Late in the evening on the 1st of April 2009, my elder sister walked into our home, holding in her hand a small white plastic bag containing a roll of black wool. She had always been interested in different kinds of craftwork. So my mother and I assumed that she had just brought more wool to complete the sweater that she had started knitting sometime back. But no, there was something strange about the way she held it in her hands; with utmost care as though she was scared it would fall. Now why would anybody even bother about wool falling down? That seemed quite silly. On closer inspection, I noticed that the roll was moving on its own – wait, it wasn’t wool…… IT WAS A PUPPY!! A real, tiny, living puppy!
I could not believe what I saw. Being a total dog lover, I ran to the little ball of fur as though it was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Two tiny green eyes looked up at me from the innocent creature while a soft whine escaped its throat. It turned its head from side to side trying to recognize the new surroundings. That sight was just beautiful, to put it in the simplest way possible. It was enough to win me over, though my mother wasn’t moved even the slightest bit. She had never been very keen on keeping a pet as taking care of two grown up pigs (my sister and I) was already a headache for her. Nevertheless after we continuously begged her and when she saw how our faces lit up at the sight of the puppy she reluctantly agreed to let us keep it. But only on the condition that we would train it and take care of it ourselves without creating any extra work for her. At that moment my sister and I would even have climbed Mount Everest if that meant we could keep the puppy. So we didn’t have to think twice before accepting the condition.
My sister then declared that she would be the one naming the puppy since it was she who had brought it home. Thus he came to be called Whiskey Doodle – Doo Mathias. Yes, you read that right. As embarrassing as it is, my sister is the kind of person who can be expected to come up with a name as tremendously ridiculous as that. But as she had veto power here and also since my mother and I could not think of anything better to call it at that time, the name ‘Whiskey’ stayed. Our family although Catholic, isn’t very much for drinking. Yet for reasons unknown to me to this very day, my sister thought that that name was most appropriate for a pet animal. We tried hard to change it later on but the damage had already been done. The little rascal would respond to no name other than his own. So we, too, started calling him just that. Whenever we have had guests over, most of them have made the comment “If whiskey is here then where is vodka?” I still don’t see what’s so comical about that line that causes the person saying it to laugh uncontrollably at his own “joke”. Then again, it just might be the protective side of me that gets grumpy when anybody makes fun of my Whiskey and his name.
People often wonder why I refer to my dog as ‘he’ rather than ‘it’. The reason is that I don’t consider Whiskey as my pet. Rather, he is a part of my family now and nobody refers to their family members as ‘it’, do they? Ever since the day he was brought home our lives have become different. I have gotten used to waking up to his whining – a sign that it is time for his morning walk. He has become my new alarm clock, one that cannot be turned off and ignored. This alarm goes off not only in the morning but many times throughout the day whenever he wants to relieve himself. Since my sister is too lazy to do anything but pamper him, I have to play the role of the responsible one. I suppose this is the case with all the younger siblings. We do the hard work while the elder ones just laze around. Poor me, I don’t even get to wake up late on holidays. Oh, the things that love makes us do!
In the initial days of Whiskey’s coming into the family we had quite a few peculiar experiences but then they became a thing of the ordinary. I am not racist but the fact that he is completely black in color did not really make things simple for us. I remember waking up one morning to think that I had gone blind because even after opening my eyes all I could see was blackness. When my mind was still processing the new information, a pink tongue suddenly emerged from that blackness and licked my face good morning. I could not decide which to do first – to laugh or to thank my stars that my eyesight was alright. Another time while Whiskey was still small we almost thought that he was lost. We looked for him all over the house and even in the compound. When my sister and I were almost in tears my mother just chanced upon sliding her hand into the darkest spot under the computer table. It was highly unlikely that he would be there since we had searched every nook and corner. Yet that is exactly where the imp was hidden, happily asleep and oblivious to all the anxiety he had put us through. We hadn’t been able to find him there earlier due to him being well camouflaged by the darkness. Luckily my mother realized that before either of us sisters got a minor heart attack.
I have often wondered whether it is just my imagination or if Whiskey really is a little human – like in nature. Scientifically speaking, dogs don’t like being hugged because having another animal’s ‘paws’ on their shoulder is a sign of the latter’s dominance. But strange as he is, he very much loves it. In fact, he even prefers being carried on the shoulder like a child and soon drifts off to sleep when held like that. Warmth is absolutely essential for him to fall asleep. He likes to sleep on people’s laps or at least touching them so as to know that they are around because he is terrified of being alone, especially in the dark. One of the reasons my mother agreed to keep him was because she thought that he would guard the house and its members. But now it is quite the contrary. Another queer thing is his self – obsession. He never passes by a mirror without stopping to stare at his reflection for at least 5 minutes. He also likes being photographed. Who knows? I’m pretty sure he’d have taken selfies if he could. There is a page on Facebook which was created by one of his ‘fans’ (oh believe me, he has many) and which is exclusively dedicated to him.
There is a general notion among the people here that what is fair is beautiful and consequently, what is black is ugly. I found out sadly enough, that even the animals here aren’t spared from this bias. As I mentioned earlier, I am not racist. But that doesn’t mean some of my friends aren’t as well. Poor Whiskey has always been the butt of all their ‘black’ jokes. For example – “Whiskey went to night school and was marked absent” or “The lights went out and Whiskey was lost”. The most absurd of all was when an old lady asked me suspiciously why I keep a black cat at home knowing that it is bad luck. Apparently his small size made Whiskey look like a cat. I had half a mind to tell her that I am a witch and he is my partner in all the evil works I do. But then I supposed that as old and orthodox as she was, she might just not see the sarcasm in my tone. To me, all of the above said things about Whiskey don’t matter. I love him regardless of his color or physical appearance. In fact, I would like to call him my black beauty .
It is a well known fact that pets reduce stress and are responsible for creating a joyful ambience at home. I can very much vouch for that. No matter how bored or worried or upset I am, Whiskey never fails to bring a smile on my face. Every time I return home from outside he waits at the door to greet me with his wagging tail. That joy I see in his eyes to have me back is just priceless. I often wonder what I would do without him. He has become an extremely important part of my life. It doesn’t even matter that my mother loves him more than she loves me because I know that he is absolutely lovable. To conclude I would like to suggest to everyone to have a pet, whether it is a dog or a cat or even a bird. It might take some dedication but that is well worth it. No matter how much trouble I have to take for him I don’t mind because my dog is my life and I wouldn’t exchange him for all the treasures in the world.