One way to get the most reticent of ladies to open up is to ask about their child. I have noticed that mothers are always enthusiastic to talk about their kids even if it is to complain about them. With pet owners, a sure-fire icebreaker is to ask about their pets. I have known the most curmudgeonly persons open up on the subject of their most wonderful pet . It is the same during morning walks. When I am at the other end of the leash, I find other dog owners, total strangers, nodding to me or smiling. By virtue of owning a pet, we all seem to belong to a club which has no physical existence but whose rules and by-laws we all know instinctively - the non-existent association of pet owners everywhere. These are the people who identify people as 'Munni's mom" or 'zoozoo's dad'. The other day someone in my colony was saying something about Mr.M, who used to be the chairman of XYZ bank and I found myself responding: 'who is this now - oh ok, you mean Simba's dad?" To some of us, even Barack Obama might be better known as Bo's dad.

When friend's call me the conversation invariably veers to the subject of my dogs somehow or other. I have a couple of friends whose children insist on visiting us every time they are in Bangalore just to spend some time with the dog/s. One such friend was in bangalore last month and he was enquiring about Munni. He had met her last when she was about 4/5 months old and remembers how hyper she was. In case you have read this post you may not have forgotten what a psychotic pup she was. I never thought she would grow to become the docile, laid-back character that she is. Now Zoozoo makes me think that Munni was an angel. This one makes me want to feed her Prozac to calm her down and pop one myself after chasing her all over the place . By contrast Munni appears totally zen. When my friend heard this he laughed and said "I think pets tend to reflect the personality of their owners. They are probably the way they are because of you and your spouse." Well, this friend knows us for over 30 years, that is from the time of our restless youth. I have to agree that there was a period in my youth when I was as hyper as munni and zoozoo. That this period may have lasted for about 20 years doesn't really give him the right to make that comment but you know how friends are.

His comment made me think about the personality traits of the dogs I have had and how unique each one has been.
First of all there was Patta. She was a tiny pomeranian who was primarily my aunt's dog but spent quite some time with me whenever my aunt travelled. This was one dog with an attitude. One of her legs was damaged at birth and she walked with a limp but that did not deter her from facing up to the fiercest street dogs that dared to cross our house. To prevent her from running away I had her tied to a cane foot stool thinking that would be sufficient to hold this tiny dog. one day I had left her like that and gone in. When I returned she had disappeared and I found her a few meters from our house. There she stood with the leash still attached to the stool and there were 6 street dogs around her and she was scaring them all with her persistent bark.
Such was her spirit!
This was a dog who wanted to go for a walk and once she finished her business, she would ask you to carry her back. Now Patta had clear ideas about where she wanted to sit, sleep etc. If she wanted to sit on the chair you were seated in, she would simply sit before you and stare until you get up. She used to love tomatoes and cucumber and go and stand near the fridge if she wanted some. Coming back from work and finding her sleeping inside my wardrobe is one of my sweetest memories of this totally fearless white pomeranian. And I wasn't allowed to raise a hand (in jest) at my son - she would jump between me and Siddharth shielding him and barking at me - all this when she was just a foot in height and my son was well over 5 feet!

Then there was Sabha 1. He had been rescued by a French student who left him with me when it was time for her to go back. He was with me until I found a home for him. This guy would sing himself to sleep. And he thought Patta was a joke. He could not believe that such a furry, fluffy, fussy character was really a dog. So he would go and pull her tail and Patta would be neurotic. He was too small to climb on to chairs so Patta used to jump from sofa to sofa just to avoid being caught by this fellow. When we sat outside the house Patta would be tied and Sabha, being small was free to roam. The rascal would sneak behind Patta, bite a clump of her fluffy hair and when Patta would start screaming, he would quietly run away behind the plants. He was quite a rascal who went to guard a farm a few weeks after being with me. I do not think Patta ever forgave me for bringing him into HER house.

Munni 1 was actually a wolf in dog's clothing we think. We picked her up from Cartman Animal Shelter. She had been in a street accident and Cartman people had rescued her and put her up for adoption. The accident had damaged her spine but that did not deter her from running at lightning speed. She was capable of squeezing through window bars and getting out of the house when she wanted. She did not bark much but she would BITE. She would bite first and then wag her tail. she had bitten me, the plumber, electrician, painter - just about anyone who came to the house. She would look adoringly at you and just when you bend down to pet her, she would bite and run. When her spine got worse and when she began to need constant hospital treatment, X-rays etc, the doctor advised us to send her to CUPA. I can't forget the surprised look in her eyes when I left her there and walked away. I cried for days after that.

