Wow, it's been 3 months since my last entry. Anyhow, this letter is going to be about Chocos's puppyhood in which she trained her newly adopted hoomins to be dog people.
Chocos still stayed under the car when we weren't home and she slept there at night. It was her safe place. She didn't bark much for the first few months and we assumed there was something wrong with her throat. It was only much later that I learned that some dogs (maybe most dogs) don't initially bark when they move into a new home, and this was out of respect for their new family, it's as if they thought it wasn't their place to bark and that they should stay meek. Of course, once they feel like they're part of the family, they'll bark at everything that crosses their territory, demand treats, and claim the sofa.
One of my fondest memories of Chocos's puppyhood is the time she was first given fish (raw fish, we didn't know any better). My mum was cleaning fish in our back yard and Chocos was sitting next to her. Mum kept giving her tiny portions and at one point, gave her an entire head (it was fairly big for a puppy). Chocos freaked out and had no idea what to do, she was overcome my a mixture of panic and pure excitement. She ran to our porch and tried stashing it under the car, came back halfway, went back, took it in her mouth again (she was terrified it would be stolen), came back, went back to the car, and finally, buried it in the ground next to our well and pushed leaves over the spot with her nose. My mother and I did not know at the time that dogs buried food for later and naturally, our eyes were as big as chicken eggs. Of course, now, we don't give anyone raw fish, we found out the hard way that it could make them sick (I'm surprised they didn't feel sick every time--yes, "they", we'll get to them later). Boiled with salt and turmeric is the way to go.
Now, among the long list of things we didn't know about raising pups was the fact that all puppies (at least, where I'm from) eat/bite frogs once in their lifetime and have severe allergic reactions. When this happened to Chocos, we first thought it was bee stings, her face and paws were swollen with welts and she was rubbing her face against the ground. We called a vet and was told that there's nothing to worry about and that we had to wash her mouth. This was to remove any possible froggy substances that may be lodged in her teeth (her mouth was foaming too, and yes, her hoomins panicked). Now, the thing about INDogs is, they HATE water. I know a lot of dogs hate baths but INDogs have got to be on the top 5 list of dogs who act like they're about to be murdered at bath time. Anyhow, the point is, we couldn't wash her mouth or make her drink water. So, instead, we gave her a mix of milk and water. Worked like a charm. The frothing stopped, but the welts still took a few hours to go down.
Well, that's all for now. Next time I'll tell you about vaccinations, collars, Chocos's first meeting with a cow, and the general attitude of my people towards INDogs.
To be continued...
The corridor was empty and eerily silent. It threw about faint echoes as she walked to her room. She checked her watch, it was 5:55. She was 5 minutes from missing curfew. Across the courtyard she could see one of her seniors leaning on the parapet, smoking. She had to admire her nerve, if the management found out she could be thrown out. But, she supposed things like that wouldn’t matter tonight.
She quickly unlocked her door and, as quietly as possible, slipped into her room and bolted the door. Her sigh was absorbed by the walls and curtains. The only light in the room came from the setting sun and her crimson curtains gave it a dull red glow. She threw her backpack into a chair and settled down on the floor, leaning against her bed. She wondered if that senior girl had gotten into her room yet. There was only 4 more minutes to curfew. It now dawned on her that the girl must have been looking at the wheelbarrow filled with raw meat resting at the middle of the courtyard, one floor down. She had meant to look at it too, but had forgotten. Ah well, she thought. She leaned her head back and listened. The entire building was silent, none of the lights were on. It was hard to imagine that there were hundreds of girls in this very building. She wondered if she could hear their quite breathing or their heartbeats if she listened hard enough.
A low beep from her phone almost made her jump. Her heart was in her throat. She took deep breaths to calm herself. It was 6 O’clock. And now we wait.
The plan had many flaws if you thought about it. But, she couldn’t deny that it was the best they could do. Even if it failed, there would be no causalities. At least, that was the theory.
The minutes crawled past. She checked her watch again and again every few seconds. 15 minutes, half an hour, 45 minutes...where was this thing? Did it leave their region? Did someone kill it already? She supposed that was possible. Select people all over the city, and every city where there had been sightings, were given lethal weapons that could take them out with one shot. Provided, they hit the things’ weak spot, of course.
It had been a huge move when their campus bought non-lethal versions in bulk. They had lethal ones too, of course, in case things went south. The court battles against their view that they needn’t all be wiped out was still in full swing. It was understandable really, those things had eaten a lot of people and there was no proof that they could be tamed or communicated with, at least, not till a week ago. A week ago, one of those things stopped and cocked its head at a little girl who held up her hands and shouted for it to stop. It gave her friends time to run away and her brother shot it down but still, it was a start.
