Offbeat Vasudevan's fishing companion is not your regular guy — it's his dog Bheema

B heema has extended the definition of working dogs. He travels in a catamaran along with his master, B. Vasudevan, when he fishes in the deep sea. Vasudevan has trained Bheema to assist him in his daily work.

Man's best friend

A cross between a Doberman pinscher and an Indian dog, seven-year-old Bheema enjoys the process of fishing, and Vasudevan has never had to coerce him into joining him during his outings, when, among other things, he provides cheerful companionship during the long, lonely hours at sea.

“Whenever the paddle is kept out, Bheema knows it is fishing day, and barks with delight at the crack of dawn,” says Vasudevan. The dog carries the paddle in his jaws, and the ropes around his neck. “When he nears the catamaran, his enthusiasm gets the better of him and he tries to pull it into the sea with all his might,” says his master.

“We set out at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m., and stay at sea for at least four hours. Bheema has never displayed an impatience to get back to shore. He keeps a watchful eye on the area where the net has been cast, and is overjoyed when the net is pulled in. He used to provide unsolicited help in drawing in the net; after repeatedly restraining him, he's learnt not to,” says Vasudevan.

Apparently, the dog understands the dynamics of the catamaran and avoids movements that can upset its stability. “He also understands the limitations of being at sea and is less demanding about food. While at home, he does not touch gruel; but at sea, he takes it without a whimper.”

Vasudevan fishes at two locations — Mamallapuram and Pallavakam — and, when he shifts from one to another, he takes Bheema with him on a bike. “He enjoys these bike rides as much as the ones on the catamaran.”