When three is not a crowd

The author with Daaku, Ninja and Yoda.

Our family has always loved dogs, and most of our lives we have had dogs in the house. Our children grew up loving animals and learning to take care of them. We have a preference for indie breeds and have found them intelligent, affectionate and very protective. 

Our current pet family comprises three indie dogs. These dogs belong to our son, Joe, who was in Mumbai but moved in with us lately. He brought two dogs from there and acquired the third one recently in Bengaluru.

The oldest is Daaku, who is about 13 years old but is still vigorous and strong. The brown-and-white dog is a thorough gentleman. When he wants your attention, he will gently lay his chin on your lap. He is reserved with strangers but warms up to people once they are in the house.

His name is Daaku not because he is a terror, but because he will steal your heart with his loving and gentle demeanour. However, he is extremely protective of the family members as well as his ‘siblings’. Whenever there is any threat from strays or other sources, he runs around whoever he is protecting, attacking other dogs or viciously barking at people.

Ninja is small in build and mostly black, with white socks. He is a true ninja – fast and aggressive, especially when he knows Daaku is there to back him up. He is able to run circles around even bigger dogs. He is cautious with strangers and takes time to become friends. He dislikes some particular type of people — children walking in squeaky shoes, the stentorian fishmonger who loudly proclaims his arrival and the knife-sharpener with his grating, grinding sounds.

Both Daaku and Ninja are class conscious. On daily walks they are ready to frolic with most street dogs, but are aggressive with pedigree dogs; they particularly dislike labradors.

Yoda is the baby of the group and is still a puppy. Yoda has prominent ears and is named after the legendary Grand Master of the Jedi Order in the Star Wars movie franchise.

Joe rescued him in the nick of time when a huge cement truck was bearing down on him. The puppy was tiny, covered in mud, malnourished and dehydrated; the truck driver probably did not even notice him on the road. Joe took him to CUPA, where he was treated for his wounds but they did not have space to accommodate him. So Joe brought him to the house with the intention of taking him back to CUPA after a few days.

But Yoda, with his puppy ways, captured the hearts of the whole family and became a part of the household. Daaku and Ninja are not entirely happy with Yoda’s arrival; he takes all their playthings, considers their beds his own, eats from their plates, and has no compunctions about coming in between and demanding attention when the other two are getting petted.

All the dogs have sensitive hearing and can distinguish our cars from others on the road, or if anyone touches the gate. When anyone, especially my son, comes home, they hear the car and the gate opening which is license for them to give a raucous welcome. Three dogs are a lot of work (there is dog hair everywhere!) but the unstinting love and affection that they shower on all of us makes it worthwhile.

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When three is not a crowd

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