the story of the extended family

August 7th 2017, Killer’s condition had worsened. She had retreated to the terrace and shunned food, water and bed. Every two hours we were checking on her condition. She wasn’t allowing us to come near and we only saw a stern expression on her face. We googled certain things and all the necessary items required was on stand-by.

Killer is one of the exotic living things I have come across. She has the poise inbred in her from the foreign relatives while exhibiting the street-smartness inherited from the desi side of her family. Oh wait, I didn’t introduce you to Killer. She is our pet dog who we adopted after her previous owners abandoned her.

Her previous owners called here Motee, which means pearl in hindi. However, the owners didn’t find her to be admirable and valuable due to some superstition associated with dog’s nails. She was also responsible for numerous deaths of rats and pigeons which were dumped in front of their house. Now, it would be a little clear on how the name ‘Killer’ stuck for Motee.

Killer, eventually started accompanying acha and me during our trips to bakery. We always ended up buying her a packet of ParleG which she would only relish after inspecting it for a minute or two. Sitting in a comfortable position, she would leisurely eat oblivious to the dogs circling us, howling and showing sad faces for not giving them any.

Eventually, she became a part of our family and would happily munch on the chicken bones we have saved for her. The habit of killing rats and pigeons dropped progressively, she started bringing clean shoes and would place it delicately next to the door. Acha took great interest in nurturing Killer and I ended up teaching her how to give handshakes and sit.

One day Amma found out that Killer is pregnant. Amma believes she knows which dog is responsible for this but we were never able to track him. She still continues to be in search of him so that she can shout at him. Killer was however bindass and went on with her routine. She continued running around bikes and scooters, barked at ragpickers and played the role of friendly neighbourhood dog to the children. Only during the first week of August, did Killer decided to take a sabbatical from roaming the streets and settle down in one place. She was however loyal to the task of shouting at ragpickers and salesmen.

On the morning of August 08, Killer gave birth to three female pups and two male pups. To ensure, they don’t end up with weird names. We decided to name them after sweets- Laddoo, Caramel, Chocolate, Butter Scotch and Candy. Over time we realised taking care of six dogs isn’t easy. Caramel and Laddoo were adopted, Candy unfortunately passed away due to health complications. We were supposed to keep only Chocolate but Butterscotch had attempted such a heroic, dramatic escape by wriggling out of ropes, jumping from an auto and running for a long time until he saw us. After that, we have never left him alone.

Killer never entered our house and still continues to obey the self-imposed rule of always staying by the door and not entering the house. But Chocolate and Butterscotch never cared for any guidelines. They just walk in with their boss attitude ensuring their tails wag in super speed and tongues out with much fervor and enthusiasm. Their daily ritual would be rolling on our carpet, rip apart the newspapers kept, scratch our sofa and lie at acha’s lap. They love listening to Tamil songs and would also try jostling me out from my bean bag and are usually successful in it. Meanwhile they would continue acting like they aren’t listening to amma shouting who is asking them to get out of the house.

Their life as cliché as it sounds was a roller-coaster ride. On its expedition outside the gates, a taxi ran over Chocolate when it was only five months old. We were clueless on how to treat him and couldn’t stand him suffering from pain. Killer would look at us, her vulnerabilty clearly seen while Butterscotch would be restless and never left Chocolate’s side. The treatment at the pet hospital wasn’t working out and the financial costs to treat went higher. If not for the folks at CARE (Charlie Animal Rescue Centre), his leg would have been amputated. During his month long stay there,  the family went through a lot of feelings and when amma broke down seeing Chocolate at the hospital we realised they were important and meaningful in our lives.

They are infamously known for their atrocities of sniffing any living thing walking around them and their occasional playing with the unattended garbage brought the residents of the street to our door. They made loud arguments and threatened us on filing police complaint and gave us an ultimatum of shifting them elsewhere. The kids stood support for us and acha shut the door on their faces, they never turned up after that.

The trio also ensures we get a three-tier security whenever we get out of the house. With Chocolate being close, followed by Killer and Butterscotch takes care of the outer layer. Of course, they scoot immediately when they enter into the territory of other street dogs. Both Chocolate and Butterscotch love my scooter, they ensure they have urinated on it once a week as well. Another activity they like is the ride to the hospital for their medical checkups and would constantly move their heads from one side to other. They along with the residents of the city share the hatred for traffic. Being stagnant is something they will never be accustomed to.

You can be friends with my dogs in three ways. Defeat their enemies who are usually seen strolling the next street, you shall be granted a demi-god status for them if you succeed here. Otherwise, get Killer a packet of ParleG. Yes, no matter the fancy dog biscuits and pedigree in excess. ParleG is something special for her. For her kids, you have to be extravagant in the food category. We are guilty for spoiling them. Actually, we are not. If none of these two works, just play with them. Your friendship with them will also lead to a deal of an exclusive security detail for you, your shoes and vehicles (if any).

These three dogs are what makes the family laugh for absolutely no reason. They are also the reason why the family WhatsApp group continues to remain active. The trio love videocalls and have in numerous occasions licked my phone’s front camera when they talk to Acha. Once acha who returned from a long business trip couldn’t get in the house as they were too excited to see him after a long time. His shirt had paw marks and we are sure they are the reason why his shoes tore as well.

This family of dogs have grabbed on the role of blowing off the pressure in our lives. The amounts of stress and worries we carry become lighter. The minute they sense something is amiss, they would just do some extremely weird antics and we would forget about it.  On other days, they would be sleeping in the day and barking at the night, giving no thoughts about the world.

Could we imagine our lives without them? Yes, we could. It is very mundane and monotonous.

So thanks Chocolate, Butterscotch and Killer. You guys have given a lot of dog fur whenever I step outside, paw marks on my clothes and a little woof of happiness.

Killer abiding by her rule of not entering our home
Chocolate. September 2017
Chocolate and Butterscotch. October 2017
Butterscotch. October 2017
Chocolate. April 2018
Butterscotch. May 2018
Killer, Chocolate and Butterscotch. July 2018

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