This is the first guest post in my blog. With Cloudnine nearing 30,000 hits before its first Birthday, i thought it would be great if someone penned a guest post for me. This is an amazing post from my friend Malini, a contented mom, constantly trying to do the balancing act - managing work and home. When she is not working, she chooses to read, sing, cook, garden or narrate stories to children. Thanks a ton for the post, dear!!!
My alarm clock is gathering dust deep inside my cupboard. The Alarm Application on my Android mobile is hardly being put to use these days - Thanks to the little monster that arrived at our home with all the bells and whistles (poop and pee to be precise) two and a half months ago. You might have guessed by now as to what I'm talking about and I'm sure your guess is either partly or completely incorrect. Yes, it has something to do with a baby, but not a human baby - I'm talking about my 4-months-old Labrador Retreiver!
Years of anticipation, frustration and occasional starvation (yes! My past has seen fasts and hunger strikes, not in Anna's scale though, just to persuade my parents to get a puppy for me) came to a gleeful end, the minute we(my husband and I) laid our eyes on him. Our first son Sangeeth had also been trying to talk (?) us into getting a puppy. I have to admit that he was cleverer than me; he would start nagging whenever he spotted a dog, gradually levitating to a feverish pitch and ultimately using the lethal weapon - tears! Poor boy, he could have saved his tears for a different bargain; we were anyway planning to bring a puppy home.
The cuddly fawn-coloured pooch that we spotted at the kennel was quite as playful and PEEful as any other lab puppy. We brought him home. Did we live happily ever after? Hmmm, not exactly. Read on.
My son was initally jumping around with excitement. He suddenly became the hero boy - he was the only one among his friends to have a puppy brother! If I had ticketed the daily evening shows, where the pup would be showcased scratching, yawning or just doing nothing, I would have recovered my initial investment and covered my first month's expenses!
|There he is! Ain't he cute?
Ah, the christening process ! Believe me, naming a human boy is easier.
Ganesh? - Come on, Ganesha is elephant God, why re-incarnate him as a doggy?
Hercules? What will you call him - Hercu?
Honey, Sunshine? No way, he is HE!
Puppy? We all know he is a PUPPY!
I would suggest a name and my husband would instantly give a thumbs-down. After many rounds of brainstorming, he came up with 'TOFFEE'. 'From this day on, he will be known to the world as Toffee'. Period. Hmm, I didn't dislike the name either.
Many, including my vet, advised me to keep him confined during the initial days. Keep him bonded was the last thing that I wanted to do, so I made a cosy little home for him using a cardboard box and some soft bed sheets. The first day, he seemed to like it. So I left him there, in the corner of my bedroom and went to sleep. I was woken up by a shrill noise at 3 in the morning. He had managed to roll up his bedsheet mattress, use that as a ladder and jump out of the box! Poor thing, he was probably so petrified by the darkness around him, that he decided it's better to whine and wake people up. From 3 to 7 AM, he slept peacefully on my lap while I yawned away my time till sunrise.
Patience is a virtue. I had come to terms with it when my son was born. I realized that I needed to finish my Masters or something on Patience to bring up Toffee.I was beginning to grow tired ( in less than a day), cleaning the shit and pee all around the place. I would make him pee in the balcony and then let him free, expecting the next one to happen where I wanted it to happen. Alas! It felt as if it was never going to happen the way I wanted it to happen. All furniture in the house were beginning to have their legs adorned with little dots, the consequence of my puppy's boredom and teething troubles. Ahimsa, Ahimsa, I would say to myself. I would just switch to my Kaali avatar, grit my teeth and hold up my son's cricket bat. That would mostly work - he would go and snuggle up in a corner. Very rarely, he needed more than that to learn his lesson. All Maneka Gandhis and SPCA/CUPA activists out there, please don't gang up against me now, I'm just talking about a pat on his back - no animal abuse here!
|Blissfully sleeping- our Toffee with his favorite toy!
Having been an avid watcher of K9 shows for years, I decided to teach my dog some tricks. I managed to make him sit down, shake his right foreleg and lie down, responding to the three commands in a row. He always obediently ‘performed’ all this when asked to, until one day when the lazy pup decided to act a little too smart. He chose to directly jump to the last command; just lie down so that he would get his reward sooner! Very clever! Little did I know that he would later learn to do all the three tricks much quicker and become the "Neighbours' envy and Mommy's pride".
One of the early discoveries that I made about him was equally shocking and disgusting - he loved to munch on his poop! I was taken aback, deciding that he was developing abnormal food habits and rushed him the very next day to his vet. The vet said casually, 'He is quite normal. Most of the puppies are poop lovers. They quit once they grow up'. Hmm, I better clear it before he could turn around to munch. That day onward, my son became the unofficial poop spy. He would come and inform me the moment Toffee squatted, and I would reach the spot in a jiffy, armed with the tools of the trade to collect and dispose the droppings. These days, roosters are a rarity in the city. After all, who needs one! Same is the case with alarms, as I mentioned earlier. Every morning, sharp at 5:15 AM, I would be woken up by Toffee's bark(Yes! he switched from whining to barking recently) pounding my ear drum, which would stop only after he beheld the yellow pedigree pouch. I could not help but think of all the failed 'wake-up-early' new year resolutions of the past.(However, at times, the pedigree would simply be a snooze button, I would go back to sleep.)
One day, I was seated on a couch, with Toffee by my side, munching on a toy. As I was typing my way to glory on my laptop, I watched Toffee get up, go to the balcony and ... wow, he just peed and pooped in the balcony! My joy knew no bounds. After all, my efforts had paid off. My three-months-old lab had just demonstrated that his master had been a good toilet trainer! Having said all that, I still vouch for bringing home a pet. Be it a mongrel or a great dane, you will for sure have tough times ahead. Nevertheless, that can be easily traded off for the unconditional affection that you get back. I bet, no one, not even your lover or spouse is going to shower as much love as your dog
Love you darling Toffee!