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Canine Confessions
by Vijai Pant

The message sent through a messaging app created quite a flutter among the recipients. It read ‘Please welcome our new family member’. Congratulations poured in, though the people congratulating the two of us were completely flummoxed by this sudden development, minus the apparent signs of a baby bump and the visits to the gynaecologist. And they were not to be blamed as both me and my better half, having completed our half centuries on this planet, were in a way quite over and above that ‘good news’ age.

Realizing the faux pas I got furious at my daughter. She had sent the message but in her haste to share her excitement with others, she had forgotten to attach the picture of Tuffy- the three months old, fluffy haired Pomeranian, just brought home from a relative of ours. The fact that I was not a huge animal lover further fuelled my anger. Here let me mention that earlier my wife and the little one had to exercise all their persuasive powers, before eventually getting my reluctant approval for a ‘family expansion’.

But I had also put some conditions before giving them the go ahead. I had made it clear that I would not be asked to feed him or clean his mess or take him out for the mandatory walks. In short, except for loosening my purse strings, my contribution in his rearing would be a big zero. Little did I know that the home visits of the vet, the medicines and vaccination, grooming products, pet food and all such paraphernalia would make me dig deep into my pockets.

Keeping my reservations in mind regarding pets, there were hardly any celebrations on his arrival. Neither did we have any difficulty in keeping his presence hush-hush. The dog was abnormally too well behaved, in fact, discomfortingly quiet. May be he was getting accustomed to the new masters or wanted to create a good impression on us. Whatever be the reason, leave alone barks, there were no mild growls either.

Expectedly, when the news did get broken I had a very tough time responding to the sarcastic queries of my neighbours.

The pet has now been with us a little over eight months. After the evening stroll he is brought inside the house, instead of remaining in the courtyard, for safety purposes- his safety, of course. Now, who said that you feel more secure with a dog as pet?

Tuffy continues to impress everyone with his docility. Naturally, he has become the darling of my family as well as the locality around.

I too must confess that, of late, I’m also undergoing a change of heart. Even Tuffy now grovels and snuggles up to me when I come back after a day’s hard work, immediately de-stressing me. I no longer care for the amused smiles and jibes of my neighbours, while taking him out for some fresh air.

Even now, when I’m concluding this piece, he’s sitting at my feet, rolling his eyes at me every now and then, but not doing anything which would distract me.

Does he know I’m writing about him? I bet he doesn’t. But does he know I’m the latest to join the ever expanding army of animal lovers? I bet he does. And so does the world.