My name is Olly and I am just a dog. My adoptive mother of thirteen years has this notion that I am growing old and lonely. While the former is true to a certain extent, I am after all a heart patient since six years and my paws are wearing out, but to an evolved person, and my mother certainly isn’t one, I would appear alone, not lonely. According to Osho, alone is good, while lonely reeks of misery and I choose not to be thought of as a miserable little fellow.
I am content watching my family members go about their lives busily and even though I am just a dog, my days are far from empty. I follow my adoptive mother (henceforth referred to as ‘mother’) around the house all day like a shadow and at times, I even follow her five floors down to the car park. If a pedometer such as the popular Fitbit, which my mother has purchased twice, but does not use, could be attached to my body, I would be easily outdoing most of you adults trotting along Carter road with missionary zeal every morning.
I was brought into this house shortly after my adoptive parents got married. I have overheard mother tell people that I was the ugliest Shih Tzu that there ever was. She was expecting a fluffy white pup to arrive in a basket from Tashkent and here I was, looking like something that had accidentally dunked its head into a can of black tar. No one could have predicted at that time that like George Clooney, I would get better looking with age and in my autumnal years I would be the kind of fellow that managed to turn heads.
I might have been a strange looking creature back then, but something about my gremlin like physiognomy and overall needy attitude, evoked considerable sympathy from within the family and I found myself at the receiving end of a fair bit of attention.
In due course, something about my behaviour elicited calls to a dog trainer for whom I reserved a special kind of contempt. He would diligently show up at our doorstep every day at 7.30 am, like dead fish that got washed up at the beach every morning, and take me to the compound to teach me some silly tricks, for which I had no appetite or flair. Since mother was not about to yield to the simpering noises my epiglottis produced each time I saw this despicable human, I had to rely on my own wisdom and come up with a strategy. Each morning I would come back from my morning walk and disappear under one piece of furniture or another and by the time I was traced by the vile domestic helper and dragged out, after much snarling, only twenty minutes of my training time was left.
Mother was as enthusiastic a dog owner as any and fixed play dates for me with dogs I had no intention of mixing around with because generally speaking, I don’t like dogs, I never have. I was, for all practical purposes, a human being given that I slept on the same bed as my adoptive parents, ate cooked food and drank filtered water like them. I was even tasted Warholian fame when I got featured on television along with my adoptive father.
In spite of the glaring difference of class between other dogs and me, mother, an abiding optimist, took me all the way to Lonavala to enter me in a dog show. Eager to make an impression on the judges, she sent me for grooming a day before the show and spent hours in the salon getting her own hair coiffured as well. I don’t wish to plume myself over my achievements, but since we are talking, I feel compelled to tell you that I won the ‘Best of Breed’ trophy that day. I was the only contestant in that category and maybe that had something to do with it, but I do believe it was my swagger that charmed the judges.
My certificate was proudly displayed in the house and a matrimonial advert soliciting proposals from deserving female Shih Tzu’s was advertised in the Mid-Day in the news section, no less. Mother did not want my handsome picture to get lost in the clutter of classified adverts, you see. All interested parties were asked to contact father’s secretary whose number was printed in bold on the matrimonial alliance advert along with her email address. I believe this stirred up a hornet’s nest at father’s office because the secretary was inundated with calls from cheap men asking her if she was interested in “mating with them”. The ignominy of this situation had caused the poor girl to resign and it was after much apologizing from my sheepish father that she agreed to take her resignation letter back.
I must have been three years old around the time I noticed mother’s girth expand and it continued to do so inordinately for the next few months. As if to accommodate her belly, overnight I was downgraded to my own little bed in the corner of the room. In due course, two annoying children arrived, one after the other, to rain on my parade. Mother’s affection for me did not wane but the time she spent with me did. It was also around this time that, just as my hormones were raging, a surgery was performed on me to unduly tame them down. With my factory closed even before I had gotten into full-scale production, I began to realize just how profoundly unfair the universe was turning out to be.
I hectored myself to not give into despair and sought sublimation in my constant companion, Stripes, the toy tiger, whose company I have had the privilege of enjoying since I was a puppy.
I had made my peace with the stuffed toy and no one thought of getting me a female companion thereafter. But now when I am too old to care, mother has to spoil things for me by getting a shrill and overenthusiastic puppy. Mother does not care too much for her but the children of the house are going nuts over her. I fail to understand what they see in this creature that barely even looks like it was sired by a dog. In my opinion, she looks more like a kitten and if you want a cat so bad, you should get a cat and not a dog that looks like one.
As though this is not bad enough to give her an identity crisis, the family keeps changing her name every day. In the one week that she has spent in my house, I have heard them call her Fifi, Chelsea, Akiko and since yesterday she is Tiffany. I always suspected that I lived around a mentally unhinged family, but now my doubts have been confirmed. Mother keeps taking me to this abbreviated piece of nothing and asking me to “Good boy Olly, play with the puppy”. I am 91-years-old in human age, for god’s sake, do you think I would be interested in playing with a loopy, 2 month old infant who probably thinks I am her mother?
Mother has been telling all her friends that she has got this pup to bring some excitement into my life. Whatever gave her the impression that I find a pestilent pup with an incontinent bladder exciting? I’ll tell you what’s exciting to me? I find stupidity exciting. This insatiable fruitcake fell over into my bowl of food the other day and had chicken soup all over her hairy mug. That sort of made my day. No wonder she is kept in a training kennel while I get to sleep in my own bedroom with the family.
Anyway, I suppose now when my hysterical family goes away on vacation they will not be skyping with me like before because I have this “exciting” thing to keep me company. Mother’s only foible, as far as I know, is her impulsive nature and I am willing to overlook it. Just that this is one impulsive decision that I will have to live with for the rest of my life.
Pray for me.