I was eight years old and climbing steps to reach the third floor of my building. A white Pomeranian dog appeared from nowhere in front of me. It was so sudden and unexpected. I got shocked and paralyzed with fear. I couldn’t move a muscle. He growled and I panicked further. Instinctively, I started running and didn’t look back. I stopped only when I had reached my flat on the ground floor. This episode put an end to my love for dogs.
Later in my life, I was scared of street dogs. I never visited any acquaintance or friend’s house if it contained any pet dogs. Even watching puppies from a short distance was fine until they crawled towards me. That made me run away in fright.
My first curiosity towards dogs happened while I started reading Enid Blyton’s series, Famous Five. One of the most interesting things about the book which fascinated me was the bonding between Timmy, a funny-looking and brave mongrel with unusually long tail and funny brown eyes, and his mistress, George. Wherever George went, she was accompanied by Timmy in her adventures along with her other cousins. George herself stood in front of Timmy to protect him against any trouble and Timmy would not let anyone leave in peace if they dared to mess up with George. That was the extent of love between strong-willed George and her loyal dog Timmy. I liked re-reading parts in the series that shows Timmy up to something and ending up in an adventure. It was downright hilarious and brave many times. It made me think that to have a pet dog is not that bad and scary after all.
Cartoons like Scooby Doo showed dogs in a friendly way. I used to sing all day along with the show Scooby-Dooby-Doo, where are you? Shaggy and his loyal companion solved many mysterious cases together. Scooby Doo was funny and uttered dialogues that made me glued to the television set whenever any episode of the show would start. I ended up in specks later like Velma, one of the characters in the show. Sometimes Scooby Doo turned out to be a big coward and would jump in the arms of Shaggy in fright. Many times, he would suddenly become very brave and solve a case unexpectedly. Bravo! I was happy to know that dogs can make you laugh so much. And Scooby-Doo became an ideal dog for me. I badly wanted to have him in reality. I wanted him to come out of the television and sit next to me. By this time, thanks to Scooby, I had somewhat erased the dog fear from my heart. I didn’t run away anymore on seeing dogs on the streets. I learned to silently walk forward and that dogs won’t come to bite you if you don’t harm him/her.
When I grew up, others around me were hypnotized by the magical world of Harry Potter. I too fell in the race of procuring those books and reading them till 3 am. I used to watch Pogo whenever Harry Potter movies was aired on it. Apart from so many characters in the series, the game-keeper, Hagrid, and his unwavering love for animals caught my attention. He has a boarhound named Fang, who he likes to keep inside his hut. Fang is lazy but looks strong. He keeps drooling and licking Harry and Ron when they come on their visits to Hagrid. He welcomes them with booming barks and goes mad with joy. In Chamber of Secrets, he follows Harry and Ron into the forbidden forest and has his own little adventure.
In 2008, Hollywood released a comedy-drama film titled Marley & Me. I watched the film and decided to have a dog one day, no matter what! Someone just like Marley! A dog that is uncontrollable and incorrigible. He wreaks havoc in the whole house and is expelled from a class by a dog-trainer after announcing that this dog is a bad influence on other dogs! He is scared of thunders and lightening. He chews bones, carpets and sofa cushions. The actor in the film, Owen Wilson, is a columnist who writes about Marley and what mischief he did every day and that becomes popular in no time. The circulation of the newspaper goes up and he is appreciated for his writings. When the movie ended, it was with a heavy heart that I could view the private little gathering on Marley’s death. I didn’t want him to die! But nobody is immortal, I realized after one day of crying non-stop. Again I vowed to have a dog like him some day. My very own Marley. What a feeling it would be to write about your own loving pet!
When I travel in Shatabdi or metro, I see police officials walking on inspection duties and followed by Labradors or German Shepherds. Once a furry black Labrador passed close to my heels when I was seated and I watched it sniffing and walking lazily forward amongst passengers. I wanted to extend my arm to feel the fur and give a pat on the head. But I resisted. What if he barks? Worse, what if he inserts his razor-sharp teeth on my hand? Same happens when I go for my evening walks and I encounter a colony dog blocking my path. I wait for someone to overtake me and then I resume my walking, behind that person. The first flat that I happened to live in was just for three days. A pet dog of the owner, living on the upper floor, was nowhere in sight when we had first talks about the accommodation. The dog suddenly appeared on the main gate when we came with our luggages. We vacated the flat on the third day.
My thoughts and reactions towards dogs are contradictory to each other. My reflexive reaction on seeing a dog is to run away. But my heart beats for a pet dog. I want my fear of dogs to transform into a love for them. I want a pet at any rate. My mother has many issues with dogs. When my dad talks about pets, my mother has only one thing to ask. Who will take care of it but her when everyone else will be going to office, schools and colleges? Adopting a pet isn’t easy and those who want to do it, stay at home and don’t bother me, she tells firmly. Of course, nobody knows what to reply. So we have dropped this idea for the time being. But I keep my eyes and ears open nonetheless. If there is an advertisement about puppies on sale in the newspaper, my heart starts racing uncontrollably. My latest research is to find out about different breed of dogs on the planet. :)
I am harassing my roommate a lot on this topic, who is a dog-lover herself. Day in and day out, she answers to my silly questions patiently. One of the biggest revelation is the purchasing price of any pet. I have heard that Pomeranians and Labradors are cheaper when compared to German Shepherds. And cheaper in the sense with respect to a start of Rs. 5000. It can shoot up to Rs. 20,000 and more depending upon the type of breed you want. I don’t know which dog I would choose in the end but this is becoming confusing to me every passing day. How nice it would be, if somebody would just drop a puppy at your door-step and early morning you open the door and see that some small furry four-legged creature is chewing at the end of your favourite newspaper? It would certainly be very happy times to have someone becoming your best friend for the rest of your life and doesn’t desert you in times of needs. Someone who is loyal, loving and brings you happiness. A little chaos in the house is ok for me. One day in my own house I would like to have a pet dog. No matter if it’s a male or a female. I just want a naughty and fun-loving pet. A best friend who I can write about. Another Marley or a Timmy. Hope that day comes soon. :)
With the below desktop wallpaper that I am using currently, I am signing off for the day. Wuff wuff!