Thursday, January 11, 2018

Elementary, dear Watson. Chronicles of Sherlock the flat coated retriever.

Upon deep contemplation during the holidays, I arrived at the revelation that my life was all but complete; sans a whiny, attention seeking, ill disciplined, pup. 

And with Lukas' help and support, my life is now complete. Sherlock, the two month old flat coated retriever, has consumed our life. We had planned to get him about a week later, but life happens, and we got him a week before planned, with the house not puppy proofed. After three days, I think we've elevated everything chewable, venomous and expensive beyond his current reach. 

There are some things quite endearing about him, I'll have to admit. Sherlock chose the apple adapter wire to chew on. He left the lenovo, samsung and one plus one alone. I love him so much more now. Shows he has great taste ;). Right now he is figuring out if one of my slippers is his best friend or mortal enemy, and while he does that, I am able to write this.

Himani and Sherlock have developed the proclivity to sleep perpendicular to each other on our bed--yeah, we're those people, whose dogs sleep on their beds--which allows me about an inch and change of sleeping space.

Admist all the de-worming, potty training, toy gun squirting, concerns about the colour of his vomit, sleep deprivation and near exasperation at his antics, there comes a moment when he playfully and curiously tilts his head, like most dogs do, you see your wife smiling a content, ecstatic smile, and you feel warm inside. Either that, or the red wine has started working. 

Another revelation was not to take contemplative holidays ever again.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

My Resume/ Matrimonial Ad- Coco

Woof people,

Please forward this advert to all dating sites (don’t forget posting and re-posting on FB) for finding a suitable doggie for me.

Woof's up, lady doggies?! I'm Coco Dwivedi.

I’m Coco, an unusally slight Labrador Retriever whose lean physique and short legs can be blamed on the lineage.

Unlike other Labs, I don’t see too well in the dark, am suspiciously short sighted and my heightened sense of smell is limited to sniffing female doggie urine. However, the lanky guy- I think his name is Doctor- who keeps sticking things up my posterior and takes notes says I’m extremely healthy.

I am a true exponent of non-violence, and have been handled my ass by a cat 1/4th my size, a stray ½ my size, and an invisible devil that appears with loud bangs, mostly in October. I am stronger than all of those mentioned above (except for the mysterious invisible and loud devil) but I choose not to create a violent atmosphere. After all, an eye for an eye makes all puppies blind!

You can almost see the halo behind my head, no?

The fact that I merely want to play is lost on my so called foes, but I always give them the other cheek. Someday, I will win them over. You could call me the eternal optimist.

Why, my stories of compassion are legendary in my extremely large house. There have been instances of a pigeon laying eggs and little pigeons hatching right under my nose, and I have protected them. 

My Crib!

The mommy pigeon has at times mistaken my extremely aesthetic nose as a perch, but I’ve never colluded to harm her. I’ve seen the pigeons grow up as my own, especially since my family members share a common misconception that my sex drive is as low as theirs, and due to that, I still don’t have a family of my own.

Lonely, I am so lonely, I have nobody, of my own!

I absolutely love air-conditioning, and have half a mind to write to the Doggie Prime Minister of K T Village, Vasai road to install Air conditioners for all my lesser fortunate doggie pals living off the street.

I seldom bark, with the grand toto of my barking not exceeding 50, and I’m two now!

I love chocolates on my birthday, on Independence Day of K T Village Vasai west, and everyone’s birthdays and special occasions. To say I’m partial towards chicken would be the understatement of the century.

My Birthday no. TWO Cake! Slurp, slurp.

I don’t take too kindly towards travelling by Car, as I get claustrophobic and nauseous. Rickshaws, I LOVE as I can jut my face out and absorb scenery and let my tongue hang out.

I also love trains! Such shiny rail tracks! I like, I like!

I’m not really materialistic, and have only a leash, a bowl and a bone I call my own. I also have a pillow that doubles up as Playboy for me, but somehow Himani didi keeps snatching it away from me while laughing all the time. Talk about mixed signals from females! That shit transcends species.  

My current Soul-mate- Ze Pillow!

I don’t like Kartik bhaiyya a lot, as he is a disciplinarian and keeps pulling my leg. That does not mean I don’t love him though. He makes me chicken once a month, and he’s the only one who regularly bathes in the house, so I love licking him the most after I've quenched my thirst off the commode. 
Also, I feel safest with him and run to his side whenever that invisible devil (may all the curses befall him) appears!

