My wife loves pets!
If I allow her, she may even turn our home into a zoo, quite literally! From birds to mice to cats to dogs to anything even remotely tamable, she would own each one of them if my salary ever permitted. Thank God, it doesn’t! As I just don’t quite share the same penchant for pets as she does.
But I love her and so a gift on her first birthday after our marriage was always on and to celebrate it, I decided to gift her a new pet. Now what would it be? A dog, a cat and a lot other species came to my mind but I stuck to dogs. Reason – they are easily controllable. I’d rather not have an animal around me that doesn’t listen to me if I call out its name and dogs were the best bet against them. Once tamed, they won’t bite or so I was told. Also, my wife hates the attitude thrown by some cats which I quickly learned when one of our friends got himself 2 cats. I also had to take care of the fact that life as a software engineer can be very busy and hence, not every pet will be able to survive with us.
I just casually asked her once, which dog would she like to own and she quietly replied – a Labrador. I thought – a good choice. They are the friendliest creatures on this planet and understand humans way better than most other species. They are good to kids, elders, are very playful and don’t bark much. I loved all these qualities and hence a Labrador, it would be. The color thankfully was up to me to decide and hence, I went for a peaceful faun. One rainy day I took a day off from my work (lied to my boss) and took my wife for a ride on my bike. Reached a market that I had found after a thorough research and got to the sought pet-shop. Sent my wife in who saw two ultra cute labrador brothers in a basket. Sleeping – one on top of another. Took both of them in our hands and looked at them and we got ourselves one that had the kindest face. I still say that he has the kindest face ever among all living beings but that’s just my view. We were on our way back with him in her hands, when she casually asked,”What should we name him?”. We discussed for about a kilometer or so when we came upon “Shrek” and there it was decided, for his ears were packed filled with dirt.
Being untrained and only 30 days old, he had to learn a lot about living with humans. So dirty he was, that we had to take him for bath to a close but very homely dog parlour. They had their own 2 dogs that they took care of and Shrek even though, was very scared to interact with both of them, would come to love them both after 3 visits. And he was so tired and sleepy after that hefty bath that he couldn’t even open his eyes with all his effort. Here are some pics from that day after his bath –
Thankfully my wife those days wasn’t working and hence it proved easy for us to teach the little guy. No wonder, he was getting all the colors of my wife as he spent all of his days with her. There were also some dark times in the fellows starting days with us. Even though I loved him in my home, I hated him for shitting anywhere in the house as he took some time to get potty trained, eating anything, from anyone’s hands and tearing things apart – he even ate my laptop’s charger once while it was plugged in. And I will never forget the first time I hit him. The bugger just won’t stop crying. One right hand right below his neck and he slammed into the cupboard. That was the first time I cried for him too for I will never forgive myself for that dastardly act.
The only problem we have never faced from him was barking or howling unnecessarily. He is as quite as a whisper and sometimes it’s easy to lose him in the silence. He never barked. He played like hell but never barked. There was one time, which my wife would forever be jealous about – he was very small and was watching other kids play outside of our home all the while peeking from below our main iron gate and a football came flying towards him and hit the gate right above his head, we heard the loud thud – he was so scared, he ran and ran so fast and although he was forbidden to jump up onto our bed, he jumped and came and sat on my lap all the while looking back as if the ball would still be chasing him. I saw fear in his eyes and I then knew, how dependent he really was upon us and why he shall forever seek our shelter.
He is resilient but not brave like other dogs who can fight with other dogs. He is brave as in he can really sustain himself for a long time in adverse conditions and hence, he has survived our bitter times with us. There were days when he was a sole light in our dark days, always happy running around the house like not a thing in the world could bother him. And then there were bad days. There was one such instance of his bravery that highlights what I’m talking about. If anyone has ever owned a dog, they would know how difficult it is for dogs to control their potty behaviour. They have to take a shit if they feel the urge or they will do it anywhere. We had to travel from Bangalore to Delhi as we were relocating after some hard times. This guy had turned around six months old by then and had gotten big. Thankfully, it was only his size that had grown and not the weight else we would have had to go well beyond our budget and make him travel by air than by a train. Now to tell you guys the truth, Indian railways sucks with facilities for humans so we can totally understand how good it would be for pets. For pets these guys have a 2×4 cage, a dark one where the animal is supposed to be tied by a chain with his food, in the ticket inspectors room. The cage is never cleaned and while I was tying him in it, I felt a sudden urge to abandon all plans of travel itself as I couldn’t myself bear the smell emanating from it. He went in, stood there and barked. I think he knew whatever was going on wasn’t good. Now before going into the details of the travel, let me tell you he had been at the receiving end of an absolute horror of a day which was unbearably hot and he had been tied to a tree for around 3 hours with no food and no shit or piss as we were moving out of our house. We straight up carried him in our AC taxi where for the first time during his day, he slept. Coming back to the journey, the journey was supposed to take 27 hours to our home town Bhopal from where we would carry on to Delhi while Shrek would stay with mom and dad. The journey only had 6 stops on the way where at each stop I was supposed to feed him, each stop being 2-3 minutes each. That meant that he would be fed alright but won’t get to shit as he was taught very early not to shit where he sat. And he didn’t. He ate but didn’t poop. At Bhopal when his turn came to come out of the cage, the guy was sitting all frightened in the cage but jumped on me with so much love as soon as his chains came off. He was dirty but it didn’t matter to us then. I took him and he couldn’t have been any happier. We never anticipated such behaviour from him but learnt soon enough that he wouldn’t leave me. Thankfully, he was to be taken home then and given a bath and relieve himself to all ends. Mom and dad were so happy with the love they received from him, it didn’t take him any time to mingle with them. We were proud of him.
The same thing repeated again when we brought him to Delhi with us. The same train journey although very short 10 hour one and he was welcomed by a brand new home that was burning our human feet as if an oven in the Delhi summer. We were proud of him again when he learnt the very first day that he was not to spread dirt anywhere other than the roof. This was an untrained dog but he could converse with us almost akin to humans. This is our buddy when he was 6 months old –
Another one of his most brilliant qualities is he loves water. He can bathe for several hours together and swim for another countless ones right after that. He swam the very first day he caught the sight of a pool. Thankfully the pool was made for pets and he showed us all his panache while pumping himself forward, rolling in the water. While all his friends only roamed around the pool looking at him, we could sense the jealousy in them. We were made proud again. Not something that happens to us very often.
We lovingly call him “Shreka” and he has so many other names and he somehow responds to all of them, something rather rare as I have heard most dogs only respond to names that either make a sound like their own or by their own name itself. But he can respond to us anytime.
He is happy with us. I can tell. My wife – she can tell. The way he jumps on our chests when we return home after our day of work is such a lovely adorable welcome, the tail wagging, a happy face, asking us to feed him so he can gain energy again to run up and down the house. He is amazingly fast for a labrador and loves skidding on our marble floor. Loves jumping and as soon as you touch the top of his head, he is bound to leap up to your chest to get a hug. The way he always peeks from the side of the stairs when we call him from the roof right at the start of his descent, all of it makes him so lovingly cute and we can never ever get tired of him. He does get me angry sometimes but that’s ok. As long as he is fine with me being angry at him, I can make do with the status of his master.
You are such a sweetheart Shrek. May you live with us for at least 20 years more!!!
Happy Birthday to you!
Here are his latest pictures – He is all grown up now to be 3 years old. And weighs a nice 36 kgs.