By Hema Ravi
My friend was standing in her balcony enjoying the autumn sun. A morning walker, towing a poodle along was passing by. The elderly gentleman slowed down at the compound-wall of my friend’s apartment. Surmising things, Shanta shouted, ‘not at my doorstep! With hurried steps, the dog-walker disappeared; the canine would probably defecate at the compound round the corner! Shooing off the dog-walkers from her compound gate became irksome, hence, Shanta got a tiny fenced-patch outside her apartment, planted flowering plants, further to that the poo-menace stopped.
No sooner than Shanta narrated this, I told her how I was enjoying my leisurely walks in the evergreen State of the West, admiring the dog-lovers ambling, jogging or running alongside their poodles. All the dog walkers carry poo-bags, do not flinch to clean up after the ‘job’ is done, continue their stroll without causing any discomfort to the other walkers. Besides, the parks have ‘Mutt Mint,’ and bins to facilitate proper disposal. If such a facility is extended in our own neighborhoods, it would compel people to use them, thereby, other walkers do not have to walk gingerly on the roads…..
During the course of my walks back home, I’ve observed walkers with long sticks (resembling walking sticks) to ward off the street dogs that approached menacingly. At times, people with a pomeranian in tow carried such sticks, I wonder if it was to keep their own pet away from the street canines.
Interestingly, the canines here are well-behaved even when they are unleashed..
I recalled a gruesome incident that happened years ago, when we were at Dehradun. Our friends lived in the upper storey of an independent apartment. On the ground floor was a family who possessed a black – brown Doberman, which was notoriously known not to let anyone without a taste of their flesh! Our friend Alok was the victim one winter afternoon when the attendant was away at lunch and the muscular creature was left unleashed in the garden.
Tyson mauled the hapless man, which left him wounded and incapacitated for months; I recall he had to take a lot of injections. By divine grace, he recovered in some months’ time. Once, Tyson nearly attacked my four-year old, fortunately, the attendant was around, so, she just had a graze on her hand…. Terrified, she never went anywhere near that compound, not even to play with her best friend.
If only Tyson had been well trained!
It is but a stray case of a ferocious ‘pet’ , nevertheless… our conversation drifted to Roald Dahl’s poem ‘The Dentist and the Crocodile’ when the dentist is at his wits’ end, holding on to dear life, in walks a gorgeous lady, who flashes a smile and says “He’s harmless. He’s my little pet, my lovely crocodile.”
In real life, such pets are certainly not welcome!
A chat with a dog-walker here made me understand that they begin to train the pets early. Even the bigger breeds such as the Doberman, Alsatians and the Collie do not seem menacing, rather they are a pleasure to watch as the devoted owners walk them with pride.
And if one is a dog-lover, one gets the opportunity to pat the canines, take a picture too…Here is the picture that I shared with my friend…..
Author Profile: Hema Ravi is a Communicative English and IELTS Trainer, Co-author of Sing Along Indian Rhymes and Everyday Hindi, she is a prize winner in the 26th ITO EN Green Tea Haiku Competition, Japan (2015). Her verses and haiku have been published in HSA Anthology (2015), Atlas Poetica, Poetic Prism, The Enchanted Verse, Rainbow Hues, Contemporary Literary Review, Metverse Muse, write-ups published in The Hindu and a multitude of print and online anthologies.