Transformation real time: Meena becomes “dog–friendly”!

Author Raja Krishnamoorthy / Kitty - Oct 10, 2013

Meena, my wife was always wary of dogs. The reason is historic. When she was four years old she was bitten by a street dog. In those good old days it meant a round of 14 injections and that was not the only trauma she went thru: She was left with a deep scar, almost 3 inches wide in her abdomen that could not be erased ever. She has lived with the physical and mental agony for long now.

This explains her very guarded, almost negative attitude towards dogs (home or street bred not making any difference to her). I came from a house-hold where we always had dogs. But post marriage, the idea of a dog at home was unthinkable, with any topic remotely connected to “getting a dog for home” getting quickly dismissed. “Vendaam” (“NO way” in Tamil, our mother tongue) was the stern response from her, for any discussion about having pet animals at home.

But pets became part of our home at Armaan, our independent house at Kottivakkam. We had cats! But they just “happened” and did not come home thru the “domestic approval process”. WE had the first litter of kittens when we were getting the house ready in 2008 April. The first litter amidst the construction activity was a set of 4 kittens (3 females plus a male, if I remember). They adopted our home than we adopting them.

They were friendly, always kept a safe distance from her, played only with me and Manasi, our daughter. Meena grudgingly let them stay in the huge “veranda area”. They continued for the next 4 years. The newly delivered kitten would grow, find mates, and every six months a new litter and a new set of kitten became the cycle of evolution. Till last April. In 2012 April we had an “all male kitten” delivery. The evolution stopped.

It was Manasi’s dream to get a dog. She has been asking for one for a long time but every time the stern “NO, VendaaM” will be the answer. “When you get married, and have your own home you can have it” will be the conciliatory statement. “But I will not come and play with your dog” will be the other pre-condition. “And you cannot have dogs when you have babies, not till they are 5 years old” will be the special advise. Dogs were a dream UN-fulfilled in our life. Till recently.

Our son Arvind, who lives in San Francisco, got a dog. Almost 2 years back, he picked up Parker from a shelter. We were surprised. Arvind and “animal warmth” were not easily comprehensible for us. But he proved us wrong. Parker was Arvind’s biggest evidence of care, affection, love, attention, indulgence and deep concern. The Arvind-Parker saga became a folklore among friends and relatives who had an opportunity to meet them. Sri Devi, our daughter in law also adapted to the highly respected, indulged pet and befriended the canine quickly. All thru this time, Meena kept saying, “I can’t understand how you can be pampering a pet dog so much”.

Thru photos or video connections we got a glimpse of this “drama” from time to time. We had some very interesting stories from Meena’s mom, who, while cooking, spiced the food less but added the same (much more!)to her dramatic narrations and anecdotes. Parker was an enigma for Meena. Till we arrived at San Francisco recently.

Parker soon became “paavam Parker” (poor parker!). Here was a dog, who was more of a “baby to be looked after” than anything close to a threatening wild animal. Meena watched Parker being petted by Sridevi and Arvind, foster parented by Shakthi (Sri’s sister in law, on a visit here till last Sunday, also a great admirer and friend of Parker); heard Suchi (from mountain view-the god mother to Parker, whenever Arvind & Sri were out of town in SFO) narrate, with deep love, what a “good baby” Parker “kutti” was. Meena also evolved, from gross dislike to any dog-form, to slow acceptance of a “Not so bad” Parker.

Then Shakthi left SFO and guess whom does Parker turn to now for attention, once Arvind and Sridevi leave for their work? Surprise, surprise! It is MEENA! In all of 3 days the magic has happened. Parker has found the best long lost friend in Meena. She is talking sweet-nothings to him, giving him “Bonus/gift food” from time to time, calling him with tonalities of a melting voice, (she has a good musical voice) and even playing with him without a worry. This was surprising but the shock was just about to happen.

Today morning, post breakfast and after the cleaning crew had left, I wandered in to the living room and found a very interesting sight. Let me not describe it, since you can see it visually very well! Here is a nonchalant Meena , happily smocking a frock for our granddaughter Laasya and even as she is microscopically sewing in the threads, a cozy, lazy, choosy Parker is sleeping on her lap!

I almost fainted in disbelief.

See the pictures and you will understand. What comfort, what warmth, what obedience and what style! Call it a “Nirvana” condition of the highest order. Meena carried a look as if she has only been handling & breeding dogs thru out her life. A complete cycle… from aversion, to acknowledgement, acceptance, appreciation, and finally attachment!

I am not jealous at all but just have to admit: Life is indeed unpredictable!



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