Puppy Love. . .
We're a family that loves dogs. My husband's best childhood memories are those of growing up with two dogs in his large, rambling family home with a verandah in Punjab. My love affair with dogs began rather late. I remember running away terrified from the matted, filthy strays lurking in the alleys behind my home in suburban Delhi. But then, my youngest brother brought home a puppy from the pound, and Dodger had my heart instantly.
Dodger became my pet (thanks to the treats I'd smuggle to him under the dining room table), and I remained his favorite until I met my husband and moved overseas. When honeymooning with my husband in Europe, I'd get teary-eyed and nostalgic at the sight of a dog, any dog. It became a joke between us.
"I'm going to tell your parents you don't miss them. You don't cry at their memory. You only miss Dodger," he'd threaten.
Given our canine attachment, it was inevitable that we'd welcome a dog in our household. We'd just bought a new home with a big backyard. My husband had only one condition. "Get a dog that's house broken so that he doesn't soil the carpet."
Enter Fergie (he came with the name), a two-year-old silky terrier that was our baby until our own babies came. Fergie resented my son at first but then decided there was no hope for it. . .everybody adored the new baby, and he had to join the ranks or be miserable. Fergie brought us to our knees with joy, with laughter and, sometimes with tears, and we only lost him at age 14.
Four years and a new home later, my daughter insisted we bring another dog home. By now, we'd discovered that she was allergic to dog fur so it had to be a hypoallergenic breed. Maltese, Bichon Frisse and Labradoodle were considered, but rejected. . .instead, we settled on a four-month Havanese. We named him Ladoo, after an Indian dessert that 's round, full of sugar and, deliciously addictive. That would describe Ladoo's role for us. We never really succeeded in housebreaking him. . .leading to many accidents and mishaps, finally culminating in heartbreak when we lost Ladoo to a genetic disorder at age seven.
"Please, good Lord," I begged as I bargained with God. "Please let him live for two more years until Ghena (my-16-year-old) goes away to college."
Alas, it was not to be. We were peacefully dog less for a while, and then many tantrums and tear-jerking moments later, I gave in to my daughter's pleas to get a new furry friend. Sheru (meaning lion cub) is our third dog and our youngest yet. At 10 weeks, he's adorable, with a big personality. He chews and plays with everything--toys, his food bowl, the refrigerator door, golf balls and, even leaves blowing across the grass. A West white Highland terrier, he weighs only five pounds, but that's bound to change since he has a voracious appetite and a disgustingly regular poop pattern to prove it!
He sleeps through the night. "An exception!" our dog consultant, Gary Maria marvels.
The Princess of Jacaranda AKA my 16-year-old who has a funny definition of co-parenting—Mom feeds Sheru; Mom cleans up his "mistakes", Mom engages him in a spirited game of catch to tire him out while daughter cuddles him; shows him off to friends who visit; and baby talks to him for hours—is in love. However, I gotta admit. . . Sheru makes me smile!