DECCAN HERALD/SOMETIME IN THE NINETIES
A question of pedigree
He was gifted to us, a week-old bundle of sable brown fur
and unfocussed grey eyes. The resident pedigree took one
look at him and a look
of sheer horror came into her eyes.
Ever since, her only reaction has been a
policy of cold
ignoring interspersed with occasional snapping.
“Definitely traces of Alsation,” my mother pronounced
aggressive satisfaction. My sisters were vehement
about gifting it back. The
general consensus, snob motive
apart, was that we had a dog already and this
could do without.
Mom won the day, of course, with a series of arguments,
of which crossed the boundaries of reason and seemed
ludicrous. Her main theory
was that all her friends kept
one pye dog alongside their Dobermans and
because pye dogs made ideal guard dogs.
“They are so grateful, they’ll die for you,” Mom said,
dramatically. We looked dubiously at the little chap c
urrently wetting Mom’s
carpet. We couldn’t quite see
him growing up to be a killer. A carpet-wetter,
food-devourer, yes; a killer, no.
As weeks passed ‘Hank’ grew, grew and under our
eyes, grew some more. He grew thin, he
grew long but he didn’t grow tall. The
truth is, he
grew to be funny looking. At first, all he did was
up to attack his food bowl and its
contents with gusto. After a while, he
a hysterical nature, much given to continuous
barking. Given that his
voice sounded as odd as
he looked, this was indeed the Sleepless Age
It was decided that Hank was to be the outdoor
bring him up to be a rough-and-tough
dog,” Mom pronounced. “He’ll learn to eat
sleep anywhere and survive everything.”
Except, as days went by, the rough-and-tough
dog was found
in all the softest spots, curled up
on our best embroidered cushions. He
eat anything- as long as it had meat, eggs and milk
in it. He had a
fit when faced with his first
thunderstorm and then, a canine nervous
when a bandicoot crossed his path.
By this time, the family was resigned to having
creature with the appetite of a Saint Bernard
and the appearance of a
permanently surprised giraffe,
as the blot on the family escutcheon. And then
Sudhir came visiting, all the way from Tonga.
Hank greeted the visitor with his usual twin-barreled
attack, a volley of growing barks guaranteed to shatter
the sturdiest eardrum
and exuberant leaps that usually
felled most people. Not Uncle Sudhir, though.
Open-mouthed, he stared at Hank. “Why, it’s a
Norsation” Uncle gasped. “How did
you get such
a rare breed?”
Open-mouthed, we stared at Uncle, then swivelled
Hank, who immediately sat back on his haunches
and grinned. His Golden Age had
only just begun.