We had great fun while we could.
My father used to have two pets; a Dachshund and an Alsatian. When my siblings and I were of the ages between 8 and 2, he got them from a friend of his. My mother christened them as Ravi and Remi respectively.
They made an odd twosome. While Ravi was brown, short-legged and long- bodied, Remi was big and black with a white patch spreading across the jaws. Both were quite friendly and a part of our childhood spent together remained fixed in my memory lane.
While, Sagar, my six-year-old brother, my junior by two years, loved to have them with him all the time, I preferred to wander about the house and the garden with them when I felt like it. My younger siblings, a brother and two sisters, found joy in playing and jumping about with them. Both pets were trained to play ball and fetch things. Luckily, we had wrap around veranda and a wide compound with various plants and trees. Thus, there was plenty of ground for Ravi and Remi to frolic about and play along just as we kids did.
Our pets never had any leashes. They knew their limits and they knew where to be free and run at will. As a prison superintendent, my dad was extremely disciplined and duty bound. So, whether it was dogs or children there is the same set of rules applicable.
During lunch time or dinner, Ravi and Remi would wait at our table for their plates of meals consisting of the same food as we had. Sometimes it was vegetable curries and rice, and very often fish and meat as well.
The Alsatian was quite alert to the outsiders. However, it controlled its instinct to jump on them with one stern word from either of my parents. It would heel before them with a friendly whine.
The one incident that would remain with me forever, took place a year after they arrived at our place.
That night was calm and normal as every other night. We kids went to bed at 9 pm after attending to our homework and some story reading time.
During those days, my parents, generally spent time with a tuition master, who used to teach them Hindi, the national language of India, from 9 to 10 at night. Both were busy throughout the day. So that was the only time-slot they could allot for language-learning. Sometimes, I watched them struggling over grammar and vocabulary. It was fun for me as a young girl of 9 to see adults working hard to study the text books. I would fall asleep listening to their voices coming from the hall.
Suddenly, in the middle of the same night, I woke up with a start. I heard commotion coming from the dining hall. I got up and went to see what happened.
The scene was pretty bewildering for me.
My dad, at an imposing height of six feet, stood before a rack in which we kept the silverware, consisting of plates and tumblers used for dining purposes. Two men crouched and cowered in a corner.
Remi was glowering at the two strangers looking lost and terrified, while Ravi was circling around them.
I observed a gap in the ceiling of the room. It was a slate roof. A few slates were removed. A long rope was hanging through it.
I came to know much later, that those two were actually, former prisoners, small time crooks, going through a short sentence of a few months. I was told that they used to come to clean the house and garden with a jail warder to watch over them. They were thus acquainted with the topography of the house and the surroundings quite well. They must have noticed the silver and evidently, had an eye on it. Once they were released after serving the sentence, they got together and planned the robbery.
The only impediment in their otherwise smooth operation was their ignorance of our dogs. They had no idea that we had Ravi and Remi. So, as they jumped in through the hole they made in the roof, they were stunned out of wits, when Remi pounced on them. Unable to get out of the clutches of the ferocious guard dog, they howled in desperation. And the whole household woke up along with the sleepy-eyed night-watch men. The thieves were thus caught red-handed and later handed over to the police, who were on the spot with one phone call from dad. They confessed to the crime at the police station, I was told.
It just went to prove the dog’s loyalty to the family, especially to my father.
Ravi and Remi were with us for long years. They traveled with us to whichever town my father was transferred. They were always treated and loved like members of our family and enjoyed their stay with us for as long as it lasted.
Word Count: 821
Written for Gemini Gem’s The Pet News Contest,