Mirror Magazine


Under canine rule
By Roo
They represent one third of my home. And therefore have a great say in everything we say and do. (It's next to impossible to leave the house without wishing the doggies 'goodbye'.) The entire garden is under canine rule. The swing is under canine rule. We humans are not permitted entry unless invited - by a short wag of the tail, of course.

A Golden Retriever represents half, while a crafty Daschund represents the rest.

Dogs entered my life when I was quite small. That was the time when having a dog could make you the coolest kid on the block. So after much consideration I forwarded the 'Let's get a dog' proposal at the dinner table a good fifty times. It was approved. We would get a dog. A jet black Alsatian was offered and we jumped at the chance.

It was not to be a breeze. We acquired the dog on Sunday and our shoes were chewed to bits by Monday! Sibling proposed shoe racks - which we bought by Tuesday. What we didn't bargain for was the fact that dogs grow and grow fast. So the shoe rack also entered the list of possessions chewed silly by Saturday.

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. The dog was wonderful for the simple reason that there was another brat to boss around. Sibling was thrilled. He was now older than somebody. But that too didn't last long. For a dog lover informed us that one human year was actually equivalent to seven dog years! Go figure!

Alsatians have an incredible 'growing ability' as we found out. Soon the little pillow that I donated to the dog could barely hold her head! A cage was needed. As the dog was our responsibility Sibling and I built one, rather ramshackle of course but it held - for a few days at least. We also put up a board proudly proclaiming her name. And then tried to entice her in. It didn't work. For the dog had already decided that 'our' room was 'her' room and couldn't fathom how she was expected to sleep outside. We lost and lost bad. The dog stayed in our room and well, we were officially under canine rule.

We should have ideally understood our predicament at that time. But no, we went ahead and got another dog. (The opposition grew by 100%, but we were too ignorant to comprehend it!)

The new 'dude', who also took up residence in our room, was a ball of cotton wool. It had to be the nicest dog we ever owned. He was just a tad possessive of his belongings though, (namely my bed, Sibling's shoes and my socks) and took pride in the fact that they were in such a bad state.

At meal times all the best dishes usually ended up under the table, accidentally of course. Ice cream pronounced 'too creamy' flowed endlessly into dog bowls that were strategically placed (by creatures more intelligent than ourselves!) Be it waffles, rice or curry as long as they saw us eating it, it was a treat.

The dogs also perfected the 'doggie notes', a mixture of 'woofs' and 'oooohs' which they 'sang' to the tune of 'The Blue Danube'. It sounds rather like a man crying out in pain after being stabbed a few times, but I dare not voice that opinion in front of the dogs!

The first item on the grocery list slowly but surely shifted from rice to dog shampoo quite magically. (Sibling still swears that he had nothing to do with it so, I assume that it was actually the dog's idea, and that through some sort of doggie communication it got done!)

The nicest part of owning a dog is its reaction when a member of the household falls sick. They automatically become 'model nurses'. I still distinctly remember how both doggies took turns keeping round the clock vigil by my bedside. They'd look upon you so forlornly as you sipped ginger tea, and almost willed you to sleep when they thought you needed it!

Unfortunately though, the doggies didn't make it through their illnesses. We would make little balls of rice to feed them and they would patiently swallow them one by one. It was traumatic to lose them, especially since when one died, the other went into depression.

We survived though and made the mistake of taking on more dogs. The Daschund and the Retriever now take pride of place at home. Small dogs have this inherent ability of making themselves look vulnerable. So as you can well imagine the Daschund is spoilt silly.

For the baby of the house, one cry is all that's needed to make four fully-grown adults pamper her. As a puppy she happily fit into someone's pocket. Nowadays Sibling cannot complete any task without her input. There are always two chairs next to the computer. One for the person who is actually using it and the other (believe it or not) for the dog!

The dogs utilise every piece of furniture. They chew the table legs. Use the piano pedals to gaze at themselves and have found the couch a wonderful substitute bed! Stools in the kitchen are only there to help them sniff at biscuits and the door wedge is an effective plaything!

I have never had the pleasure of waking up to the sounds of birds twittering in the background since the dogs decided that the garden is not the place for birds to hang out! The birdbath is therefore, unfortunately never used but we cannot complain since they permit us to occupy the house!

A few days ago, we worked up the courage to banish the dogs to the garden. It worked for a few minutes. Then there was a gentle tapping on the backdoor and lo and behold, in came the dog the minute we opened it! Wonders will never cease!

I have now officially accepted the fact that 'dogs' are a smarter species than humans. Don't believe me? Just think - who else can boast of a job where board and lodging is free, food is limitless and there's hours of sleep?!

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