Parenting A Pet
Dr Shishir S. Srivastava, former director, Central Geological Service
My memory of the pets in our family goes more than six decades back. There were three cows, a pair of parrots, and a dog. Of these, the dog was very close to us children. He was a medium-sized dog of the mixed breed having a white coat with brown specks. He was named 'Rex' by my grandfather and he behaved accordingly. To this day I fondly remember his gentle demeanour while interacting with us and the ferocity with which he challenged any trespasser into our sprawling premises.
Life moved ahead at a brisk pace and multiple demands imposed by it did not allow entry of any pet into our home. Then, after a protracted hiatus, on the tenth day of October 1999 a small spitz, just a few weeks old, entered our home and became the most important member of our family in no time. How did it happen? My wife Ranjana was very keen on bringing a pup and put forth the proposal a few times. I was quite unwilling and did not consent but wives are wives. On a fateful day, when I was about to leave for the office, she asked me to leave the car behind and take the bike as she intended to visit her sister that afternoon. I complied as usual without suspecting anything. Later that evening, on my return from the office, I was greeted by a tiny white ball of fur charging at me and yapping incessantly. The difference between our respective sizes did not deter him from using his very tiny teeth for tugging at the bottom of my trousers. All my resentment simply vanished in the face of his affectionate dare-devilry. That was the beginning of a deep bond of affection.
My wife was a great admirer of the cricketer Rahul Dravid so naming the new member after his nickname Jamie was a no-brainer. Because of his very small size and cute appearance, Jamie looked like a battery-operated toy. Before coming to us he had spent some time at my sister-in-law’s place who is a great lover of pets and pampered him with toys etc. So, he arrived at our place with his favourite toy, a small plastic gun. A small bed was placed just outside of the entrance to our bedroom which he didn't like at all. He wanted to be right inside our bedroom and made his displeasure very obvious. I kept discouraging him but without making much impression. One evening, on my return from the office, I was relaxing on the bed and watching television when I was distracted by something happening in the space between the foot of the bed and the TV. Lo and behold, Mr Jamie had decided to take the matter in his small jaws and had dragged his bed into our bedroom. The look on his face was partly imploring but largely defiant. I had to give in. From then till the very end Jamie remained inseparable. Even today he is with us.