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A Day in the Life of Duggu - Life in the New Normal

 

Duggu
Hello and woof! You may be surprised to see that today, gaelikaa's diary has been taken over by a canine. That's right. I'm Maria's dog, Duggu. If some of you out there have ever called to our house, you will certainly know me. I take my guard dog duties very seriously indeed and bark the place down if anyone I don't know shows up at the gate. The doorbell on our gate doesn't work very well and it's a matter of pride to me that it's not needed. If an unknown person arrives on the gate, I bark so loudly that everyone comes out to see who is there. I can get a bit over-excited at times, though. I upset a few visitors to our house down the years by being a bit too enthusiastic in carrying out my guard dog duties. I suppose that's why the only place in the house where I'm allowed to roam freely is the terrace yard on the top of the house. Which must be locked at all times when I'm there. However, people who have visited here and taken time to get to know me will tell you that I'm actually quite friendly and always welcome people whom I consider to be my friends. I can't really help that I'm so defensive about my home. I'm an Indian street dog. Guarding and defending my territory is bred into me. My breed has had a hard struggle for survival, living for generations on the Indian streets. So that's what we do. We hold our territory and guard it with our very lives.

I was found outside the Loreto Convent in Lucknow as a small puppy, less than a month old. A girl

I was the size of a football
called Saumya took me home and asked her father if she could keep me. Her father was unable to agree for some reason. I believe he had ordered a labrador pup who was due to arrive a month later. At school, Saumya asked the other girls if they had space in their homes for me. Maria's daughter Manvi was in Saumya's class. She asked Maria if I could come to live with them and Maria agreed. So, Saumya brought me over there on Sunday with the driver in the family car. I was very scared being left alone with new people. But they gave me nice food to eat and lots of affection. Soon, I was attached to all of them. 

There were four children. Two boys, Manu and Manan. Two girls, Manvi and Riya. They all spent time with me. I was their first dog, so they had no idea how to handle me. They played with me when I was small. As I got bigger, they were a bit at a loss as to how to relate to me. But it's okay now. There was one major problem back then. Manvi's father, Mukesh, was a very busy man, commuting to the next city for work. Maria needed to ensure that it was okay with him for me to stay. She put it off at first, waiting till he was more relaxed and more inclined to have a positive outlook on having a dog in the house. The moment I finally met him, after several weeks, I lay at his feet adoringly and he said I could stay. I have now been here for six years. Indian dogs can live up to 15 years, so I'm still a relatively young dog.

With Manvi

I'm quite a large dog and not really a pet, owing to my rough, street background. But I love my family and make the best guard dog, because of my protective and defensive instincts. Nothing gets past me. The meter reader and the postman are a bit scared of me. You should see how terrified they are if they have to come in. I suppose that's why Maria keeps me tied up all the time. Who needs Rottweilers or Dobermans when you can have an Indian dog? We cost nothing. We are not fussy eaters. We are hardly ever ill and I can proudly tell you that apart from vaccinations and a small road accident, I haven't cost my family much in vet bills. There was a slight problem when the cleaning lady came too close to me and I reacted. Maria had to pay the doctor a lot of money to give anti-rabies injections to the cleaning lady 'just in case'. Maria apologised to the cleaning lady, gave her the week off and cooked meals for her family and sent them from our kitchen every night.  Last year, during Diwali, when I was very disturbed owing to fireworks going off, I upset some neighbours who came too close to me. Those neighbours were regular visitors, but not one member of their family has stepped inside our door since then. Maria says that for this year, during Diwali, they will tie me up somewhere inside the house. She doesn't want me to get too upset in case there are any loud fireworks this year. Because times have changed, we're not sure how Diwali will be this season.


Duggu and the New Normal

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay   
By the time the new normal started, the number of our family members who live here had already decreased in size. Manu and Manvi have gone to Ireland. Manvi's father had retired and finished his long commute to the next city. So those of us who are left are together 24 hours a day. It wasn't too difficult at first. It was a bit like a holiday. Plenty of rest. Less pressure. Maria has always worked at home anyway. Once her children grew up, she started writing and blogging from home. She still does that. I am very happy that there are less visitors coming in. I can be less defensive about my territory. But if anyone I don't know comes in, I still bark the place down. The difficult part was when the lockdown came to an end. Some people didn't seem to realise that it is still important to wear masks and maintain social distance. Some old visitors of ours have often appeared in our living room (having got past me, but then, I'm tied up when people come in) without masks, to Maria's horror. But as the weather gets cooler, it's easier to invite people to sit outside and talk to our family members. The minute Maria hears me barking, she comes out to see who it is. If it's a courier with a parcel, she makes special efforts to maintain contactless delivery and use masks and sanitiser. It's just as important now as it was at the beginning. Even if Maria forgets, her son Manan is very particular about reminding to maintain that. 


