I have neither hated dogs nor loved them. When it comes to dogs I just felt one emotion- fear. I don’t exactly know why was I so scared of them.( I did once fall down of my Activa because a group of five dogs chased me) Though i think it was mostly because I was absolutely not used to having them around. We have never had pets at home. Most of my relatives or even friends have never pet a dog. So I think more than anything it was the fear of the unknown. Though today the emotion of fear has been over taken by an intense amount of love and respect for the dog specie.
My friend Sam is a Puneri who lives in Mumbai for the last ten years. He lives in a two room flat in Mumbai with his mother and his dog Flipper. When I first went for a stay over at his place I had no idea I would be welcomed by a great big dog jumping all over me. When I first entered their small house I remember feeling absolutely at home, I kept my bag down and suddenly out of nowhere Flipper came charging at me. He came in with so much force that I went straight to the ground. Sam and his then friend now fiancé Carol laughed their ass off. I on the other hand was sure that Flipper would kill me. He didn’t, we looked at each other and I guess he sensed my fear so he started licking me. I wasn’t exactly used to being licked by a dog I immediately went in for a shower.
The morning after I sat down with Sam’s mother for tea. She sensed though I was sitting next her I was worried about Flipper coming and jumping over me. She told me to relax and told me a story, her story. ” You know, Sam’s brother John was a special child. He was mentally challenged, a little different. He was five years elder to Sam. I had to do everything for him. He couldn’t talk, just like Flipper. He had a lung problem and I am sure that he suffered pain but he still never stopped smiling. I would cry sometimes thinking that may be I was just not doing enough things to help him. John would realise that and come and keep his hand on my head, as if consoling me and telling me it’s ok. I loved John more than anything I loved but then he left us when he was fourteen. A year passed and I was completely devastated that’s when we got Flipper. Flipper could be a dog to everyone but for our family he is a son and a brother. He takes care of us more than we care for him. There are days when I have be alone in the house but when Flipper is around I just feel so safe. He exactly knows when one of us is feeling low. He makes sure to sit around that person, just as if to say you are not alone. I am going to be right here. ” Just then Flipper came in and sat next to aunty. I looked at him and then her and smiled. ” I see a lot of John in him. I know you might think I’m crazy but I do. Just give him a chance to love you, I assure you he will never disappoint you. He is quite literally a man’s best friend.”
The next time I went to Sam’s I decided I will not get scared and give Flipper a chance. I rang the bell and entered the house but this time Flipper didn’t charge at me, he just came close sniffed a little, then licked and got on with his work. I was relieved, he recognised me. I started paying more attention to Flipper. I realised certain things about him. Flipper never barks when anyone in the house is asleep. He is an absolute hit with handling babies. He likes Parle – G. He has to be taken out for his morning ritual at exactly 7am. If you dont he starts howling and wagging his tail at a maddening speed. He doesn’t sleep till everyone in the house is back. He will wait and keep looking from the balcony. He cannot go for very long walks or jump up for a very long time. He had injured his legs in a freak accident some years back. When he comes back from a walk he comes home and first goes into the bathroom to wash his feet. He doesn’t like his house dirty. You have be around Flipper when he is eating, he doesn’t like to eat alone. Also he likes his biscuits fed to him by a hand and not just thrown at him. He wont eat it.
When flipper came and sat next to me, I with my heart pounding kept a hand on his body and caressed him. I felt his fur and his heartbeat. He didn’t flinch he stood there and I guess also liked it. I fed him his Parle- G biscuits and he relished them. While feeding him I had all his saliva on my fingers but I didn’t mind. I realised it was fun. Once I hit my toe really hard on the edge of a sofa. It hurt so bad that my eyes instantly started watering. Flipper saw that and he came running to me and started licking my toe. The sight was so adorable that I instantly forgot the pain. If I had any inhibitions left I lost all of them. I immediately hugged Flipper so tight that I must have choked him. But he let me hug him, I guess we both knew it was our forever wala moment. That day we sealed an unbreakable bond.
I am completely ‘Flippered’ , thanks to Flipper!