I thought it was time for something a little more light-hearted. I love dogs and dogs have been a big part of my life, so I thought I would tell some doggy tales (tails?). These are all true stories. There may be a few embellishments.
Part 1 My Closest Sibling was a Dog!
The title is not a rude comment about my older and only brother. it’s about my mother’s love of dogs. Shortly after I was born my mother persuaded my father that we needed a dog. She had had a dog before, Pete, but more of him in another post. Mum liked the look of Pugs and Pekingese, perhaps it was the contrast with the distinctive noses of my father’s side of the family. I inherited one of these facial protuberances.
The decision was to purchase a Pekingese dog. The little puppy was so tiny (or so I was told – I was pretty tiny myself at the time), that my father named him Chota. Dad had spent several years during the war serving in India. Chota, I believe means tiny or small. Chota was still teething when he joined our family. Apparently it was a warm, sunny summer. Those were the days when English mother’s still pushed their babies in prams (perambulators) and left them outside different shops (butchers, bakers, greengrocers etc) while they shopped. It was completely safe, well, except for the danger of strange women poking their faces into the pram and going coochy coo. I am convinced this must have happened to me and that’s why I need a great deal of personal space! Don’t crowd me.
Mum didn’t like to leave the little puppy all alone while she did her shopping. It could take all morning. Not because the shops were that far, or because she spent a great deal of time in the shops. No, it was because of all the conversations she had on the way there and the way back. I can attest to this, as when I was older I can remember having to wait hours for her to have a conversation with someone she knew and ‘bumped into’. I think I aged a year during the course of one conversation.
Anyway, not wanting to leave the puppy out of these adventures, she would pop Chota in the pram with the baby (me). We got to be very close – he was more hairy and I had the more prominent nose, but apart from that it was like having a rather hairy and snuffly brother.
One day while Chota and I were passing the time, in the pram, outside a shop, a woman started to scream – “That dog’s eating the baby”. It wasn’t Merrill Streep. My mother came running out of the shop to discover that all that was happening was Chota was gnawing on my fingers. I told you he was teething. He really had no teeth at all and was just gumming my fingers.
Chota and I grew up together – he grew old, while I just grew. We had good times together and he taught me how to be with dogs.
Next time I’ll talk about my mother’s fear of dogs and her cure.