Reading the ebook of Marley and Me on a rainy evening, right before I go out to dinner, I realise how much I miss having a dog around. TC is awesome, he's a stellar cat, does his own thing, is affectionate when he wants to be, is SERIOUSLY adorable and is the size of Garfield, but he doesn't come rushing to the door when I come home. He can't be walked. He won't be walked. His ideas of conversations with us are: "Oh, an ankle. Let me scratch it lovingly." or "Legs! Food! TC hungry!" or "I know you love me, and I tolerate you when you scratch under my chin." Cats are cats and dogs are dogs and the two are very different species, I know, but I miss my dog. Cookie is more like a cat than a dog. She is loving, yes. When I'm in Delhi, she can't get enough of me and rests her head with deep sighs on my knee. When my mother calls, sometimes she puts Cookie on the phone and I say, "Hey Cookie! Who'sa good girl? Who?" and she closes her eyes and licks the reciever. But I bet if our house in Delhi ever got robbed, Cookie would be the one either under the dining table or going, "You can have them all! Just don't hurt me!"
Bobo, now. Bobo was a dog. He oozed essence of dogginess from his every pore. Bobo was part Alsatian (full Alsatian, the pet shop assured us, but he seemed more like a Dobermann-Alsatian cross to me). He was named by my mother, for Boris Becker-which should be more BoBE than BoBO, but hey. He was an adorable puppy and an adolescent dog with behaviour issues. MAJOR behaviour issues. And we weren't the best puppy owners in the world either. My parents have this whole live and let live thing when it comes to rearing anything--including me--and that's something I've inherited. I figure discipline can come, everything can come as long as the thing being raised realises it's loved. Bobo understood he was loved all right. He also understood that his humans were inconsistent with their punishments and in a large house, it was easy for an active puppy to get into mischief.
We packed him off to obedience school once--the kindest decision, my parents felt. I opposed it as violently as an eight year old could, but when Bobo returned, he could sit and speak and do all sorts of things. Well, for like five whole minutes. Then he was back to being himself, tongue out, wide smile, head lopsided. I lived in Trivandrum then, which I've written about before--a huge house on top of a valley, no other kids nearby and lots of walks. Bobo and I walked all over that hillside--well, he took off and fathered many children--but I had Enid Blyton ideals about my dos and whistled to him as I set out. Sometimes, he'd respond and come bounding after me, but most times he was wrapped up in mating with every bitch that waggled her bottom at him.
He loved me though. He was a loving dog. My mother would hold him by the leash and I'd hide and she'd say, "Bobo, where's eM? Go find eM!" and he'd always find me. When we moved back to Delhi, I gave him to my grandfather, who also took him on long walks and was firm with him and gave him attention when he needed some--in fact, probably a much better pet owner than we were--and Bobo was devoted to him. He'd even leave off chatting up some brindle mongrel to go running whenever my grandfather called. Once Bobo died (of snake bite) I considered getting my grandfather another dog, but he's older, the farm is smaller and I don't think he has the energy for a puppy.
Plus, I think like human beings, some animals are just meant to be with some people. Bobo was meant to be with my grandfather, he was, TC is meant to be with me, he is the pet I feel perhaps the most strongly about, and I've had many many pets. Someday, I'll find my dog, my soulmate dog, my dog that will come running when I call it and will be the one I train and everything. TC is going to have to live with it, sadly, a fact that I don't think he's quite aware of just yet.