10 Canine Commandments:
1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years. Any separation from you will be painful to me. Remember that before you buy me.
2. Give me time to understand what you want from me.
3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial to my well-being.
4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your entertainment and your friends. I have only you.
5. Talk to me sometimes. Even if I don't understand your words, I understand your voice when it's speaking to me.
6. Be aware that however you treat me, I'll never forget it.
7. Remember before you hit me. I have teeth that could easily crush the bones of your hand but I chose not to bite you.
8. Before you scold me for being unco-operative, obstinate or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food or I've been out in the sun too long or my heart is getting old and weak.
9. Take care of me when I get old. You too will grow old.
10. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say 'I can't bear to watch it' or let it happen in my absence'. Everything is easier for me if you are there.
My friend Usha Pisharody had posted the above message in facebook, which pushed me to write this post about our Andrew. The first part is here, wherein I wrote how much we enjoyed his company. Like it happens with human beings also...with our own children, we have to bear their tantrums, take care of them when they are ill etc. we have to bear some things with our pets too. Though with dogs they are slightly different. It takes time to get used to including them as a member in our family. Unless you like/love them whole heartedly, it is very difficult to bring them up. With pomeranians, which have too much hair, we have to bear the 'tick problem'. We have to keep them clean. Bathe them and brush them regularly. Still somehow they attract ticks (small insects). So, from my personal experience long/thick haired dogs are difficult to bring up. Yearly vaccines for any type of dog is a must - we enjoyed going to the vet where we came to see many types of cute dogs/pups!
We must have somebody reliable to leave them when we are away from home, who will feed them, take them for walks, etc. Thank god, we had friends who loved our Andrew like we did when he was with us.
Now, to the 10th point of the above '10 Commandments'. Our Andrew lived with us for 11 years. He was unwell for a few months and my sons insisted on taking care of him like we took care of them. The doctor came home to have a look at him often. Then my son was unwell and was in the hospital for a few days. Still he was asking about Andrew everyday. Andy died when my son was still in the hospital. My mother said that pet dogs die if somebody in the family was unwell. I don't know about that but my son cried so much hearing the news that we were worried about his health. One of our relative broke the news to him against our wish not to tell him. Well...he was a good pet and will live in our heart always.
Now, to some more antics of him! As you know I have two sons and they were school going children when Andy was with us. They were asked to take him for walks, one on each day, after dinner. Until dinner, Andy will keep quiet, just keeping an eye if we finish our dinner. As soon as the dinner was over, he would start whistling, looking at each son, standing on two legs, dancing in front of the son whom he thought would take him out on that day. Sometime the sons fought, like, 'you take - you take'. Andy used to run to both of them in turns and dance! He never liked looong walks, only short walks! If we take him for long walks, he would just sit on the road after his due distance and would not budge. We had to carry him in our hands or hips!
He was very possessive about my husband. He never liked if my husband hugged my sons. He would start barking at them, push his face between my husband and son and separate them. He never liked when my sons fought with each other. He would stand up and bark at them loudly until they stopped fighting.
Some of my old relatives who never liked dogs also were made to love him by his friendly nature. He never climbed the bed but during the rainy season, thunder made him to climb and sit in between my sons! He always loved to be surrounded by people. He used to sit in between me and my friend on the sofa and sleep off when we chatted in the afternoons.
I remember his first birthday on 8th April '84. My sons also were small. All the small children from the colony celebrated it grandly...I remember my friend's daughter tying a small conical cap...well trying to tie (!) on Andy's head. All the children had those caps and a cake was cut with cheers, with Andy joining in with his 'wow wow...no, wok, wok'! Happy days!
I still remember him taking tiny bits of chapaathis from my 1 and a half year old niece, without touching her fingers. Another niece used to take him for walks (!) inside the house from one room to another. The chain used to hang between him and her hand. He never pulled her unlike he did with us! She used to act like a teacher later and Andy was the student. He just used to sit there and watch her. She is a mother of two children and tells stories of Andy to her daughter now!
I feel that if possible, it is better to bring up a pet, esp. dog, when we have got only one child. Then the child will develop sharing mentality and start taking care of the dog, which is like taking responsibility at a young age. This happened in our house...my sons adored him and were very close to him.
I can go on writing about him for a few more parts...but will stop now! Enjoy your pets!
P.S.: Cats are ruling us now! We have got 2 older cats at home which are sterilised and they entertain us now. No, no, we entertain them (husband says!). Anyway, cats are cats and dogs are dogs! Nothing can beat the friendly/loyal dogs!
Edited to add a few hours later: Our whole family is reading this article and they keep remembering new things about Andy! Once my husband's cousins had come home for the holidays when we were in Hosur. One brother used to take Andy for walks 2-3 times a day. So, Andy was giving him special attention! Whenever the brother changed from pyjamas to jeans, Andy would start jumping with joy, knowing that Anna will take him for a walk! Once Anna just changed back to pyjamas...you should have seen Andy's face, body language...he just went and sat in a corner...he was upset! I don't know how many 'edited to add' I am going to write now!