A Day in Duggu's Life

Maria and Mukesh are like owls. They prefer to rest in the day and remain active at night, so they are not early risers. As soon as one of them shows up in the morning, 

 Image by krustovin august from Pixabay 
I get my morning walk. If Mukesh appears first, he brings me out on the road for a few minutes. Since I grew up to full height, Maria is not comfortable with bringing me outside. She never lets me off the lead and came crashing down a few times when I took off unexpectedly after some other dog. She usually brings me up on the terrace. She allows me to roam without a lead on and seems to get a lot of pleasure from seeing me chasing after balls and frisbees. She thinks it's a good exercise for me.

The cleaning lady doesn't come into the house nowadays. Everyone allows their cleaners in, but Maria's children are adamant that until the Covid-19 risk reduces substantially or a vaccine is available, cleaners should not be allowed into our house. The cleaning lady is a

Image by Deen Alexey from Pixabay 
responsible woman who wears a mask and uses sanitiser. So she usually sweeps outside and does the dishes outside the house. Maria and Mukesh clean up inside. Once the cleaning is done, I sit inside on the marble floor and lie at Mukesh's feet as he sits in the chair reading his paper. In the afternoon, he brings me out again. Then I take up my position outside watching the gate until evening. 

As for food, I eat a lot of porridge. Maria loves to tell everyone that I grew tall and strong on wheat porridge. I am definitely head and shoulders taller than my street-based counterparts. At night, I eat chapatis, a type of flatbread made from wheatflour along with milk. Many people believe dogs should be fed some meat and probably they are right. To ensure I'm getting proper nutrition, Mukesh buys some pellets of dog food for me in non-vegetarian flavours. When we go for our late night walk, Maria often brings some biscuits for the street dogs. They get all our left-over food too. Many people forget to feed street dogs nowadays. That is sad. Street dogs serve as a type of neighbourhood patrol here and people who feed and look

Image by Priyam Patel from Pixabay
after them have often found the most amazing paybacks. Many a family who helps street dogs have been saved from burglaries. When the local street dogs notice strangers going in at night, they create a racket and scare away the intruders. There are some wonderful people in our housing estate who not only feed their street dogs but get them vaccinated and sterilised too. This is great work.



Since the new normal took over, there's one thing I'm very glad about. Our cleaning lady doesn't bring her children anymore. She used to bring them very often and they would wait while their mother finishes her work. However, they don't come anymore because of the danger of spreading infection. I don't miss them at all. They hate me because I upset their mother. They see me tied up and they laugh at me and tease me and make funny faces, driving me mad and making me angry. Maria always stops them, but they continue when she goes away. It's much more peaceful here without them.

So the new normal suits me very well. A quiet life, fewer visitors and my family at home all the time. It's great. What more could a dog want?


The images of Duggu are my own.

Thanks to Pixabay for the illustrations.


Please Visit the Other Blog Friday Group Members

The other seven bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are  RamanaSanjanaPadmum,  RajuShackmanSrivatsa and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Shackman.












Comments

  1. There you go again surprising the day lights out of me again. what a brilliant way to tackle this topic! I wish that I had thought of this and written about Chutki and Koko. Well done Maria.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ramana. I look forward to reading up on Chutki and KoKo in future blogs of yours
      .

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  2. If only it was a dog life for all of us, aye? Enjoyable read. Can I just say Maria, that you have the eyes of a dog. I actually respect dogs very much, so I'm trying to be funny there, possibly failing miserably.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Srinivas, I got your point. I also respect dogs a lot and I'm honoured.

      Delete
  3. What a delightful post! I love the take. And has the dog taken up just a wee bit of Irish, too?

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    Replies
    1. You know Conrad, Duggu is an Indian dog. But he looks a bit Irish. We had a Jack Russell terrier at home when I was very young. Duggu resembles that dog a lot.

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