Akshay lived in a big house, with a lovely garden quite close to local public park. On his eighth birthday, his parents gifted him a yellow Labrador pup.
By the time Bruno was a year old, he was big and had a loud bark. But he was loving, playful and mischievous. Among his favourite ploys was to hide behind a bush while Akshay’s tuition teacher made her way up the hill. Then, suddenly, he would jump out barking madly. The teacher would run down the drive screaming that the devil was after her. Bruno would walk off laughing silently to himself. The teacher refused to coach Akshay and his grades slipped.
He didn’t have much luck with the postman who quickly realised that the way to Bruno’s heart was through his stomach. After the first attack, the postman always carried a packet of biscuits. So Bruno and the postman became friends.
Too many complaints
Bruno also didn’t like some of the people who came to visit Akshay’s parents and he let them know it. One day, he chased the dhobi who got so scared that he threw his bundle and ran away, his dhoti flying. Complaints against Bruno increased. People walking past the house said that he tried to snatch their bags. At the park, he frightened tourists and made them drop their snacks that he gleefully ate. Akshay’s parents were tired of listening to the complaints.
One evening, they told Akshay that, if they got one more complaint, Bruno would have to go. Akshay was heartbroken. He took Bruno up to his room. “See what you have done! Now my parents are thinking of giving you away because you are too naughty. How do you think I can live here without you?” Bruno understood the gravity of the situation. He whined and placed a paw on Akshay’s hand.
Mid-morning, they went out to play on the lawn. Akshay forgot that it was time for the postman to arrive. But Bruno remembered. Much to his surprise, he found a younger man making his way to the front door. Bruno snarled threateningly. The postman had a big stick and he waved it at Bruno making him angrier. Quickly Akshay held his collar and prevented him from attacking.
The front door was open and the postman stepped inside. He was inside the house when Akshay’s father came. Akshay saw them talk and the postman waved towards them. His father nodded at Akshay and walked off. The postman sauntered past Akshay and Bruno, still waving the stick.
Who is in the house?
That night, when he went to bed, Akshay again warned Bruno that he better be good or else… Bruno nodded and wagged his tail to say that he had understood. Akshay went to sleep. Halfway through the night, Bruno climbed onto the bed and snuggled up with Akshay.
Suddenly, the quiet was broken by Bruno growling and snarling. He jumped off the bed and flew out of the room. By the time Akshay followed, Bruno was in the drawing room and Akshay was just in time to see him leap into the air.
There was a scream and a heavy thud. Akshay switched on the light to find Bruno had caught a thief. The new postman! By now, Akshay’s parents were also in the room. Bruno refused to let go of the man’s leg. “Bruno, you can let him go now. We’ve got him,” said Akshay’s father, as he hauled him up. Quickly, they tied him up and called the police.
Later in the day, the inspector dropped in for a chat. He told them that the robber’s modus operandi was to disguise himself as a postman and gauge the house. Then he would burgle it. He would find out which postman was on leave and take their shift carrying with him bogus mail.
“You will see he has given you pamphlets and circulars. When people see it is of no importance, they never read the address.” Sure enough, they found that none of the mail was addressed to them.
“But, getting back to my visit here today. I want to commend your dog. He’s very smart and intelligent.” Bruno knew he was being praised, and wagged his tail happily and leapt up to hug Akshay.
“Also, I want to know if we can have him in our police force.”
Akshay and his parents almost shouted, “No! He stays here.”
Bruno wagged his tail with joy.