10:54 PM

Sundays with Katie!

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"We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It’s the best deal man has ever made." "A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than he loves himself."

Anybody who's somebody in my life would agree that I believe in these phrases more than I believe in gravity. This being the case one would assume I have at least one dog at home. The fact is otherwise. Thanks to my father who's allergic to dogs, my mother who thinks I can hardly take care of myself let alone a dog and my granny who thinks it is inhumane to rear a dog without providing sufficient space for it to play around in, none of my dogs are at my
house. Someday I'll have a dog(s) of my own. Till then, I'm forced to take pride in claiming pseudo ownership of friends' dogs. Often when I visit my friends the common complaint is that their dogs get more of my attention than they do. I don't argue with them... I never argue against truth!

My time with dogs so far can be described 'playful' at best and nothing beyond. I pet them, they demand belly rubs, a few licks/smooches and I go home feeling on top of the world. So dogs to me were a thing of unadulterated love and nothing more. Never have I seen them go through pain, agony or the caring nature that humans (some of us at least) have to deal with. A few months ago all that changed...and how!

Oct 2 while most people spent the long weekend in their own way and paid tribute to Gandhiji by smses or blogs (like this one), I got a msg which said "Katie gave birth to 4. You became an uncle. Congrats!" Katie - A 3 years old Labrador is one of the 4 dogs that my friend has at her house. I was hyper excited and raring to see the new born puppies, but had to wait till I got back to Bangalore. When I did get back I was fortunate enough to be able to visit every week for a month and see the sides of Katie that I never had seen earlier. It was amazing to watch those tiny things grow into dogs. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have witnessed that beautiful transformation and photographed it. I've never craved for an SLR camera so much in my life. I begged, tried to borrow one but had to draw a line at stealing! Someday I shall have my own. Although my faithful camera could capture them well enough, I know it could have been better. Link to the album posted at the end.

The Dog House:
G's family is extremely passionate about animals. Anything with 4 legs or colorful feathers are welcome in their house. Without feathers or 4 legs, I'm probably the only exception! Over the years I've known them, I've seen numerous dogs, cats, frogs and birds at their house. It was nice to see cats and dogs living together happily. Currently 4 dogs and a parrot have made it their home. Goldie - A Lhasa Apso (My first bitch), Katie - A Labrador (My favourite as of now), Cleo (I call him clitoris just to annoy G) - A Basset Hound, Betty - A Cocker Spaniel (My sexy bitch) and a parrot called Polly. Everyone names parrots either Kiki or Polly... What's wrong with
Raju?

Katie - The Dog / Bitch:
Katie is about 30" tall on 4 legs and close to my height on 2. She weights over 35 kgs which gives her an upper hand over the other dogs. Whenever I visit she acts real bitchy...overpowering the others to attract attention, expecting me to
play with her. It's all out of pure love! I never knew that she was pregnant till her due date was close. Somehow pregnancy.... even a dog's is hidden from guys as long as the guy is not the reason for it. I don't understand why. She was mated with another lab which would make her pups thorough bred.

Katie - The Mom:
While delivering it seems she had problems positioning and had to be helped by
B (G's mom)..something like a mid-wife. She gave birth to 4 very cute pups. Rowdy, Snowy, Fluffy and Pinky in that order. Pinky being the last was quite underdeveloped but the cutest. When any of us tried entering the room where they were, Katie would wag her tail and be herself as long as we were far away. But if we went near the pups, the protective mom in her emerged and barked at us with all the fury she could muster. However B was allowed to go near and even handle the pups anytime. I think moms trust each other...species doesn't matter.

We tricked her and took her out of the room and handled the pups. She was barking all the time, whimpering, scratching at the door, poking into the window trying to see what we were upto. After she was assured that we would not harm the pups she kept quiet but did not budge from her watching station. I was feeling guilty and didn't take too long. As soon as she was let inside she picked up each of them in her mouth and made sure they were alright. A typical mother!

The Puppies:
I had pictured all those cute doggie pictures I'd seen on the internet and was
quite disappointed with what I saw. There were these 4 lumps of flesh, pink all around, not many features recognisable...not even a proper paw. Their tails had no life if it. They looked ugly! I could hold 2 pups in the palm of my hand..they were so tiny.

Katie - The Doc
She took extra care of pinky and would carry her around all the time. I thought
just like pinky was my favourite, she was katie's favourite too. But when pinky was about 6 days old, she was abandoned suddenly. Pinky died the 7th day. I like to think that Katie's natural instincts knew that pinky couldn't make it. After she died Katie went on nurturing the others. It reminded me of a doc who deals with death and still continues with his responsibility. The rest of us were feeling depressed for quite some time. May pinky R.I.P.

Puppies grow faaast..
The puppies seem to grow at an exponential rate. For the first two weeks they would drink milk till their tummies were stretched to the limit n sleep. Nothing else. For two weeks the only significant change they went through was size. They opened their eyes around the 17th day and started walking about the 22nd day. Slowly the facial features started taking shape. The paws, nose and other pink stuff turned black gradually. Took three weeks for their ears to open, start barking and recognise ppl. The third week I visited, fluffy's snout was so deep into his bowl that he got his head stuck in it. It was comical to see him wearing the bowl as a hat and barking from inside and his little tail wagging furiously. At the end of 1 month they were dogs with individual personalities...they had hit teenage in a month!

Nobody wanted to give them away, but 4 dogs in a house are a handful already. Rowdy the girl was given to G's little niece, snowy had to be given to the person who brought the male lab for mating and fluffy was taken for adoption within 15 mins of placing an ad on sulekha. You can imagine how painful it was for me not being able to take even one of em home. Instead I was posting an ad for adoption :(

That was the last I saw of them. But it seems they recognise G & B whenever they visit. I hear they have grown a lot too. But however old they are I will always remember them as they were - sleeping in the palm of my hand.

The entire album is here. If you like any pic in particular pls post a comment...for the doggie's sake. They are internet trained now :)

Bow Wowwwww!


PS: ಸಂK You have till the end of Jan to translate "ಗಾಂಧಿ.. ಎಂಬ ಮನಸ್ಥಿತಿ !" If you don't I WILL. You decide!