Sabha 2 walked into our house on his own. He would sneak from under the gate to look for milk in Munni's bowl and would linger within the compound. If Munni bothered him too much he would quietly sneak back the way he came in and this would make Munni hysterical as she could not catch him. He would return when he thought Munni had calmed down. So it was more a case of him adopting us than the other way around.
He was the sweetest dog I have had so far. His tail just didn't stop wagging. He was happy with everything in the world. He had no grand plans of guarding the house and he acted like a polite receptionist welcoming everyone into the house. But they had to be older than 10. To him, humans below the age of 10 or less than about 3 feet in height were the worst menace to the world.
He got a bit ill-tempered after he started getting epileptic attacks when he was about 4. We could not believe that our sweet dog could break the jaw bones of a Rajapalayam dog when they got involved in a street fight. He used to love riding in the car and truly believed the car was his. This is the guy you see here. He was with us for about 6 years.

Munni2 : we thought this one would win the world's worst dog pageant considering that she was a one-dog demolition squad in the house. As a pup, she could not be left unsupervised for one minute - running, breaking, digging and stealing food. I wrote a detailed post on this terror here.But surprisingly she has turned out alright. She actually understands commands and even obeys them when she feels like it. Today at the ripe age of three and half she leads a totally retired life eating three square meals a day. She thinks her job description is to follow me around everywhere and to make sure that she gets her share out of anything I eat. She can be found sitting forlornly in my porch whenever I am away. Rest of the time she is never more than 10 feet away from me. She protests vociferously if she asked to stay outdoors. Generally she can be found stretched in the most comfortable spot in the house depending on the season. Considering how possessive she used to be about me and everything in the house, it is a great surprise that she has accepted Zoozoo into the house so gracefully.
She seems to have outsourced all barking and guarding duties to the able junior - Zoozoo, who barks and jumps for two dogs anyway.

Zoozoo; is the latest and possibly the last dog I will own, simply because I am not sure that I am going to survive bringing her up. Within the span of 5 minutes she can be found digging a huge pit in the garden, running after Munni, peeping into the dustbin for anything she may find to drag to her bed. I have already changed her bed 3 times as her favorite pastime is to tear the cover cloth and spread the cotton all over the porch. And whenever she is excited she tears up some cloth, any cloth that she can find. There is hardly a towel or a bed spread that is not torn in the house. Other casualties to her sharp teeth include my Reebok shoes, power cord of the laptop, Akila's (D-I-L) branded handbag and my spectacles. For her speed and destructive capabilities, I should have named her Tsunami.
She might have a great career in politics because she can flatter anyone with by bestowing her adoring looks, licks and furious tail-wagging as long as she can get what she wants.
Some people don't approve of Bonsai culture. Zoozoo doesn't like growing plants in pots. She systematically pulls out plants from pots and leaves them on the ground. Perhaps this is part of some environmental movement that I am yet to understand completely. But she is a dog with civic sense - she will do her potty only in our garden. She jumps up and down until she is taken for her walk in the morning but will always hold and come back to our garden and do it inside the compound! With proper training I think she can be trained to be a goal keeper in one of the ball games - such is her obsession with balls. She runs after them and catches them with the kind of passion I have seen only among players of these games.

Each of these dogs had/has a distinct personality but despite being so different their modus operandi is the same: They all know how to manipulate their way into our hearts.They take one look at me and they know 'here's the loser I want to adopt". Then they go about charming me with an overload of cuteness and slowly move into my house. Once this is accomplished, they go about doing exactly what they want to do. And whenever they hear me say "I am the owner of these dogs" they smirk inwardly and think: 'Ya,right.'
I am sure that's the story of every dog owner's life!
20 Responses
  1. DIL Says:

    My munna!!! whatte cutie pic in the beginning!

    Every passing little (excuse) of a dog reminds me our devils at home...other day i took out a shirt and it had munni and zoo zoo's hair all over it..heheh!

  2. Usha Says:

    DIL a.k.a akila: Still biased towards Munna - poor zz is the one who is sniffing your sandals and whining...

