The Dog We Stole is the definitive biography of Her Majesty Begum Pathumma. Read earlier episodes of the series on the TDWS page.
Just when life began playing in technicolour, Pathu began her first period. On day one, we were as perplexed by this as she was. She was tense around Echo. She was also a weird mix of jumpy, cranky and inexplicably mellow. Much intense googling later, in true city-zen style, we ordered diapers online. This was akin to sending word to the police via snail mail during a robbery. Well, cleaning up after a free bleeder is no fun. In no time, we accepted defeat by pulling on some pants and dashing off in search of dog diapers.
Panicked, we also called the vet. Three dogs in, he is used to our panicked telephony by now. However, he was helpless. She could not be neutered until the end of heat. And you will never guess how long dogs stay in heat: upto 21 days. This was going to be a long haul.
The Begum loved attention but only when she wanted to cuddle or find a warm spot on our lap or during meal times. Otherwise she hated us fussing over her, trying to clean her ears or giving her a bath. And Pathu being on heat sent us off the cliff. We were helicopter parents, annoyances on steroids.
It drove Pathu to her wit’s end. Her endocrine system was on fire, shooting her up with a heady cocktail of period hormones. She didn’t understand exactly what was happening to her. Why was she twerking in Echo’s face? Yes, she loved making him uncomfortable but she’d never before felt the urge to grab his attention like this. Hmmm, she was at a loss.
Poor Pathu! She had no way of knowing that she was barking up the wrong tree with Echo. He was neutered just like she was going to be.
In the first few days of heat, Pathu was confused by her body. “I don’t want to wear this nasty contraption”, she said, pulling out her diapers. Within an hour of wearing a new diaper, she would pee in it. Or rip a hole in its bottom or take it off. Taking yet another step towards turning into my mother, I took to routinely reminding Pathu that diapers don’t grow on trees.
Pathu took to standing in the balcony with her nose to the railing, participating in their argument.
By the time we were 15 days in, Pathu knew that we would break if she pushed us any further. So she turned to our neighbour.
Our apartment occupies a corner of the building. While we have an aerial view of the ninepins in the bungalow opposite, we have a window display of the apartment next door. A slice of their lives, a variety show if you will.
In one of the windows that face us, lives a woman who routinely fights with a male member of her household. There is usually a lot of shouting involved, especially during the beautiful dusk hours as the day turns. Pathu took to standing in the balcony with her nose to the railing, participating in their argument. She would add her voice in solidarity just as the woman began making her point. As the argument heated up their blood, Pathu barked louder to match the woman. When the woman stopped, so did Pathu. I began involuntarily holding my breath as though that would stop the lady from ringing our doorbell and showering me with some of that choice loudness.
Soon, we imposed a 5 pm curfew on Pathu being in the balconies.
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