The Dog We Stole is the definitive biography of Her Majesty Begum Pathumma. Read earlier episodes of the series on the TDWS page.
That Sunday in June when Pathu arrived on the scene, we took Echo for granted and assumed that he would adjust because he is a well-mannered gentleman. We were right but we were also wrong. He did tolerate her just as he tolerates my bear hugs. But it took many extra snacks, many hours of alone time and many belly rubs to bring back our sulker from the corner to which he had withdrawn.
To Pathu, Echo was her pet toy, as many elder brothers tend to be. When she got bored, she would turn to trouble him. When he ignored her calls to play, she would pull his ear or fake bite his hind legs or sniff his tail, making him uncomfortable. She always remembered to keep enough distance for plausible deniability, in case we were watching. When he walked away from her, she would follow. If he sought refuge on a chair, she would stand there, smelling his nose, till he abandoned his perch. This would go on till he lost his temper. Following that inevitable yelp that cut her to size, they would disband instantly as if they were never there.
“She touched me. He looked at me. She sat on my tail while I was asleep and now I am awake and I do not like it!”
They maintained peace for our sakes though they were incredibly jealous of each other and hated each other’s presence. “She touched me. He looked at me. She sat on my tail while I was asleep and now I am awake and I do not like it!”
Meanwhile, after much hunting, we managed to grab a house. Though it was practically next door to our old house, we could not move houses with these two wreaking havoc on moving day. We decided to counter their surveillance by packing them off to a boarding facility.
“We’ll board them for a week”, I said.
“Yes, gives us enough time to settle down”, he agreed.
“Hmm, a week might be too much for her”, he said.
“Yes, she’s still a puppy”, I agreed.
“Maybe we could leave them there the day before and get them back the day after”, I said.
“Yes, three days then”, he agreed.
Finally, we boarded them for a single night! Now you know why we are Pathuminions. Negotiation is not one of our core skills.
When the day arrived, we were complete wrecks. In the car, on the way over, we overdid the mollycoddling. We petted and we fussed. We even told Pathu to behave well and do us proud! Owing to Covid season, humans were not allowed entry into this boarding house. They opened the gates and took the dogs in. We were left standing there on the street. And our wards did not even turn back to wave at us!
We stood there, outside the secured gate, like parents on the first day of school. Should we have filled their water bottles with Horlicks, we wondered. We searched for gaps along the compound wall, through which we imagined Pathu was calling out to us. There were none.
The owner of the boarding house had asked if they were friendly dogs who could be left with other dogs in the yard. “Yes, of course. Echo is friendly. He will hang out with everyone, for sure. Pathu, I am not entirely sure off”, I had answered confidently. They tried to keep packs together at night, she said. “Yes, these two could be left alone with each other through the night”, I replied.
We got home and got busy with packing. Couple of hours later, I got a puzzling message from the boarding house. “We are leaving them upstairs in the room because they don’t seem to want to socialise. They are sticking to each other”, the message read. Wait, what? I reread the message. “We are leaving them…”
“You mean to say that my dogs, Echo and Pathu, want to hang out with each other and with no one else?” I handed over my phone to him, and asked him to crosscheck what I had just read.
Ha Ha Ha Ha! We burst out laughing. They had got what they deserved! Each other. Our secret wish had come true.
At home they were always eating our brains or at each other’s throats. Half our energy was spent settling their disputes. “She touched me. He looked at me. She sat on my tail while I was asleep and now I am awake and I do not like it!”
Here they are now, best of friends!
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Another week of Pathu’s adventures has come to an end. If you like this series, please share it with your friends.
Next Episode | E16: A Dying Breed of Rationalists