Her heart skipped a beat and she sat up. What was that?! She heard it again, the shrill sound of metal being twisted. Their make-shift metal fence was being twisted and torn aside. It’s here.
She heard the unmistakable low groan of the creature as it made its way towards the wheelbarrow. She reached under her bed and retrieved the gun from its holder. Her body moved on its own, courtesy of a thousand practice sessions. The exact same moment she opened the door, every door facing the courtyard, in the top 3 floors of the building swung open noiselessly and dark silhouettes lined the corridors. The creature, the size of a rhino, with long powerful arms and legs and a leathery membrane between them, sensed their presence and lifted its many-eyed head. Before if could comprehend what was happening, the guns along the corridors activated with a loud hum. “Fire!”, shouted 4 different voices in synch.
It was all over in a flash. The courtyard lit up with a hundred flashes of light and the creature laid next to the upturned barrel, unconscious and breathing heavily. For a few seconds, there was complete silence, then the lights came on and the people in charge slowly inched their way towards the creature. She held her stance, and so did the others. The person closest to the creature checked its heartbeat and gave a thumbs up. It was still alive. “Bring in the cage!”, shouted one of them.
One day, two days, one week, two weeks...one month. It was the one month anniversary of the capture. She and her friends were decorating their campus auditorium with blown up photos of the creature, now named BellBell (short for Belladonna). The photos showed BellBell giving people piggyback rides, snoozing with the campus dogs, eating heaps of food and happily accepting hugs and massages. BellBell’s kind, whichever were left, were going to be rounded up and send to their campus.
She muttered to herself as she put up the photos, practicing the speech she was going to give later that day, So, as you can see, it turns out that these lab-made monsters aren’t that bad. Sure they were scary as hell when they first escaped their facilities, and were lost, scared and starving. But, once fed and given shelter, and generally taken care of, they are surprisingly gentle, clever and easy to work with, as BellBell has proved…
So, in the end, the plan was a great success.
Hey there, it's been a while since my last letter/entry, hasn’t it? I’ll pick up where we left off, starting with the older pup.
Older pup still stayed under our car at night and was weary of us. We gave her (turns out, older pup was a she) milk and milk-soaked bread. She wouldn’t come out from under the car when we were around, so we had to push her food under the car. One day, I gave her a piece of Chocos (Kellogg's Chocos, the breakfast cereal thingy). She ate it with the expression and labour of eating a boulder. Then I place a piece of Chocos near the car (not under it) and she reached for it, her neck stretched like a giraffe's, and dragged it under the car. Eventually, she came out to eat and that was when I first got a good look at her. Tiny, white with brown patches. She had two big brown dots on her back that looked like a number 8. Now, she was Chocos. No.8 : Chocos. Our first dog.
She was covered in fleas, stomach bloated with worms, and had button-like eyes. Not exactly a pretty pup, but I probably thought that because I wasn’t a dog person back then, and it had been a while since I was an animal person (animal-loving childhood me, who fed birds and played with calves, was long since gone). Back then, I never would have thought that Chocos would grow into one of the most beautiful INDog specimens to ever walk the earth.
A day or two after she became Chocos, my dad got back from an official trip he was on. He used to have a dog (named Devil ^_^), long before I was born, so he was pretty happy with adopting her. It was a holiday and we were having breakfast when we heard Chocos’s drawn out cry from outside. My mum and I got there first. For a second, I was sure she was either run over or was being eaten. But, turns out, she got her neck stuck between the gate and the wall. My mum overcame her uneasiness of touching dogs and freed her, the moment she was free, she ran back under the car. That was the last time she went back to her coconut-leaf-heap outside our compound. The second time she forced my mother to handle her was when she got her head stuck in the engine from under the car (it was a Sandro Xing, in case you were wondering, and we didn’t use it very often). This time, mum gave her a bath and learned that puppies should be bathed in lukewarm water when the sun is high. Chocos started to shiver and mum wrapped her in a blanket and carried her around like a human baby. It was the last thing I would have expected my mother to do. Chocos was training us well. Soon after, she was de-wormed and de-fleaed and we started playing with her.
Now, all this was happening at a time when the nearby fields were being harvested. After harvest, people let these gypsy-like folk show up with flocks of ducks (hundreds of them) and enter their fields, effectively getting rid of every kind of insect and pest. Usually, these people have dogs with them (always INDogs, the native breed of India). The kind who were so good at herding cattle and ducks that you’ll wonder if their IQ is higher than their human’s. Turns out, this particular group didn’t have any dogs and one night, a puppy showed up inside their tent and slept next to them. The younger pup! It had to be him, he was a spitting image of his sister, he was the only puppy in our region at the time, and the timeline matched. My mum went and talked to them, they wanted to keep him, said they bought him milk and everything. My dad spotted him too, standing proudly in front of a tent. You know, the way happy non-orphan pups stand, with their chest out and head held high. We decided they should keep him, he would be happier roaming the land with flocks of ducks and sleeping in tents next to humans.
