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Bertie and Me!

Dogs’ lives are too short; their only fault really. – Agnes Sligh Turnbull I am happy as a dog today! If only I had a tail to wag, I’d wag it sideways and round & round till I broke a few glasses by knocking them off of the table with it; I’d run around the house upsetting the furniture, chewing on cushions and plaster, I’d bring in a dozen dried guavas and rotten leaves from the lawn into the house to masticate at leisure, I’d climb onto beds and sofas when nobody’s watching, I’d sleep off right in the doorway so that everyone passing has to skip over me, I’d lick every face, every sock in every room, perhaps even let out a few barks for fun, and certainly pirouette around trying to grab my wagging tail with my mouth. For, my Dog is One today and he does all of the above and still manages to spread happiness and cheer in this utter anarchy called life. Meet Bertie, named after one of my favourite characters from my favourite books written by my favourite author. Bertram (Bertie) Wooster, Jeeves Omnibus, P. G. Wodehouse, respectively. Everything I know, I learned from dogs. – Nora Roberts In the 335 days that I have spent with him, B has sold me a few hard truths and many, many mantras for a healthy, happy life that have proved good as gold. Let me share a few: First the hard truths: The term ‘Intelligent Life’ is a relative one My dog religiously follows the rule of one amazing feat a day. There was a time when he used to physically (literally) dive into his food bowl. There was a time when he could climb up the stairs, not down. The first time he went hunting, he brought me a freshly killed moth and put it at my feet, to do with it as I should please. He runs, growls, and even makes eating noises in his sleep. I suspect he has a ‘doggie’ sense of smelling my return from a travel, for that particular day he’ll wait by the door. He hunts and chases ants around the house like a fiend but he magnanimously lets the hungry sparrows and squirrels pick away at food in the lawn. He knows when I’m busy, when I am busy but would like him to bug me, when I need a hug or a kiss, he paws at me when trying to console, he expresses guilt when I am upset because of something he did. All this and more, I hope the list never ends… Even if it does, I am amazed at how much I have changed since I got him. And I thought I was perfect! 😉 R. E. S. P. E. C. T Aretha Franklin’s number, dogs have heard it! Training my dog was (still is) a hell of a ride. Doggiedom is a place where human rules of (contrived) politeness, diplomacy, doublespeak, giving advice while not taking it yourself, unjust chastisement, do not apply. What you are and what you do is what you are taken for. Dogs respond to their environment and they reflect it perfectly. Hierarchy is a value – if you are not above them, you are below them - and it is best expressed in the language of love. Their respect for rules, once set, is truly amazing. Dogged determination is a term well founded I realized this when I started playing football with B. He’s that good. Although it doesn’t match the effort he puts into convincing his blanket to have his babies… he’s certainly in no mood to give up. Move on! Forgiveness at the blink of an eye, and no holding back when expressing oneself! Life is short when there is one more ball to be chased, one more toy to chew out, one more sundry walk to take, one more rule to break. Grooming is for gentlemen and dogs There is no such thing as enough cleaning; make those family jewels shine. Day each day. First thing in the morning, last thing in the night. Anytime, all the time is a good time. Life and love come easy if you are a dog Dogs don’t have to take cues from some society, culture, religion, history, family to decide whether they like raccoons or not, humans or not… they’re wired to chase a number of species, eat a number of species, fear a number of species, and to lick everything appearing in physical form. You lick if it smells nice, you lick if it doesn’t. Those paws travel light. There is a real danger of this attitude rubbing off on us humans, so beware of dog! To bite is more defense than attack Snapping at someone for no reason, being irate, irascible when it is uncalled for, hurting someone or thinking of doing so just for fun or for revenge, acting violently out of fear of a haunting past or an intimidating future are more human qualities than we care to appreciate. A dog bites when he feels threatened, and that too never without a warning. When they do, that’s when they are clinically mad. When is a mad dog ever madder than a human being? Now for the mantras: Simple Pleasures of Life Well-fed, well-rested, well-petted, well-groomed is a happy man. Dog too. Lighten up If you have had the right kind of poop at the right time, and if you can puke out (physically as well as psychologically, especially physically) any gunk you may have consumed, you are ready to take on the world. If something smells funny, it probably is (NOT) Don’t let anything stop you from sniffing something that intrigues you right till your nose is into it. By the time you get time to decide whether it was for good or for bad, you’ll be sniffing some other tracks. That’s life. Learn to appreciate appreciation My dog is an authority on “appreciation for dummies”. He smothers me with affection and attention just because I survived yet another night to wake up in the morning… I don’t know how many of us would do that for our own selves!

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