The Chief Tormenting Officer of my life.

I like to take Himani Didi for a walk (god knows she needs it!) at least 5-6 times a day, a record, I’ve heard in all of KT Village Vasai west!She’s my best friend, and I get really lonely without her. I love her the most! And I’m sure she loves me more than she loves Kartik Bhaiyya!

Dolled up Himani Didi. No wonder Kartik bhaiyya keeps gifting her stuff!

I know Baba does not like a lot of my Emran Hashmi style smooching so I give him his space. He is always welcoming me to his air conditioned room and does not disturb me during my afternoon siesta. He loves me in his own way, which is amply clear by the dollops of chicken he gives me daily!

 Yes, he is a bit lazy and does not accompany me for as many walks as I would have liked, but he’d kinda old and laid back, so I compromise. Compromise is my middle name.

This ij BABA!

I’ve got two more siblings, Jyoti didi and Anant bhaiyya. I love chewing on Anant bhaiyya’s shoes as they always smell weird, and I hate that. I rarely pee in my house, as I like to take my business outdoors, but if I fancy a pee in the house, Anant bhaiyya’s bed is THE spot. He’s a pansy, and in spite of trying to sound like a tough guy and shouting on me once in a while, I don’t take him seriously and off the 50 barks, 45 have been on him. But I NEVER, NEVER bite. Not my style.

Jyoti didi is my friend. She’s constantly giving me a manicure or ridding me of bloodsuckers. When that Kartik bhaiyya took me away to a dungeon (thank god it was at least air-conditioned), she stood by me.

Jyoti Didi!!!

I initially misunderstood that Kartik bhaiyya wanted to send me away, but later realized that I was sick and need care. So I love Kartik bhaiyya again.

Brrr! The Dungeon! The AC was the saving grace though.

I don’t like all the children that keep clinging to Himani Didi, especially the short, weak ones that need to be carried all the time! I mean, come on! You've got two decent paws, USE THEM! Hey, honesty is the best policy, right?

Kids! Aargh!

I’m still not completely clear about the female doggie anatomy and sometimes mistake male doggies to be females. I’m hoping to resolve this issue at the earliest.

One of my greatest achievements till dateI’ve turned two dog fearing kids into dog loving kids with my playfulness and non-violent streak.

I’m on the lookout for a doggie mate, preferably a female one, and want to start a family of my own. Screw that, honest to goodness, I just wanna get laid! I’m tired of just looking at Kartik bhaiyya and Himani didi, I want some!

I’m a clean, clean hearted, lovable doggie with a good family of dog obsessed critters (sadly, not so obsessed with dental hygiene) and would love to start a family with you. Any takers? 

Ma Peeps!
You can woof me at 9004492811/9867575608/9960090982/9960090830 

(They’re all my peeps. The first one is Kartik bhaiyya’s. Be nice to him if you don’t want to go to the dungeon! The second one is Himani Didi. I could loan her to you if you fancy taking her for a walk. The third one is Anant bhaiyya. You’re more than welcome to boss over him, pee on his bed, and chew his things. The fourth is Jyoti didi. I’m not gonna share her, sorry.)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Coco's Day at the beach!

Let’s take him with us baby! With such a pleading tone, and those compelling eyes, I knew most of my valid arguments had fallen on deaf ears! I hadn’t a choice but to relent to my wife’s request, and so we were taking Coco, our pet Lab for a picnic to the beach.

Suruchi beach is one of the more scenic beaches, and it is covered with palm trees before the waterfront starts. I think this is fairly unique to the beaches of today. I’ve seen similar beaches only in Mauritius, and such palm laden beaches offer you safe haven from the scorching sunlight.

Picnic day was a fairly windy day though. We are smack in between of the Monsoon season. I beg your pardon, we are smack in between of a drought, but the weather was surprisingly windy and our motley crew was greeted by the roar of waves when we reached the beach.

The gang at Suruchi Beach

The similarity between children and pups is that you tend to worry for them, sometimes more than you should. I know I am going to be a worrisome father, since I am a worrisome pet owner. While we were en route to the beach, I was planning counter measures to mitigate worse case scenarios.  Though my girl cuddling up to me in the light drizzle was rightfully distracting, I still was unsure how our lab would face those mighty waves, gel with the horses and pariahs there, etc.