Next time, I’ll tell you about how Chocos trained us to be dog-people.
To be continued...
First of all, these aren’t letters, per say. For one, it's addressed to no one and for another, these are going to be more like diary entries. Secondly, this is a true story. Here goes...
Anyhow, this went on for a few days. We wouldn’t see them come and go, they always stuck to the shadows. Once, I stayed on the road (a dirt road that lead from the main tarred road to 5 houses) in front of our house and spotted them moving towards our gate, sticking close to our compound wall. It took them a while to muster up the courage to move since I was standing right there.And then, one day, tragedy struck. How I wish all dog stories were happy ones...sigh* Anyhow, the “tragedy” was sponsored by a cousin of mine (foul git. It's not that I hate him or anything, not anymore at least, but I doubt I’d ever forgive him). He came for a visit and was staying with us for a while and he hated dogs. Every time my mother and I left for office/college, he’d shoo off my pups! That’s not all, he went so far as catching them in a sack and asking this...er...recyclable-material-collector guy, to throw them away. Thank the Gods the canal near our house was empty at the time. The pups always managed to come back though, and my mother would have a one-sided shouting match with my cousin. However, one day, only the older pup came back. That night, the older pup stayed up and howled. And we made up our mind for good, adoption it was.
Now, the pups were so young (not even steady on their feet yet) that they wouldn’t have survived on their own, even for a day. We searched everywhere we could think of, but could not find the younger one. Don’t worry though, we found him after a while, he found humans who’d take care of him (yes, I think younger pup was a he. Not sure though).Next time, I’ll introduce you to older-pup and tell you what happened to younger-pup.
To be continued…
First of all, these aren’t letters, per say. For one, its addressed to no one and for another, these are going to be more like diary entires. Secondly, this is a true story. Here goes...8:50pm
It all started with Chocos.
Long long ago (well, not that long ago, in Feb. 2012, actually) my mother came home after work to find a mummy dog and her two pups in our porch. She (my mother, not the dog) got off her scooter, opened the gate and said, “shoo”—a pretty clear instruction, if you ask me. However, the mummy dog got up and left (as leisurely as possible) and the pups ran under our car. The rest of the evening (and night) was spent trying to get the pups to leave. We couldn’t let them stay. You see, my parents worked, and I was useless and had college to deal with. We just came home to sleep, a pet would have been very lonely and not well taken care of, plus, we wouldn’t have been able to go anywhere for long periods of time, leaving the pet unattended (we usually don’t go anywhere, unless there’s a wedding somewhere, or relatives to visit over some holiday). Well, that’s what we thought, at the time.Anyhow, my mother was squeamish about touching dogs/puppies (she grew up with chickens and calves. Dogs, foxes and crows were her natural enemies) so she nudged them into a cardboard box and gently dropped them over our compound wall into an overgrown (with plants, weeds, coconut trees) plot of land. This alone took hours, the pups were good at running from behind one car tyre to another. Now, this plot is dark at night and there is a street light right in front of my house and, our front gate is like a metal mesh with square gaps in it. You see where this is going, right? Every night, after dark, the pups would squirm through the gate and stay under our car, which is within the pool of light sponsored by that street light I just mentioned. And every night, we’d drop them over the wall again. There was a heap of coconut leaves on the other side of our wall, the pups stayed under there during daytime. The mummy dog (a typical, brown furred, pointy eared, curly tailed INDog) would meet them there in the morning, feed them, and leave. And then, one day, she stopped visiting them.
By now, we were getting used to them staying under our car. They were just babies who were scared of the dark, after all. But, now that mummy stopped showing up (we never found out what happed to her) in just one day, those white and brown balls of fur turned into bags of bone. So, we poured some milk into a small plate and pushed it towards the car...and our fate was sealed.The bigger pup knocked the smaller one down and growled. Survival of the fittest, I guess. Then, the bigger one, while drinking the milk, stepped on the plate and spilled it. We tried giving them some milk-soaked bread, but that just made them cough, so we stuck to milk (cow’s milk, in case you were wondering). That night, the older pup stood in front of the car, howled like a pro (with the voice of a squeaky toy) and barked at any movement in our street in a ‘who goes there?’ kind of way. We should have known then that they had adopted us <3
To be continued…