Today I am hosting KayEm who blogs at Never Mind Yaar. She is also the author of the novel ‘Never Mind Yaar’ that was recently published in India. I have been following her blog from some time now and she always come across as a very level-headed person who is passionate about changing the world to become a better place. Her posts like Does Multiculturalism breed IntoleranceOne of the Greatest Strengths of Social MediaFootpath Vendors and Rape – Where’s the Connection? were insightful. She also writes short stories and collaborated with Abhy (A cartoonist) to create a unique way of telling one of her story – Babhuti, the Barber. You can also read about her journey and experiences of writing her first novel here

Over to KayEm

Charlie, Sammy and doggy 3

Photo provided by KayEm. Samson is on the right

Mummy Diaries! We named him Samson because he was puny and had the softest of curls. He grew. His curls became stubborn and tight. They were – still are – a nightmare to brush. But when they are and when he’s asleep he looks angelic. 

Sammy is the friendliest of dogs. With his owners. He slobbers all over us. He brings his little toys and invites us to play. He looks at us quizzically when he’s trying to understand the sudden sweep of an arm, an accusing index finger pointing at him and the loud, wailing sounds like no-ooooo barking or go-ooooo away that humans emit from time to time. He sleeps by 8 pm, waking up constantly to follow us around, distinctly droopy, from room to room. But let a stranger pass our fence or come to our door and it changes him completely. He turns into a wild, untamed beast. He barks like barking were going out of fashion. He dodges the owners to reach the door first and usually succeeds. He is impossible to rein in. We’ve tried many things including a dog training school. He holds the equivalent of a PhD but as soon as we have strangers at our door our learned friend forgets all his weighty dissertations. 

That’s where Steve comes into the picture. Steve is our house-sitter. Whenever we go out of town he stays at our house, making it look lived in and taking care of the dogs.

Early this month we decided to meet up with our other kids – the human kind, and asked Steve if he was free to house sit for us for a few days. To our luck he was. Steve had met Kara before but it was his first time with Sammy. We told him how unfriendly Sammy was with strangers but it didn’t seem to worry him. His girlfriend, wanting to reassure us, said that even the growliest of dogs soon became his doting shadow. I smiled weakly, sure Sammy would prove to be the one exception.

Sammy didn’t take to Steve. Our hearts sank. We’d booked our tickets and couldn’t change our plans at the eleventh hour. I felt nervous. Steve seemed confident and relaxed. He had two dogs of his own and took them for an hour’s walk down by the riverside every day. Perhaps Sammy would enjoy that and the company of other dogs. With fingers crossed we handed our dogs and house keys over to Steve and left.   

[We had a super time with the kids. Much refreshed and reassured to see them reasonably happy with life, we returned home to our canine family.]

I’d been worried for Steve and Sammy. At the same time an idea had begun forming in my mind. I desperately wanted Sammy to be friendly with humans. I believed it would enhance the quality of his life – he could be free of his leash when I took him walking, for example. He walked off the leash only with Steve and my husband.

When Steve came by to drop off our keys the next day, Sammy barked like crazy. Oh no. Was it back to square one? Steve tried to give him a little pat but Sammy backed away, still barking. “Forgotten me already?” said a disappointed Steve. And then it happened. Once he was in the house and sitting down, Sammy jumped on to his lap and gave him an affectionate nudge. Oh joy! Both Steve and I felt relieved – he, for having proved Sammy had taken to him and I, for realising there still was hope.

It was now or never. Wondering if it was quite the wrong thing to ask and aware that no one might have put such a proposition to him, I asked Steve if he’d continue walking Sammy along with his own dogs for a couple of months. In exchange I’d cook him and his partner a dish, daily. A desperate situation calls for desperate measures. I waited. At worst, he’d say no.

From the way his eyes lit up at the suggestion I think he liked the idea. What a relief. 

Today was the first day of this unusual arrangement. Sammy came back excited and happy. Steve said he got along famously with his own dog, Charlie. The most telling proof – when it was time for Steve to leave, Sammy didn’t bark. I am beginning to think this just might work.