Coco is a sprightly Dog, and among the friendliest ones you will meet. He just abhors violence and fighting. I guess he was Gandhi’s Dog in his past life. And while this quality of his is endearing, it is also a quality that lands him in trouble. The stray dogs may be barking and biting at his heels, he is wagging his tail trying to end the conflict.

Cocaine Dwivedi

I had agreed to get Coco there on the pre-condition that someone would be with him all the time as we know how nervous he gets alone. My cousin agreed as she loves him to bits. Our plan was to play mixed gender football and ‘dodge ball’. Well, you’ve got to play some girly game if you’re taking your WAGS with you.
The moment we started playing, Coco was off behind the football in a flash! He realized how conducive running on the beach was to his physical built. A stern look at Riya, my cousin, ensured that wouldn’t happen again.

I was afraid a horse, by whom Coco was fascinated would crush him, or he would try to get friendly to a mean streaked stray. His chain was gripped tighter, and the game began.

How we enjoyed the game, who scored, (I did, actually!), and what the result was does not really matter. We had fun, and during our revelry, I saw Coco. He looked sad that he had so much ground to cover, and I had restricted him.

I then remembered a story I had heard in Priya Kumar’s Training sessions about Dogs and Crabs. Most Dogs who visit the beach for the first time discover crabs and toss them in the air, without the Dog or the crab hurting each other. It’s a game they play; two perfect strangers, of such different species. It’s been noticed, this canine- crab behavior throughout the world. I’ll admit I hadn’t found the story to be completely true. However, the Dog could do that only when he was unchained. 

Yes, Coco would be unchained and in the wild. It was high tide. There was a Great Dane galloping in my peripheral vision. But what fun would it be for him if we got him to a beach, and kept him chained and away for all the excitement?
I unchained him, and told him to be a good boy. He sprinted into the water, where the gang was enjoying in ankle length waves, giving me multiple minor heart attacks.  And then I saw the most amazing scene ever. 

Coco galloping inside the water, going deeper inside, playing with the waves, trying to swallow them, and having a WHALE of a time. I had never seen him that active, that alive. He horsed around with everyone, enjoying the freedom from the shackles of the concrete jungle he was experiencing now. He didn’t care two hoots about the horses and other distractions; he was frolicking in the water!

I raced with him in knee deep water, and he half swam, half ran in the water, nipping close to my heels. He came out and was furiously trying to find black beards treasure chest in the sand. I have never seen him happier in his year and a half old life. Everyone agreed that coco was the one who had the most fun at the beach.

He was exhausted when he reached home and after his cleansing bath, semi plonked off to sleep. He learnt a valuable lesson; a lot of saline water is not too good to taste.
An extremely tired and hungry doggie

I was equally or more exhausted, and I learnt a valuable lesson too. Sometimes, you just have to let your loved ones go into the wild. They will be alright. And they might surprise you with the things they do. They might get hurt, they might falter, but it will only make them better and happier.

I guess I’ll be able to apply this when I raise a human. Two more years for that! Enjoy your each visit with your pup, and let me know how it went!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How it all started- Plan to get the puppy home!

This is the post-cursory article to my introductory post on Dog lovers. This post describes how we thought of and planned on Dog adoption, how we convinced our father, and some tips on what you can do to convince your loved one to let you bring the puppy home.


You need to be a serious kind of crazy to even contemplate adopting dogs; or conceiving or adopting children too, for that matter.
I reckon that almost half the world’s population is unplanned, and the same goes for the spur of the moment desire to adopt a pet; especially a Dog. Why do people get a Dog?
  • They want to gift it to their Dog loving spouse.
  • They want someone as company.
  • They want to see how it goes with an animal before thinking of conceiving a human being. (Guilty!)

While there could be many other reasons, the most important one being that they absolutely love the furry (or not so furry) creatures, there are not many who think things through. Neither while partaking in their amorous activities without protection, and nor while deciding to get home a Dog.
Not us. We are planners. We plan. We have plan A, plan B, plan C, and a few other contingency plans! We needed it to convince dad to allow us to adopt a Dog!

