Monday, 28 May 2007

The Dog Trainer.

"Sit " I said . Not quite upto my British english he looked up at me ; ears perked up,and a bit taken aback at the harshness of my tone.
"Sit " I repeated.
"Come again', he seemed to tell me with his expression, quizzical and all.
Not the person to accept defeat so easily and being innovative, i pushed his bottom down & tossed him a biscuit ,just to keep the incentive thing going.
"Sit"- I said again. Bottom pushing and buiscuit throwing followed.
As the session moved on he seemed to put two and two togather and I was gaining in pride watching my Dog Resource Management technique gaining steam.
The training went on. Me the teacher - doing my 10th class and He , a 6 month old puppy.
From then on I used to bask in the glory of a dog trainer ; a first time dog trainer rather and not really understanding the pit falls.
The inexperience was clearly demonstrated and I was put in my place on the day when my friends called on me demanding an exhibition of my Dog training skills.
As they watched intently, "Sit" I commanded. The fingers snapped to emphasise.
Readjusting his tail, and quite oblivious of the audience, he watched my face intently.
A quick glance to my hand and he had formed his conclusions. The rigidity went out from his body. The expectation in his eyes seem to give way to a quizzical expression.
"Sit ? What Shit ? - Bring on the Biscuit Man !!
My friends who had assembled, I felt, were a bit relieved that I had not scaled the peaks of Dog Training skills ahead of them. They walked purposefully out, probably to source a dog at the earliest.
Having presumed that my first attempt as a dog trainer failed miserably, I sulked away in silence.
But then he had taken things a step further. Next time around when he wanted food he just gave a short sharp bark and sat down. To emphasise his hunger he just stood up and sat down again.

He had other qeer habits too.
Every morning when I read the news paper reclining on the easy chair, he used to be right there beside me. News paper meant nothing to him, but come what may he was there every morning. Warming himself by the early morning sun that filtered in to the verandah and lazily gazing over the garden. He had his own way of gathering the daily news.
The sofa had become his throne where he would stretch out luxuriously and where from he would watch over the proceedings in the hall. Especially in times of cricket matches, His barks at times capturing the excitement of some crucial sixers or boundaries. Also at times the frayed nerves of my friends were calmed by Bruno's canine display.

The stray cats around the house were his instruments for daily excersice. The chases were never fruitful but then he kept himself fit by them. It was during the course of watching those cat chases that I realised how straight forward the dogs were and the wiliness of the cats. The dogs in the neighbourhood would hold conferences across the street, scheming against him, but never dared to cross the fence. He often did piss on the fence to show his non-chalance.

Slowly all our family albums had his photos too. Though he ate what ever we ate , my mom did once in a while give a thought to what he liked better or even many a times cooked one dish of his liking. Coconut was one of his favourites. The moment the coconuts were grated , he used to apppear from no where to claim his share.

The family never went out without him and when he could not be taken, one of us remained back and gave him company. Though he used to curl up innumerable times during the day, he was the last to go to bed in the night. If me or my brother went to the night show in the near by theatre, he lay waiting for us. He never actually slept ,so to speak. The slightest noise made his ears turn in every direction to decipher the location and source of the noise. Many a times I was astonished by his wagging tail being a leading indicator of our car arriving almost 5 minutes later.

As I moved from home to hostel our intensity of love was indicated by his luxuriant and drooling licks on my face on my arrival back for vacation. Wild jumps, barks and further licks followed.

Ofcourse our long walks during those times became longer with so much to be updated.

He was brought to our home on his 19th day after birth. He had a small collar then. Looking at his discomfort, I removed the same. From then on he neither had a collar nor a chain. Though he took my words a bit lightly, he was quite obedient to the commands of my parents, especially my mom. After every meal he was in the habit of curling up near her feet , may be just to tell her that he enjoyed the food.

On trips to home from where I worked, I found him his usual self. Jolly and a terror to all moving creatures around him. Me being a little wealthy now, I treated him to some chicken & mutton dishes from the choicest of restaurants, and unlike phantom, I carried them home. I loved the way he used to jump up to my chin to show his delight.

It was during the summer of '99 that I detected the first sign of weaknes in him. It was painful to see him fail to jump up on to the half wall in the verandha. I helped him on to it. He never appreciated it - it was against his nature to be weak.

Bit by bit he lost ground.

In the winter of '99 , a sunday, it was around noon that i received the call. He completed his afternoon meal,I was told, walked up to my mom gave her a lick , stretched out in his favourite corner and left us.

Inspite of the long years inbetween its not unusual I guess, to feel his presence at times and see him quite often in my dreams.

He was quite an unsual chap.

Disclaimer : [Though the writing has figments of truth as always, drawing conclusions from it may be far fetched and Iam sure as regards writing what people are least worried about is truth]