A REAL-LIFE DOG STORY There is a well-to-do household in the picturesque hill station of Mussoorie, which has seven

members; Mother, Father, Son No.1, Son No.2, Grandmother, Grandfather and the dog Hitler. This is Hitler’s story. Son No.1 was ten years old when his brother, Son No.2 was born. So, he said to his parents, “Now we only need a puppy to complete the family.” His mom said, “Look, that’s not gonna happen. I will go back to work once your brother is a few months old and you will have to help to keep an eye on him. Who will have time to look after the dog?” Son No.1 pleaded, “I will manage everything mom. Just please agree to get a dog, please!!!” Father intervened, “Listen son, getting a dog would be a big responsibility. He will need to be bathed, fed, vaccinated, taken for walks and what not!” Son No.1, “But dad you are a veterinarian! With you around, how can taking care of a dog be a problem? You do help mom around the house, especially when she is away at work. We will all manage, dad, please! PLEASE!” Cornered by the incessant pleading, Mother and Father promised Son No.1 that they would get a dog as soon as they had built a bigger house, in which the dog would not be a nuisance to anyone. Pacified, Son No.1 agreed to be patient. Five years went by…..the large four-storey house was ready and Son No.1, now 15 years old, started hounding his parents about the promise they had made of ‘completing the family’.

So, Hitler, the Basset Hound, was purchased for rupees 30,000 and brought home with much fan-fare. Son No.2, who is five years old, was the first one Hitler took a liking to. But the others didn’t really mind, as they all enthusiastically discussed the various responsibilities they needed to take-up for Hitler’s sake. Mother would provide food, Father would take care of vaccinations and fleas, Son No.1 would take Hitler for morning/evening walks and help the maid in bathing the dog. Son No.2 would play with Hitler, Grandmother and Grandfather would potty-train Hitler, just like they did their grandsons. It all worked out fine for about a month. And then, the potty-training became too tiring for Grandmother and Grandfather, due to their advanced age. Mother volunteered to step-in. So, every morning at day-break she would urge Son No.1 (walks were his domain) to accompany her and Hitler for the morning session, as soon as Hitler (now quite potty-trained) started whining promptly at 5am. Soon the maid complained that the bathing ritual was quite messy and took too much of her time as she had other households to report to. So Mother soon became the partner with Son No.1 for the doggybaths.

Next, Father became too busy setting-up his own veterinary clinic in which he charged hefty sums for vaccinations and flea-combat, so why would he want to provide ‘free’ services at home? So again, Mother stepped in. Son No.2 was now too interested in the new robots and toy planes he got for his birthday, to want to throw ball for Hitler, so Hitler would innocently lodge the ball in his jaw and run behind Mother, looking up pleadingly at her with his puppy eyes. So in between preparing food for the family and checking office e-mails, Mother would throw ball for Hitler.

Many months of this later……Son No.1 had started protesting every time Mother woke him at the crack of dawn. It was now winter and 5am often came without the sun putting in an appearance in the sky. Mother now started having restless nights as she wasn’t sure if she would be alert enough to hear Hitler’s whining. It was usually still dark as night, at day-break. So one day, Mother suddenly woke-up, shook Son No.1 awake and they dragged themselves out of bed, put the leash on Hitler and went for a walk. It was dark. Try as much as they did, Hitler refused to do his morning potty. They thought he needed a run, so run they did for about half an hour on the hill road. Still no potty! They then decided to give-up and took a u-turn for home. It was a walk of at least 45 minutes back home….

Surprisingly, as they neared home they couldn’t see any of the other dog-owners-dog-walkers, whom they generally encountered each morning. All was quiet, all was dark. Something was definitely odd! Mother looked at her watch and was aghast to see that it was 3am!!! She and Son No.1 had been out with Hitler for morning-potty, since 1.30am….. Mother looked at Hitler and he wagged his tail happily…. MORAL OF THE STORY FOR THE MOTHER "Let sleeping dogs lie." - Charles Dickens AND "If you stop every time a dog barks, your road will never end." Saudi Arabian Proverb MORAL OF THE STORY FOR HITLER "When a man's best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem." - Edward Abbey

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