The Master Plan

Dad likes Dogs. He does. But he was right in saying that we weren’t ready for such a commitment. He was working, so was I, and so was my brother Anant. There wasn’t a woman in the house; for now at least. While Anant was engaged to his sweetheart Jyoti, there weren’t marriage bells in sight in the near future.

Dad and Jyoti

I did get married in Feb, and to the love of my life, but all this was not the case when the master plan germinated in our minds. The masterminds were Anant, Jyoti and I. The plan was to convince Dad to allow us to adopt a pet. The terrific trio, against all odds, was hell bent on convincing Dad. The old man had a valid point, and we weren’t thinking straight. We usually don’t.

Anant and I

It took about a month of coaxing, threatening, emotional blackmailing and near-begging to convince dad for a sit-down about the issue at hand. We needed a Dog, period. We loved them, for chrissakes! He was stuck on his valid point that Dogs are not playthings, and that they have to nurtured, they need attention, and care. He also raised a super valid point; who was gonna clean all the poo that was going to come out of it? We were seeing stars, and all his valid arguments fell on deaf ears. We got him a few beers, massaged his feet, and well, to put it plainly, set him up!

We asked him to retire, as it was now time! He would have the company of a pet, we said. It would help him keep fit as he could take the Dog for a walk, we said. We’d do all his poo cleaning, and if he didn’t feel up to it, we’d take him for walks, and to vets.

We weren’t financially ready for his retirement, or mentally. We just wanted the Dog so much! While Dad retired in a month or so is another story, but the fact that he was adamant not to bend to our wishes was unsettling for us then. We nonchalantly derided all his concerns, while he smiled wryly, knowing full well we were tightening the noose and creating a fool proof ( call it fool’s paradise) case for adopting a Dog.

Jyoti and I

Jyoti was between jobs then, and she volunteered to nurse the puppy till needed. This meant another 3 months of unemployment; something that didn’t go down too well with Dad again. But our constant badgering- a criminal would have confessed to crimes he had never committed, such were our tactics- and relentless pursuit for the Dog finally yielded results! Dad eked out a weak okay; let’s see, before scowling and requesting for the last time to let him sleep. We were elated! The Master plan had worked!

Dog Adoption convincing tips

So, you’ve set your heart on the cuteness monster that is a Labrador. You want it with all your heart, might, energy and life. Nothing, no one, not even God can stop you! Well, no one, except:
  •               You dog fearing wife
  •        Your house owning father/ You already heckled mother

Let’s face it. Like there are Dog lovers, there are Dog haters, or people afraid of Dogs. While you may feel it a silly fear, there are some (like yours truly) who are afraid of flying cockroaches in a closed environment. That is sillier. Sillier but true. We fear what we fear.

She fears Dogs. What do I do?

There are two things you can do:

Find out the root cause of the fear

Was it due to the Dog bite when she was 7 years old? You can tell her how home grown dogs, especially Labrador Retrievers are friendly and docile. I personally know three people who were shit scared of Dogs- one being my best mate’s son- who now love Coco (Our pet Lab) so much that they find excuses to visit. Take them around to see a few dogs; seeing the playful, harmless puppies may be just the shot in the arm needed to turn a skeptic into a lover.

Present all the good stuff

You might also want to show her the advantages, and disadvantages of keeping a pet mentioned below. Also, look out for a milder breed of Dogs. Some people are intimidated with the size, so don’t go looking for a Great Dane (although Great Dane’s are very timid Dogs).
You might-at your own risk- want to try out this line too. Of course, this may work only if you don’t have any kids. You can suggest nurturing a Dog before conceiving a kid, not because Dogs are Guinea Pigs or you doubt her motherly skills, but because it is good practice, and relatively lesser work which will help you prepare for parenthood. Believe me when I say this, it does prepare you for it. It’s tough love.

Note to Dog Lover- You may love just one kind of a Dog, but please remember to compromise a little when it comes to breed, for the comfort of your family. I can tell you that having any dog in the house is equally gratifying and infuriating.

My Parents disapprove! What now?

If you live with your parents, and they are wary about having a pet because of their hair, short life expectancy, responsibility, they have a right to be so.

Dogs lose a lot of hair, and it gets all over the place. The problem worsens if you are the third degree dog lover who allows the dog everywhere. There is hair on sofas, bed sheets and the floor. It is sometimes too much for the not so dog loving people you share your life and apartment with.

