The doorbell rang precisely at 11 the next morning. For some reason, I had decided that I did not want to appear too eager, so I was sitting in my room. I had rehearsed this moment for hours the previous day, and I had made a few notes to myself:
- When you’re walking towards the gate, walk at a measured pace. Not too fast, not too fast.
- Say something casual, when you open the gate. e.g – Hi, Good Morning, How are you?
- Don’t stare. Remember to smile. Remember to smile!
- Act casual when she’s talking to parents.
- TRY BEHAVING NORMALLY..
Sadly, Roopsa, my beloved German Shepherd, shot all my best laid plans to hell. It was my fault. In all my excitement, I had forgotten all about her. So, about two seconds after the bell rang, before I had even stepped out of my room, I could hear Roopsa barking her “stranger-alert” bark from the garden. I forgot all about measured paces and ran to the gate practically at a full gallop. Instead of delivering my well-rehearsed greetings, I found myself trying desperately to shut Roopsa up. Predictably, she wasn’t cooperating.
A word here. Reading that last bit might give you the wrong impression about Roopsa, so let me clarify. She wasn’t angry or hostile by nature. She was very friendly, and she loved having guests at the house. In fact, what she enjoyed most was sitting in the middle when me and a few other boys from school sat in my room and talked trash for hours. However, there was one specific type of visitors who she didn’t quite welcome with open arms, and those were female friends of mine. Yes, dogs are intensely jealous, and if you have any disgusting Freudian explanations about that, I suggest you keep those to yourself.
Anyway, I quieted Roopsa after a few minutes of effort and opened the gate. Roopsa sniffed her suspiciously for a while and then seemed to accept her presence for the time being. After the obligatory exchanges with my mom, I took her to my room. Roopsa quietly got on the bed and firmly sat down close to me, keeping an eye on her all the time. This did not seem to faze her. She looked at Roopsa with a half-smile and said, “Why do I have the feeling that I already have competition?”
Again, my rehearsals had not covered that possibility that she would be so direct. I smiled weakly and said,”Don’t worry, she likes you.”
I discreetly tried to push Roopsa off the bed even as I spoke. If only pushing full-grown Alsatians around were that easy. At first Roopsa just threw me an annoyed glance and made a strange sound in her throat that was halfway between a grunt and a growl. I pushed a little harder. Instead of budging an inch, Roopsa just snuggled closer, put her head on my leg, and apparently fell asleep. I gave up.
The girl I was doing all this for laughed delightedly at my embarrassment. “Let her stay,” She said affectionately,”I like her already. At least…”
“What?” I asked.
She smiled that naughty but bewitching smile of hers that I loved, “Unlike you, wimp, she doesn’t try to hide her feelings from everyone, especially from you. Where’s my ice-cream?”
She had once told me that butter-scotch was her favorite flavor of ice-cream, and I in turn had told her that I’ll treat her to it the first time she comes to my home. We had not spoken about it again, but she remembered, and she knew that so would I.
“Coming up.” I said, and firmly pushed Roopsa’s head off my leg. As I got off the bed to get the ice-cream, Roopsa lazily crawled to her, put her head on her lap, and apparently fell asleep again. I stood looking at my beloved pet in disbelief. Wasn’t she barking furiously at her, about 3 minutes ago? Besides…okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a bit possessive about my dogs as well.
“You ungrateful canine,” I muttered, trying to sound threatening, “You just wait till I get my hands on you.”
The ungrateful canine opened one eye, wagged her tail once, and licked my girl’s hand affectionately.
The subject of affection, in turn, laughed indulgently and petted her newest fan who had apparently fallen asleep again.
“Ice-cream.” She ordered. “And get some for her as well.”
I stood looking at the scene for moment. The beautiful girl and the huge German shepherd curled up at her feet, both of whom I loved more than almost anything else in this world. Then, despite myself, I grinned happily and went to get that damned ice-cream…
- The Road To Ithaca – 17 (thecleverdog.wordpress.com)
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- The Road To Ithaca – 12 (thecleverdog.wordpress.com)