No, this is not the end of radio communications; Roger is the name of our Labrador retriever. Like any retriever he is happiest when he is out. He is all of eleven now and is tamed a bit; but, when he was small, keeping him indoors was a major task. He would take off in a direction we would least expect him to and all of us would run after him enacting the wild goose chase. He always came first in those races but we were the firsts to tire ourselves out. Minutes later when we would return, huffing and puffing, with soiled clothes, bruised hands, arms and legs, he would hover around excitedly to savour the effect of his latest jaunt.
When he was very small, during one of such feral runs, he fell into a pond next to the lawn. I saw him and thought he was struggling to keep himself afloat. So, with my clothes on (there was no time to remove) I jumped into the pond and rescued him. I dried hi m with a towel, all the time muttering sympathies and reassuring that all was going to be well now that I had done the chivalrous thing. However, no sooner had I finished drying that he made a dash for the pond again and there he was happily swimming with an accusing look on his face for having spoiled a good thing that he had accidently discovered.
His love for the water always kept us on our toes and always wet. We took him to a beach; Roger did not like it that we were taking time to settle down and get into swimming dress. So, no sooner had we taken off the leash, that he became part of the marine life, as far away from our reach as possible. Most people on the beach were left wondering why our family loved to be in the sea… with all clothes on.
When out for a walk Roger is convinced that there are hidden treasures to be found under the most inaccessible rocks, thorniest bushes, and most inhospitable swamps. One has to be on total alert when walking near grass or water. Like advice given to drivers on Indian roads, you take your attention away for a split second and you will be surprised to see the mess you will find yourself in. At the end of it there is no way you can get angry with him because he has perfected the innocent-ididnotdoanything-look. More often than not he expects to be patted and fussed over for his sincere efforts.
Many a times Roger has put me in embarrassing positions. He would walk at his normal brisk pace and then slow down immediately behind a lady walking alone. The lady would give furtive and accusing glances because it would very much appear like stalking. My muttering of, “Good boy, Roger, lets walk faster” would be seen by the lady as a ploy to blame my reprehensible act on a poor innocent dog. The more it would take to get him to cross the more would be my mortification. And the moment we’d cross, and I thank God for having avoided a scene, Roger would stall like a car with a flat tyre. I try to become invisible on such occasions but it does not help.
Roger is the darling of all the children and I do not know what they see in him.
“Uncle can we touch him?” a girl would ask.
“Yes, but why do you ask?” is my normal response.
“Because he looks so ferocious”
“Ah, then why do you want to touch him?”
“Because he looks so cute, too”
So, that’s Roger for you, a true Geminian’s dog.
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