Here are a few suggestions I can give you:

Root Cause Analysis

Like in life, communication is the key to this problem too. While there are problems, there are enriching and fulfilling pluses of adopting a dog. All their fears, inhibitions and skepticism can be dealt with. You’ve got to believe in this to make it happen.

·         If they have a problem with hair all around, choose a breed which does not shed a lot of hair. I’ll tell you which ones not to go for- Pomeranian, Cocker Spaniel and Labrador. Also, regular brushing will minimize their hair loss too. You can also volunteer to clean up the hair using an industrial vacuum cleaner. Besides, we as humans too lose hair all the time, don’t we?! You can use this cute jibe with puppy eyes and pray it works on your wife, or your mum.

·         If they think it’s too much of a bother, walking the dog, cleaning the dog, feeding the dog, tending to the dog, well, it is. They are like kids and require your utmost attention, if not constant. You can convince them that you will get the puppy trained and hence ensure a well-trained, well behaved Dog. There are many dog trainers and you will find one if you set your heart to it. Walking the Dog is a gratifying and healthy experience, one that most people could do with. You could volunteer to clean the dog, as it needs to be done just once a week and believe me you, it’s a great experience!

·         If they feel that dogs are expensive, let me tell you that they are not. You don’t need to depend on just expensive dog food and dogs of the same breed have been known to become vegetarians, non-vegetarians or jains depending on their owners. Yes, they still remain healthy, just like their owners do. As they say, you are as fit as your dog! A fat dog in most cases means a fat owner. We have adopted Coco a year back, and his average expense per month, taking into consideration his food, training, doctor visits, sickness medicines, vaccinations, etc. have been about 4000 INR a month, tops.

The key lies in the desire. If the heart wants one, well, the heart wants one! My requested life partner trait was that she should love dogs. I found just the one. Hope you do too!
Himani, my better half, with Coco, our year old Lab

If you have any other predicaments regarding dog adoption, post it in the comments section and we will collectively come up with novel solutions!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Introduction to Doggie Lovers Central!

Bike enthusiasts fall in many categories. Some Bike lovers like to ogle at the latest mean machines, and talk about their tech specs, and attend expos. Others seek thrill in riding those bad babies to their hilts.

Similarly, Dog lovers and their ilk too differ. Some people proclaim their love of Dogs if and when they meet them. There are also some who keep them as pets; as guards, as play-things. And there a few who adopt one, think of the Dog as a family member, for whom dogs are dearer than children.

We adopted Coco, our Labrador retriever about 10 months back, when he was 50 days old. He left the ‘months old’ moniker by turning a year old on the 22nd of April. His birthday party saw 15 people coming in, Anant (My younger brother) making Pizzas for them all, a cake, doggie treats, a tooth brush as a gift for Coco to chew on, and a lot of fun!

A year has passed by, and I can honestly say that I have graduated from a pet keeping, playmate seeking dog lover to a hard core, ‘Coco is family’ kind. I miss him the most when I am away; something that my wife agrees upon. While she and I can be in touch over the phone or the internet, if we are not at home, Coco is away. At work, I sometimes have the urge to ask Himani (My better half)to start the webcam and show me the critters goofy face!

Through this blog and this post we share our experiences in adopting and raising a Dog we love as dearly as our child, our brother and our friend. I’ll talk about what it takes; the sacrifices, the rewards, and the situations we’ve had to encounter. And let me tell you, while it may seem strange to others- and they are entitled to their opinion- we love our dog as much as we would love our own child (Also, I’m newly married, and give the ‘our own child’ phenomenon a few years).

My brother, the last kind of Dog lover, pointed out that in the UK, people don’t buy dogs; they adopt them. You need to be financially sound, and have to convince the Animal shelters that you would take care of the animal before you could get them. You’d also need to scoop up their poop from the road too.

We’re hoping that people who feel the same way would read, appreciate and share on this page.
A series of posts will cover the topics mentioned below:

  • How it all started. The master plan.
  • Ready, set, Doggie hunt GO!
  • Early jitters, sleepless nights
  • Finding the right doctor
  • To feed, or not to feed. And what to feed!
  • We need a Trainer!
  • Coco is One!