The Dog We Stole is the definitive biography of Her Majesty Begum Pathumma. Read earlier episodes of the series on the TDWS page.
Pathumma warranted a biography because she is no regular dog. She is a royal canine! Not a misspelt plug for the dog food brand, I promise. It’s just a bad joke, a brain fart if you will. It had to be released. This is precisely why all writing must be edited before seeing the light of day. Go editors!
Anyway, we first noticed Pathu’s royal tendencies when she refused to sit on the floor. Every evening after dinner, we would head to our study that moonlights as the TV room. This makeshift arrangement afforded only two chairs. Since Echo was happy being belly up on the floor, we had never really thought of seating for our furry friends.
Pathu refused to sit. She would just pace around the room. At first we thought she was uncomfortable being in that small room. We would leave the door open for her to leave but she wouldn’t. However, when one of us got up to get ourselves a late night snack, she was quick to capture our seat.
That’s when we began noticing this royal tic. If our rears never left our seats, she would act cute till we let her get onto our laps. Of course there was the entitlement. If we sat together on the couch in the living room, she wouldn’t relent till she got to snuggle between us. Basically she had to be in the epicentre. Echo on the other hand has always been a sulker. If he doesn’t get what he wants, he goes away. He sits by himself in the corner, sighs, sulks and refuses to make eye contact till we go over to pacify him. Pathu will stand her ground and demand that she be given what she wants.
On principle, she does not beg for our food. She demands it. She does not raid the dustbin sneakily. She attacks it as if it were her birthright.
We are not the most disciplined people you will meet but Pathu most certainly is. She has her routine and nothing can change it. Ever. She wakes up at 7 am and proceeds to wake up the entire household. No one must sleep once she is awake. At 7:30 am if her breakfast is not served she will raise hell. Two hours later, it is time for her morning nap. For this divine event to commence, the rest of us have to get ready for the day and settle down so that the Begum can sleep. Because she won’t go to sleep if any of us is going about our business elsewhere in the house. We need to be at our stations. Of course, if you diverge from this path, she will first grumble and then yell till you fall back in line.
We have finally taught her to sit but when she does, her bum never truly touches the floor! Her blue blood manifests in other places too. She looks down on everything. When I exercise she stares at me, judgingly, “These squats aren’t going to help you”, she seems to say. If I am on the couch, she will snuggle up next to me. But if I as much as breathe out of sync, her death stare will pierce my soul. On principle, she does not beg for our food. She demands it. She does not raid the dustbin sneakily. She attacks it as if it were her birthright.
Similarly in the evening, her dinner time is sacrosanct. Post dinner I need to be available on the couch for her to cuddle. Around 10 pm, she begins to get cranky. She needs to retire for the night but she needs to make sure that our day ends too. This is our final frontier against her absolute dominance over our lives. And we are determined to hold on to this last civil liberty. We will win or die trying.
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