I am full grown now and have a full time job as a guard dog. I have been trained to guard and protect. I was taught how to deal with bad people and other dogs if they attack me. I can take down 2 dogs at once. I take my role as guardian of the home very seriously. I carry with me the confidence in my strength and training whether I am at home or outside. I no longer bark unless absolutely necessary. I can make the strongest of men and animals shiver with fear with just a low growl from the corner of the living room where I like to sit.
When Asha and I go for a walk, most folks give us a wide berth. Even at the park I keep my dignity and do not play rolling in the mud. Well, not too often and not too much. I may stop to smell the roses and root about on an interesting smell, but I am always alert for suspicious creatures who may be out to hurt Asha or any other member of my family. That is how I caught a burglar once and once I saved Asha from a deadly snake. I no longer have a puppy dog’s silly infatuation with everyone. I have learnt that it pays to be cynical and proceed with caution when it comes to trusting people.
Don’t get me wrong – I still like most people and animals. We are a friendly family and relatives and friends visit often. More often than not, they stay over for a few nights. Some are nice and bring me gifts and toys. Others slip me treats under the table. I ignore them as I was taught, but if Asha notices and says it’s OK, I don’t argue and gobble them up pronto.
If the guests bring their own pets and we get along, we share adventures and stories. If not, I just ignore them and let them be. Asha and Ma taught me to be nice to guests at our house and so I am. Every once in a while there are some guest pets though that have me running for cover. Like the Chihuahuas that one lady brought. They were so noisy, I was forced to growl at them just to make them shut up. The lady who brought them made even more noise than those two at that. So Ma asked me to take a stroll in the garden. I was happy to do so. I decided to stay outside that night. I only came in to the house when we finally saw them out of the door next day. Ma kept chuckling to herself and patting my head in passing all day. When Asha came home from school that day, Mom told her about how I came in the moment they left and they both giggled like little girls. Then Asha mimicked the Chihuahuas’ barking and they went into another fit of giggles all over again.
Anyways, today I want to tell you about the most irritating guest ever. He is a parrot and is called Mithu, but there is nothing sweet about him at all. He comes often with his owners, but they left him with us for a few days each time. The first time they left him, I thought he would be staying with us now. I tried to make friends, but he was not having any of it. I was still young then. It took me quite a lot of effort to first climb the chair and then on to the table where they put his cage. Did he appreciate the effort I went into? Not at all! Instead, he squawked and screamed and basically pretended as though I was about to gobble him up outright. As if! He was nearly half my size back then and had such sharp beak and feet. I had never expected a grown up bird to act so dramatic. Anyways, I learnt that he was one of those creatures best avoided. But would you believe it, as soon as he learnt that I was not interested the stupid bird started stalking me. First he squawked random words at me from his cage to bug me. He did this every time I passed his cage. And he would come to the side of his cage and bob his head up and down. I still don’t get why everyone thought that was cute.
Few days passed and we actually started letting him out of the cage. I thought he would fly away, but the strange bird did not even know how to fly. He would just walk around and sometimes climb onto the furniture by holding on with his legs and beak accompanied by a flurry of flapping wings. As if that was not irritating enough, he then did the bobbing thing. Always the bobbing, as though he had achieved something great in life. It was just too irritating to be borne. I learnt to give him a wide berth. But would he let me be?! Oh no! The more I avoided him, the more he followed me around. I started spending more time outside whenever they let him outside the cage, but still he would not give up.
One Sunday, Asha and I were playing inside the house as it was raining outside. She was teaching me how to dance. And every time I managed to stay upright on my hind legs as she danced us around the roo, she called me a good boy and gave me a treat from the box on top of the shelf. Then she patted me on my head. Luckily Mithu was locked up in his cage and not bothering me. He appeared to be sleeping, so we did not pay him any attention. But the naughty bird was only pretending to be sleeping, as we soon found out.
Next morning as I lay down for a quick nap after my meal, I heard him clicking close to me. I was so full and feeling too lazy to move, so decided to let him do his worst. I did not even open an eye. At first he just kept walking around me in circles. He seemed to gather courage after a few rounds and moved closer to peck at my tail. I flipped by tail, curled it under me and went back to sleep. He continued with the circling. I must have dozed off, but woke up to feel him snuggling up to the back of my head. I popped open my eyes and he froze. I pondered for a moment whether to shake him off, but was feeling too lazy to move. So, I just closed my eyes again. And you won’t believe what the infuriating bird did. He bobbed over my head as though patting it and squawked in his grating parrot voice “Good Boy!”
Again, I still don’t understand why everybody thought it was cute and made such a fuss. But they did give us both treats. As it turned out Mithu was quite the picky eater, so he let me have most of his share too. I had no problems with that! So it happened that the irritating bird stuck on to my collar like a burr sticks to my tail. Nowadays, when he visits, they don’t even bother with the cage, I am his default perch all day long.
Are you wondering why I put up with his irritating ways? Well, it’s not like he weighs a ton! When we actually started talking, he told me how he wishes to fly, but his wings don’t work. So, if he sits on my back when I run really fast, he holds on tightly to my collar and spreads his wings and that is the nearest he can come to knowing how it feels to fly. I have other bird friends and they can all fly. They say it is the best feeling ever, so I do feel sorry for him. I would hate it if I could not run! Every time I think of it, I have an urge to run my heart out. Every time I run, I let him hang on and imagine that he is flying. Other times, he tells me stories in funny voices. Sometimes, right out of the blue, he pats me on the top of my head and says “Good Boy!” Yes, he continues his irritating habits, but he is also a good friend.