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
with 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 one, we
could do without.

Mom won the day, of course, with a series of arguments,
 all 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 Pekingese,
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, yes; a
food-devourer, yes; a killer, no.

As weeks passed ‘Hank’ grew, grew and under our
horrified 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
sleep, waking up to attack his food bowl and its
contents with gusto. After a while, he developed
a hysterical nature, much given to continuous
barking. Given that his voice sounded as odd as
 he looked, this was indeed the Sleepless Age
for the household.

It was decided that Hank was to be the outdoor
dog. “We’ll bring him up to be a rough-and-tough
dog,” Mom pronounced. “He’ll learn to eat anything,
 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 learned to
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
breakdown when a bandicoot crossed his path.

By this time, the family was resigned to having
 this 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 Uncle
 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
eyes to Hank, who immediately sat back on his haunches
 and grinned. His Golden Age had only just begun.

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