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Wonderful memories. I remember every one of them (except zoozoo, of course, who I'm yet to see) and still can't believe we've had so many dogs! And after reading through the whole list, I too think sabapathy iyer remains my favourite. Fellow wasn so different from the rest of them. A true dog saint :)


  4. Usha Says:

    Siddhu: The more I see ZZ, the more I look back at what a saint Sabha was. Even Munni is docile before this one. But she is also very sharp - doesn't miss the slightest sound and very affectionate. Trouble is she doesn't understand that I am not a dog and she cannot expect to play with me the way she plays with munni.

  5. Rangan Badri Says:

    What a blog post! I read it in one full stretch.Thanks for giving me a few minutes of relaxation.

  6. RGB Says:

    woof, woof! Nice to hear about your dogs. Each unique in its own way :)

  7. bala rao Says:

    Wonderful post maam. Thanks a lot.

  8. dr.antony Says:

    Dogs know how to please their masters.They are the experts in this game.
    For some wealthy people, the only true love they get is from their pets.They're estranged from their children, they are at war with their business partners, but their pets are always there for them.Not surprisingly,wealthy folks are turning their dogs in to hairy heir
    I had a Brindle Boxer,Micheal, whose life was short.He would spend hours in the morning,resting his head on the window frame,for me to get up and take him for the morning walk.He was so much fun. I am not surprised people love them with all their hearts...they deserve it.

  9. Usha Says:

    Malathy, RGB, Bala, Dr.Anthony: Thank you for appreciating the sentiments.
    Woof woof say Munni and Zoozoo.

  10. Saumya Says:

    I am not even that fond of dogs, and I found your post a compelling read :)

    - Saumya

  11. I am SO GLAD you're back in action. Had missed you.
    I remember Sabhapathy Iyer (was wondering who Sabha was and then the penny dropped!)and Munni and Zoozoo. They're such sweetie pies, aren't they?

  12. Sangitha Says:

    OOOH, a doggie post. So cool. You are so right about the pet owners' club feeling and I am so sure dogs think we are the dogs! They definitely own! :-D

    By the way, have you heard of Let's Live Together? ( Achala is a designer and has nice doggie calenders et al.

  13. shail Says:

    Your Pomeranian Patta reminds me of my own dog Goofy. The fearlessness and the persistent barking et al. If she wanted to go out, she would stare at me till I was compelled to look at her instead of the PC screen. Sometimes if I was too preoccupied, she would let out a shrill bark making me jump out of my skin.

    Loved reading about your dogs :)

  14. hillgrandmom Says:

    Your Zoozoo sounds like she has Labrador blood in her. But then again, all pups are destructive when they're teething. Waiting it out, till their like your Munni is now, is the difficult part.
    About the doggie club-so true :-)

  15. Lekhni Says:

    From Munni2's picture, is he really a male? Why, then , is he Munni and a she? Sounds like there could be an interesting story behind this one :)

  16. Arpita Says:

    Aww.. im sure all families with doggies can relate to this.. especially the last bit about who really owns who :)

    As an aside, i completely cannot believe how munni and zoozoo have changed Akilas opinion of dogdom :D I actually had to sneak animals into our hostel room when she wasnt around coz she seemed to be so averse to them back then! Its a wonderful transformation to see her writing fondly about them and their hair now :D Well done doggies!

  17. Usha Says:


    JLT: It seems there is a big conspiracy to keep me from posting - first the viral attack on me and then on the comp. Munni and zoozoo are anything but sweetie pies. They are complete rascals but totally affectionate.

    Sangi: :) yes I've heard of let's livetogether from Harini srinivasan and even bought a calendar this year. what lovely pictures!

    Shail: We could really learn some communication skills from them no? They know exactly how to communicate what they want to and get it done.

    Sue: I am waiting, waiting but this one doesn't seem to let up. Every time I walk into the pet store the guy quietly hands me a leash as he knows that zz must have chewed up the last one!

    Lekhni: Hahahhahaha. I took a look at the pic after your comment and ys I know what you mean. NO she is very much a munnI. No crossdresser this one!

    Arpita: The dogs have done a fine job of training Akila and she even misses them.
    How is your sweet little dog?

  18. Uma Anandane Says:

    nice so many dogs and thier wonderful memories..well written post
    Our Life depends upon the choice we read it and vote to support

  19. Mohanraj Says:

    Do you have an puppy of munni 2 , if so please let me know,I am interested

  20. Usha Says:

    No, Munni had to be sterilised without pups. But if you are interested in good Indian pups you can adopt an adorable healthy pup from letslivetogether. Chec k out