Snow And Me
by Geetashree Chatterjee
Snow came in our lives when we had pretty much given up on having a pet. My father was an animal lover and we always had pets in our house, especially dogs. But after migrating to the capital the absence of spacious residential quarter prevented us from keeping one. It was years later that we picked up Snow from the roadside one evening – a tiny ball of black fur with patches of white on the chest, paws and a sparkling, bright star on the neck. He shivered pathetically in our arms - a foreign terrain to his sensory organs. He looked the cutest and the most fearful and forlorn amongst half a dozen furry bundles huddled together behind a bush. The meek, whimpering, defenceless pile of fur tugged at our heart strings and we instantly fell in love with him at first sight. “Give shelter to the homeless,” said my brother-in-law and Snow from that very moment became the redoubtable member of our family.
Snow turned out to be exceptional and unmanageable from the very beginning. He was strangely house bound and hated to venture out even for his regular walks. In addition, he was whimsical, suspicious of both strangers and family members alike, suffered from fear psychosis and was extremely anxiety prone. At times he was so trying that we were often advised by our neighbours and acquaintances to abandon him. But it was our blind love and the patient care of our vet that stopped us from deserting him.
Snow grew up into a formidable, snarling, temperamental, big dog with a worrisome biting tendency whom even the trainers refused to handle. We were always cautious not to offend him. Incurring his wrath was something which we painstakingly avoided. It took years of love, care, patience and duly prescribed medication to tame Snow in the long run.
Snow matured into a cooler canine but simply refused to let go some of his odd habits which we called his personal idiosyncrasies. The first and foremost of these eccentricities was his rigid fondness for time. The lights of the house could not be on after the clock struck ten. Snow whined, growled, barked, howled in growing intensity and volume to make it a point to let us know that it was his bedtime and when he slept pin drop silence had to be maintained. As a result, we not only abstained from viewing the late night shows on TV, even if they were our most favourite ones, we also had to retire to bed per force because Snow wanted it that way.
That brings me to his second most incredible habit. Snow was an early riser, say between 4 am and 5 am and made sure that we all rose with him, the same way that he made us go to bed with him. Often early dawn saw us both pacing the quiet streets for Snow liked to attend to Nature’s call in those early hours.
The third most fantastic habit that Snow developed and stuck to was his choice of spots to relieve himself. He took his own time sniffing them out and settling down to unburden his tummy which often led to the most embarrassing situations. One such incident was when Snow decided to empty his bladder on the wheels of an SUV parked sedately by the compound wall.
It was an early winter morning. Still dark and desolate! We could hear our own footsteps echoing down the road. A dense layer of fog had ominously descended on the countenance of the Earth.
Snow as usual was being peevish about his choice of spot. It was after much trotting, sniffing and searching that he located this huge wagon-like carrier standing tall and square besides the concrete wall which separated our block from the next. Human mind has its own swift but silent warning mechanism. There was something about the look of the vehicle that foretold doom. And hey presto! No sooner Snow had picked up his hind leg and squirted a few drops of warm fluid on the body of the car, than the Autocop signal of the vehicle went buzzing. The shrill alarm in the silence of the dawn made such a ruckus that I was quite sure the owner would at any moment fly out of his flat with flailing fists to catch us - the culprits.
Imagining the scene I grew cold feet. I was in a mighty hurry to scoot off but Snow as usual was coolly adamant and took his own sweet time to clear his bladder. I pulled at his leash, told him to hurry under my breath and almost ran leaving him behind but the rascal would not budge. It was after a few minutes which seemed like hours that Snow decided to vacate the premise.
As we sped down the alley, I could hear somebody hollering behind, most probably the vehicle owner but I was too guilty to be polite and relay my predicament to him which I was sure he would not have understood or appreciated. After covering some distance I looked back to find one of the watchmen, who had spotted us from afar, calming the man down, explaining to him what had happened.
This and many such hilarious anecdotes have now become part of our fond memory of Snow who is no more with us. This year, on an early summer morning, an ill and exhausted Snow, left this world quietly.
And oh yes! Did I tell you how very courteously we addressed him, always, in spite of his penchant for putting us into trouble? It was his impressive white paws which decided his name – Mr. Snow Boot!!
We really miss you very much!!!