Good morning! A little over 6 years ago my two sons pestered us to get them a pup. My wife found that to be a very bad idea and said that she did not want a dog in the house. I had mixed feelings about it. A dog in an apartment is not my idea of an ideal life for a dog. Secondly, though the kids were promising to clean up after it and walk it, I had a sinking feeling that extra work was coming my way. But I knew a pup will do a world of good for the kids and they might learn to be more responsible and show affection more often. So I did not oppose this demand and the vote was split three to one at home. And with uncles, aunts, and grandparents weighing into this raging conversation it was getting difficult for her to ignore or refuse the demand. Since she found that everyone was ganging up on her and that emotional pressure was building on her to accede to their request, she made it clear that she will not take care of the pup, will not clean after it and will not walk it, ever. Finally, she came around and accepted to bring a pup home.
So within a few weeks one small bundle came home – 30 days old, fawn coloured male pup. We named him Alfie after a massive search for a suitable name, we chose the name picked by my niece. Yesterday Alfie turned 6 years old. He is now an integral part of my family and people wished and pamper him like any of us on our birthday. As expected my sons’ promises of taking care of him remain promises. They take care of him when the mood suits them.
The daily grind is left to me. My wife still cribs now and then. But when we catch her in private with Alfie, she chats with him, feeds him buttermilk, which he loves, and has even given him bath when I’m not in town and is in need of a bath. So she does a lot of caring for him including walking him, pulling out the ticks, brushing him occasionally and chatting with him when no one is at home.
Alfie somehow understands any language we speak even though we did not tutor him in that. He understands our moods and knows how to treat each of us. We each have our own unique relationship with him. He has accepted me as the head of the family and obeys my orders without any back-answering, most of the times. He waits at the door for me when I return home. This he does for all of us. He growls at my elder son when he plays with him, because my son gets a kick out of it. For my younger son who is very strict with him, he gives the required respect and obedience expected of him.
A dog in the family is an essential part of growing up. Kids learn responsibility. They learn to drop their mask and be themselves with the canine. When you return home tired and this guy shows excitement and love to see you back, you get energised and drop all your work worries or thoughts and come back to the present.
When you are with your dog, the past and the future are not of much consequence and you can be totally in the present. You can relax and be yourself. But do remember along with all these good things comes the responsibility of caring for him through his lifetime. You cannot travel so freely anymore. You need a good kennel that will care for him in your absence. You need to use this facility early enough so that he gets accustomed to you not being there for short breaks.
Alfie is a blessing in our family and I’m grateful that he is with us.