About fifteen years ago, I was visiting a family function in a city in central India. Taking a stroll through the streets, I came across a calf (bovine), perched on one side of the street. Such sights are not uncommon in India, and the rest of the world now has come to terms with how Indian streets have all kinds of animals on the loose. This isn’t about whether that’s right or not, so I will stick to the story.
For the record, I am not a certified dog trainer, but I have assisted in dog training sessions for about three years. Though it’s not much, but it did tell me something about dog psychology and how they generally would behave and function in a set of stimuli-response sets. As such, please do not touch any stray/street dog however friendly you think it is. This is especially more true in case there’s a gang. Stay away.
I have had 5 dogs as very close friends and have fond memories of those guys (all gone now). One of them was a pet we planned to keep at home – but it passed away in about two week’s time. That and other sad instances have kept me aloof from the idea of having or developing relationships with dogs any more. Though I should have learnt to live with the idea that they are not indefinite, I have not been able to cope up with the grief that strikes every time. I love them, but would not prefer to keep them home.
For any one reading this, who has known the buddies I am talking about, I hope you have the same memories and cherish them.
I am not very keen on cats around. After a sip of water and milk with lots of cuddling around, I sternly ordered for its removal. Emotions ran high. Much debate later, I filled in for the kitten’s mother who would be searching for her and it would be really necessary to put her right back in where she came from.
The three of us went back around the corner of the road – all quiet with nobody around. An apartment stands right across the road where Frisky was found (the kitten got a name by then). Pushing Frisky behind the gates of the apartment, we started walking back. A “meow” from her felt like ‘thanks’ to me. As we turned heads to acknowledge, there was shock and terror!
Two dogs rushing towards Frisky from far across while the ignorant thing was wandering out of the gate. A rush of adrenalin got Soni all the power to reach Frisky before those dogs. Street dogs are pretty infamous for what they’ve done often in Bangalore, and this would have been yet another slaughter. Those dogs had surrounded a Soni with Frisky while I rushed to pick up a stone and hurl at those bast****. I hit one, and the cowards they are, both of them ran. But they kept on howling as every other dog of the area got on track. Thus began my first real life Super Mario reach-home-safe-with-the-kitten stage. I picked up as many stones as possible and Soni kept Frisky cuddled up in her arms.
Barking dogs were all around us. I kept on sermonizing, “Don’t run, keep walking straight. Don’t look them in the eye, look straight.” Until that day, dogs were my favorite animals. Status change – not anymore, and my hate for them increased with every dog crossed. The final stage arrived. A big beast ahead had gathered all the courage and grouped two more of its kind, waiting for us to come up. I had only a few stones and if I missed, they would pounce on us and the pack would have a Frisky meal.
Life is a game. All games have special powers. Ours arrived in the form of two men who realized what we were doing. They ran behind the dogs, distracted them and broke the pack. I took a shot at one of these dogs and hit (generally I couldn’t have)! That was it, the squeal was music to our ears and a psychological nuclear attack on every other dog around. The track was all clear and I used a loud “Thank you!” for the special powers.
Always remember, dogs are strong only in packs. When you see a pack, stay clear or try and break it (if you can). Also, there is no way you should stare at a dog unknown to you. They really hate it. Friendly or known dogs will never look in your eye though.
Frisky was home. The rest of the night went by in a lot of cuddling. She peculiarly ran all around the house and followed Soni everywhere. Though I felt for her, I still couldn’t get my acceptance levels up for cats. So I wanted to fix it somewhere. I took out an old TV carton and put Frisky into it. She did meow for a while, but would have gone to sleep later.
Next day, there was a lot of research done on what cats like, dislike and how to groom them etc. But I, researched for just one thing, an animal shelter. I found out one (further ahead from Mekhri Circle) and called them up. They asked how old the kitten was. Disregarding the questionnaire, I convinced them that she was supposed to be with them and not with me.
Back at home, Frisky was being dried up in the sun. Apparently, Soni thought that the little one was very dirty, so bathed her. Pretty well done, but Frisky wasn’t pleased – no meowing or eating anything. Especially, if it came from Soni. As I put my head into the TV carton, a meow came out. Soni shrieked with joy and laughed heartily. We enjoyed the anger we saw and I was quite amazed to see such reactions.
Cats do not like to be washed up often. For that matter, both dogs and cats are given a bath at most once a week.
Frisky had quickly become a pet. Soni had made up her mind to keep her in. It wasn’t to be – and though there was a lot of resistance in the air, we drove to the shelter and let Frisky join a lot of other cats. Once inside her new home, she quickly forgot about us and got engaged with the others. Once again, emotions ran high and Soni kept on cuddling with Frisky in her thoughts. It was a nice experience, especially the running behind I saw on a night and then the “not-talking-to-you” the next morning (because of that water drill)!