Of course one mustn’t compare, but… Pups are so much like children. Only, so much easier. They only need to be fed and walked. You don’t have to teach them how to eat by themselves without spilling the food and making a mess of themselves; they are generally tidy creatures who will lick up crumbs from the floor and groom themselves later. (They are also quite helpful in cleaning up spills of an edible nature.) Plus, you don’t have to teach them to speak, read and write, add and subtract, paint, ride a cycle…
Best of all, they will not ever ask you to explain – among other awkward things – why there are 346 photos of one and only 343 of the other in the first few months of their lives with you.
So much for differences. There are some similarities, as well. The pups, in their first few days with us, have been almost as passive as the girls were. The girls have certainly grown out of it, so I’m hoping it’s just a part of the adoption trauma, the uprooting and the unfamiliarity of a new place, a new family. That must be terribly upsetting, even for dogs. Like the twins, one of the pups, Sandy, has a bad tummy (diarrhoea), which could also be due partly or entirely to the change in place and diet. Sandy (like Mrini, who had scabies) also has a skin condition for which the vet has prescribed a course of antibiotics, in addition to a cream and an unhealthy dose of anti-mite spray.
Unlike the twins, who gobbled everything in those early days with us, Mishti is a fussy eater. Even when she’s terribly hungry, if her food doesn’t have a good dose of non-veg in it, she’ll turn her nose up at it in a most supercilious manner. If there is a sufficient quantity of non-veg, she’ll dig her nose into it with determination and snarl at Sandy. They have separate bowls, but they insist on both eating from one and then from the other; I suppose each wants to be sure that the other isn’t getting something more delicious.
Mishti is slowly getting to grips with the concept of being put on a leash and taken for a walk. At least she now does 90% of the walk on her own steam, without being dragged along. She hasn’t yet thought of doing her business while out on a walk, but I suppose she’ll hit upon the idea some day. The last few times, the twins have wanted to join in on the walk-the-dog sessions, and have even taken hold of the leash. Something good should come of this, sometime soon. But Sandy, whom I’ve taken out only a couple of times, is still completely averse to the idea. I’m hoping that once Mishti “gets” it, I can add Sandy to the soup and he’ll pick it up from her.
My memories of my dog days (to misuse the phrase) are full of easy and happy times. As a teenager, I played with the dogs, groomed them, walked them, fed them, scolded them when required, slept with them (something Amit has always been a teeny bit jealous of!)… we were pretty much siblings. With the twins and the pups, it’s not quite there yet. On Monday, when I had turned my back on the lot of them for a couple of ticks, I turned around to find that Sandy had cornered Tara on the floor and was licking her feet and Tara was wailing as loudly and hysterically as she possibly could. It would have been funny, if only the poor girl hadn’t been so totally petrified.
After that episode, it has taken several days for Tara to become even mildly less paranoid of the four-leggeds. The moment they make a move in her direction, she runs screaming and wailing and clutches on to me with all her might. Mrini is less terrorised. On one occasion when both dogs succeeded in backing her into a corner, she put both her hands out in front of her and pushed them away by the nose! I was so proud of her, because she is normally the scaredy cat of the two. Since then, she has made numerous friendly overtures including sitting by the dogs as they sleep, patting them, putting her face within licking distance, poking their eyes and so on. At least she’s getting the idea.
The more dog-friendly of my friends assure me that the kids and the pups will be best of friends – or at least best of siblings – very soon; that the pups will get used to going for walks and doing their business outdoors; that they will all grow up and settle down and I can stop living with all the bedroom doors closed (to keep the messes off the mattresses) and the living room in tatters (thanks to teething puppies) and Tara in tears… it will all come together into one big happy family, some day soon. That’s what they tell me.
Well, I hope they’re right. It can’t be soon enough for me.