However, it should not end up traumatising people around them and being a nuisance to society in general. Postmen, newspaper boys will whole heartedly agree with me I am sure!
These are just some of my Pet Peeves. It is really immaterial who is who’s best friend. The Earth belongs to all of us and we need to coexist peacefully. Excuse me folks I have an important task to try to reform my neighbour and or his dog.... Hey, doggie that’s my freshly washed car you are heading for...