I've been away for a couple of weeks. A quick trip to India and back, and now I have a) jet lag b) bronchitis c) no drafts left to keep my blog going. For ages now I've been after my husband to hoe in and lend a hand, seeing that he seemed to be composing his 'pomes' left, right and centre, everywhere, except for me. And so, it was with amusement that I read his latest offering that he sent me via email while I was still in India. It was perfect, I thought, for a blog post.
For background: A couple of months ago, we finally gave in and adopted a little pup, sight unseen. It's been more than three years since our Raja left us with a doggy-sized hole in our lives, and we - at least I - had steadfastly refused to look at getting another dog to 'replace' him. No, not even when our older son went off and got himself the loveliest, most loving, pup ever. I was happy with the vicarious pleasure of having Flipper over whenever our son came to visit, and even more happy to give him back when he left.
But slowly, I began noticing that both my husband and I were looking at shelters and puppy adoption sites - 'Simply' - and making gooey eyes at the dogs listed there. Eventually however, we both admitted what should have been obvious weeks before - we were in desperate need of some puppy love. Before we knew it, we had sent out an enquiry for a pup from far, far away. Even faster than that, the background checks were done, and very suddenly indeed, we were the proud 'owners' of a little pup whom they assured us was a Labrador-German Shepherd mix. Well, a) I don't think any of us really 'own' our dogs; from experience, our dogs have owned us! b) If this pup has any German Shepherd in him, then it must have been the smallest German Shepherd in existence. (See for yourself.)
Anyway. Long story short - pup came along just when husband was sick as, well, the proverbial dog, hacking and coughing his way through the day, not even being able to go to work. (Which, if you knew my husband, meant he was dying. Or already dead.) So, initial walks for the pup fell to my lot, and we set off cheerfully down the neighbourhood. It was surprising - to me - to realise just how many of our neighbours had dogs. I had never seen any of them before, but suddenly, here they were, sprouting out of nowhere, so to speak. And Scamper, as we'd named our new pup, a hail-fellow-well-met type if ever there was one, happily made his acquaintance of all of them, his tail wagging his behind so hard, I was afraid he would break into two pieces.
While on my perambulations, I noticed a house that had this grim warning tacked to its garage wall:
Dobermann Guard Dog
Now, we had lived in this neighbourhood for well over ten years now, and I had never seen, nor heard, a Chihuahua there, let alone a fierce Dobermann. My husband scoffed at my 'discovery'. In all the years he had walked Raja around the neighbourhood, he had seen nary a sign of said Dobermann. Ergo, said my husband, the 'Dobermann' didn't exist. I wasn't convinced - why would someone put up a sign warning people off their grounds when they didn't have a dog at all, much less an attack dog? My husband was insistent that there was no such beast. Well, there matters rested, and I duly left to visit my native shores. And then, one day, I got this email from him. The subject line said 'We saw him! We saw him!' And the rest of the missive was in verse. So, without further ado, you shall all hear the tale of the fearsome beast who demanded such a warning outside his house, and of poor Scamper who thought he'd found a new friend...
We Saw Him! We Saw Him!
The mystery is solved, the mystery is solved,
The Dobermann guard dog was spotted today.
As we passed the house, we heard the sound
Of the ferocious dog that kept people at bay.
As out it came barking furiously,
Singing its terrible battle song
Scamper and I started convulsively,
We were sure that something was terribly wrong.
We had never seen a Dobermann so small.
Perhaps it was a hundred inches long
It seemed to only be nine inches tall
There must have been something wrong.
"Can ever there be a Dobermann so tiny?"
Barked Scamper (though a pup is well versed in these matters)
"A Dachshund," he said, his eyes sunshiney
"Let us play, let us run, let us jump, let us scatter..."
But the Dachshund was having none of it.
As a pedigreed German, he said, "Nein.
Du ist ein half breed nit vit
Du are not ein hund, but ein schwein."
And with that he barked some more imprecations
That did not bode well for future relations.
Sadly, Scamper watched with a myocardial fracture*
As into the house the Dachshund took his departure.
- Sadanand Warrier
[Poet's Note: * 'Myocardial fracture' sounds so much grander than 'broken heart'.]