An Unusual Arrangement

Today I am hosting KayEm who blogs at Never Mind Yaar. She is also the author of the novel ‘Never Mind Yaar’ that was recently published in India. I have been following her blog from some time now and she always come across as a very level-headed person who is passionate about changing the world to become a better place. Her posts like Does Multiculturalism breed IntoleranceOne of the Greatest Strengths of Social MediaFootpath Vendors and Rape – Where’s the Connection? were insightful. She also writes short stories and collaborated with Abhy (A cartoonist) to create a unique way of telling one of her story – Babhuti, the Barber. You can also read about her journey and experiences of writing her first novel here

Over to KayEm

Charlie, Sammy and doggy 3

Photo provided by KayEm. Samson is on the right

Mummy Diaries! We named him Samson because he was puny and had the softest of curls. He grew. His curls became stubborn and tight. They were – still are – a nightmare to brush. But when they are and when he’s asleep he looks angelic. 

Sammy is the friendliest of dogs. With his owners. He slobbers all over us. He brings his little toys and invites us to play. He looks at us quizzically when he’s trying to understand the sudden sweep of an arm, an accusing index finger pointing at him and the loud, wailing sounds like no-ooooo barking or go-ooooo away that humans emit from time to time. He sleeps by 8 pm, waking up constantly to follow us around, distinctly droopy, from room to room. But let a stranger pass our fence or come to our door and it changes him completely. He turns into a wild, untamed beast. He barks like barking were going out of fashion. He dodges the owners to reach the door first and usually succeeds. He is impossible to rein in. We’ve tried many things including a dog training school. He holds the equivalent of a PhD but as soon as we have strangers at our door our learned friend forgets all his weighty dissertations. 

That’s where Steve comes into the picture. Steve is our house-sitter. Whenever we go out of town he stays at our house, making it look lived in and taking care of the dogs.

Early this month we decided to meet up with our other kids – the human kind, and asked Steve if he was free to house sit for us for a few days. To our luck he was. Steve had met Kara before but it was his first time with Sammy. We told him how unfriendly Sammy was with strangers but it didn’t seem to worry him. His girlfriend, wanting to reassure us, said that even the growliest of dogs soon became his doting shadow. I smiled weakly, sure Sammy would prove to be the one exception.

Sammy didn’t take to Steve. Our hearts sank. We’d booked our tickets and couldn’t change our plans at the eleventh hour. I felt nervous. Steve seemed confident and relaxed. He had two dogs of his own and took them for an hour’s walk down by the riverside every day. Perhaps Sammy would enjoy that and the company of other dogs. With fingers crossed we handed our dogs and house keys over to Steve and left.   

[We had a super time with the kids. Much refreshed and reassured to see them reasonably happy with life, we returned home to our canine family.]

I’d been worried for Steve and Sammy. At the same time an idea had begun forming in my mind. I desperately wanted Sammy to be friendly with humans. I believed it would enhance the quality of his life – he could be free of his leash when I took him walking, for example. He walked off the leash only with Steve and my husband.

When Steve came by to drop off our keys the next day, Sammy barked like crazy. Oh no. Was it back to square one? Steve tried to give him a little pat but Sammy backed away, still barking. “Forgotten me already?” said a disappointed Steve. And then it happened. Once he was in the house and sitting down, Sammy jumped on to his lap and gave him an affectionate nudge. Oh joy! Both Steve and I felt relieved – he, for having proved Sammy had taken to him and I, for realising there still was hope.

It was now or never. Wondering if it was quite the wrong thing to ask and aware that no one might have put such a proposition to him, I asked Steve if he’d continue walking Sammy along with his own dogs for a couple of months. In exchange I’d cook him and his partner a dish, daily. A desperate situation calls for desperate measures. I waited. At worst, he’d say no.

From the way his eyes lit up at the suggestion I think he liked the idea. What a relief. 

Today was the first day of this unusual arrangement. Sammy came back excited and happy. Steve said he got along famously with his own dog, Charlie. The most telling proof – when it was time for Steve to leave, Sammy didn’t bark. I am beginning to think this just might work.


36 comments on “An Unusual Arrangement

  1. Loved it ! I am also a big dog lover but unfortunately could never have dogs of my own due to practical constraints. They are just like babies, are’nt they ? Liked the narration, kept me hooked till the end !

    • Glad it did, moonstone. I am, in truth, a convert. From refusing to have a dog at home, we now have two, thanks to the kids and the hubby ganging up to cajole, bully and bribe me into getting the first one.

    • I too love dogs and I have been trying to convince my mom from the last 20 years to let me get one. She tells me that three animals are enough in the house, referring to Dad, me and my sister. And now I have a wife who has a phobia for any kind of animals. Sigh.

  2. Absolutely LOVED it!! I am a dog lover and have grown up with a few around. Recently I moved into an apartment, so do not have one yet because of time constraints. I don’t like to see the sad eyes when they know they are going to be left alone for some time. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. Awww I have a Lab and unlike you cannot leave him with anyone I know when we go on vacations. It is heartbreaking to leave him with a dog boarder. He is such a sweetheart! Dogs are the best absolutely.

  4. My husband is very fond of dogs but due to practical reasons we haven’t kept any till date. But you never know. I might soon be on the list of converts 🙂

  5. We had our little Pomeranian called Mink for close to twelve years. She was one loud and angry dog and we were convinced that she hated humankind! But we loved her unquestioningly….and we still do almost two years since she passed.
    Your post reminded me of all the good times we had with her barking her angry bark at us for no good reason! 😀

  6. This is beyond adorable!! The post the picture!! I am dying to get a dog but the house I stay in right nw is so tiny, dogs need some place to chill out. :/
    And I too hope this arrangement works out!!!

  7. Thanks, RH. I think it is. Sammy goes off with Steve and Charlie joyously and without a backward glance. And I feel quite certain Steve isn’t suffering from indigestion. Yet!

  8. Hmm! I am the sort of guy at whom even the most placid of dogs bark incessantly at and even feel inclined to whet their teeth on 🙂 Hope your arrangement works well enough before I even get a chance at testing Sammy’s PhD 🙂

  9. Glad to read you, KayEm. Such a simple incident and you narrated it so well 🙂 I am okay with dogs. We had two Poms in India for a couple of years. Sammy shouting reminded me of one of them. He would yell even if he spots a mosquito or a crow. My son wants one. My husband and daughter can’t take in any kind of pets. I told my son, if you are ready to clean its poop, then let me know. We can think about it 🙂

    • Expect a fervent “yes” to that, Latha, but don’t you believe it. He’ll mean it with all his heart but the grown ups will end up doing the feeding, cleaning, bathing and walking after about 3 months. Except the loving and laughter – that will be shared by all – including your husband and daughter :-).

      • LOL…you are right. My son knows it better. So, he never accepts it. And many friends who have pets warn me all the time. If you are ready to raise another baby, then go for it 🙂 I think I should get one, when the kids fly the coop, in old age 😛 Ain’t I bad?

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