My chocolate Labrador - Rufus
My dog has an accommodating stomach: He can eat endlessly, and then, still beg for more. I am told that most Labradors are among the hungriest dogs on planet earth. Rufus is testament to that.
Rufus weighs almost 50 kilograms and plays with strangers and any other dog with innocuous innocence. If he were entered in a dog affability contest, he would win paws down. He can be fooled, though his breed is the sixth most intelligent among canines. Actually, I am told that an Australian Border collie has the highest canine I.Q. though they would find it difficult to match Rufus in sensing, detecting smell and raw speed.
Labradors were employed to track people buried in rubble after the Haiti earthquake. If Rufus were deployed on that assignment he would probably have searched more for food. But experts can train a dog for such search and rescue missions and I think I am downplaying how talented Rufus really is.
I have three grown-up children but none of them has given me affection like Rufus. Often I refer to Rufus as my only son. He makes my life worth living.
And so, much to the chagrin of my wife and other children, I feed Rufus with spicy food and leftovers from my plate. My wife tells me not to feed him ``roti” which is an Indian bread since it contains gluten. To that I nod my head.
But I do the opposite minutes later. I do not suggest Korean men resort to such disobedience lest they get penalized out of their homes. As for me, my wife says I am a stubborn pig-headed man. She has given up on me!
I don’t know what you think, but why should I treat my dog like a dog when he is nobler than I am? I simply treat him like a friend and fellow human being.
My recently-married son, too, yells and throws tantrums when I feed Rufus with a slice of bread and a good dollop of butter. I don’t talk to my son anyway so he can rant for all I care.
But I care about Rufus and I am determined to enter his heart even if the route is via his stomach. I do not know how miserable my life would be if I were not in a position to communicate with Rufus. And something tells me I am on the right track, using food as a lure.
Rufus does not talk to me as such, but resorts to placing his warm, firm chin on my knee when I am at the dining table. Then he uses his droopy eyelids and sleepy eyeballs to solicit alms. I would not mind his begging in such a pitiable manner, save that his drooling is quite disgusting. It feels yucky on my thighs and when I am unable to shoo him off, I take off like a twelve year old.
`` Look at this Rufus ― he is not allowing me to eat!”
Rufus has other admirers outside of our family. He plays and jumps up and down on strangers like a friendly Sumo wrestler. He makes Caucasian Canadian women come out with heart-fluttering accolades at his good looks.
`` What a handsome dog! He’s a big fella, isn’t he?”
All that bloats me up in the head; but Rufus is unaffected. He has no ego, it appears; but he does sense kindness in most humans. All he does is wag his tail and kiss and lick their hands till his whiplash tail has done fifty swags a minute. If there were a prize for ``Mr. Congeniality” he would be a prime contender. But if ever he were to secure second place for that prize, I would lodge a firm protest with the technical committee.
I tell you ― sometimes, judges tick me off!
I have so much to learn from Rufus. He is mostly unruffled with happenings in our microcosm. I can hear his thoughts when my nose touches his muzzle.
But the only thing that does ruffle him is the sight of someone wearing headgear or a scarf. Then he barks and gives me a brief headache.
But that is okay since he is only human.
Alan Saldanha is the Editor of Daywatch in Surrey B.C. He can be contacted at email@example.com.