Doggy Prattle | Humans are going to the dogs, but dogs are going places

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In this series, a pair of pet dogs cast their eyes about the world, taking turns to whine and woof about what they see, while wagging both tails and tongues before their favourite human companion, the author.

How does a dog travel? Why, with a pawsport, of course.

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“Where have you two been?” shrieked Reem, opening the front door for us.

 

We trooped in with our backpacks and suitcases, allowing ourselves to be petted and kissed and hugged and squeezed.

“We thought you went missing! Sid and I have been looking all over for you. Just because we restricted your NetFlix time doesn’t mean you disappear for two weeks in protest!”

I sprawled out luxuriously on the coach, enjoying the space after the cramped flight.

“We left you a note,” I interrupted her mid rant. “Molls and I were on a two week holiday.”

Reem looked around in surprise. “What note?”

Molly trotted over to the fridge where a magnet of a buxom blonde beauty in a bikini patterned with the Swiss flag was tacked to a scrap of paper. She handed it over to Reem.

“Mia, this is a grubby paw print, which,” she paused to sniff at the paper suspiciously, “smells like chocolate cake. So, it was the two of you that stole the cake and took off.”

“Well, of course it’s a paw print, we can’t write.” I snorted, rolling my eyes at Molly who giggled in agreement. “Ha! Dogs writing. That’s absurd, Mum!”

“We told you we were going on our regular annual break, Mum. Hiking Mount Everest this time. We’ve been training for months.” I reminded her. She still looked puzzled. “All that running up and down the stairs and chasing the downstairs cat?” she asked.

“Exactly!” I nodded. “We used the natural terrain and prey available to us in this urban setting to train for the most challenging climb in the world. But a fat lot of good it did us. We got to the base camp and there were just hordes of people there, like one giant mela! Here we were, looking to connect with Nature and revel in the majesty of the mountains. All we got was a human traffic jam, including a group of techies from Noida who insisted on stopping everywhere for selfies. Horrific!”

Molly jumped up on the sofa beside me, balancing two glasses of sparking water with a twist of lime, and handed one over to me. She continued narrating our ordeal, “Oh it was dreadful, Mum. We thought we would see pristine slopes of white against a brilliant blue sky. But it was disgusting. There were people everywhere, we couldn’t get a toe in without someone stepping on it. And the mounds of poop and plastic!” I blew bubbles into my drink while Molly prattled on, thinking back to the chaos we had witnessed and people grumbling when they saw us, thinking they were so witty with their ‘who let the dogs out?’ jokes and shoving us to the back of the line. Humans can be real creeps and we met so many of them when travelling. Now there were traffic jams, drunken brawls, rising prices and driving the locals crazy, leaving behind a trail of waste and destruction. I thought back to so many holidays with Molly — from Maya Beach, where we splashed about on the white sandy beaches and snorkelled with the fish, to wolfing down softies in Shimla along the busy Mall Strip, drinking all night with a bunch of cheerful Aussies in Bali, and singing with our gondolier in Venice as he rowed us across the canals. Now all these places were suffering the effects of “overtourism”.

Molly had finished her breathless recount of all that had transpired at Mount E., ending with our sad return when we got stuck in the endless queue and had to turn back, secretly glad to be rid of the crowds and the whining techies who were disappointed that they may not get a selfie at the top.

Reem scratched our heads comfortingly, “It’s alright, my darlings. ‘Tis the times we live in. Tourism is a good thing and all, but you guys just have to plan better next time. There are ways to be more responsible travellers. Do a little research, choose less stressed destinations, go at off-peak times and both of you have to stop trying to keep up with the Joneses! I know you have been chatting with that idiotic Labrador from across the street who is always boasting of where he has been and following that vain poodle Instagram influencer who is always in exotic locations, but you can’t get taken in with all the fluff.” We looked guilty as charged. That Kiki was just so glamorous and we did spend hours following her on social media. Molly had even gone in once for an unfortunate perm à la Kiki, which Reem had to iron out with a straightening iron after Molly burst into tears on looking at herself in the mirror.

“You’re right Mum. We’ll put some effort into really researching our next holiday destination. Maybe we should do a bit of armchair travelling for a while. In fact, I think our local photo studio in the market is on to something. He’s got the whole responsible tourism thing down perfectly. You go in and he will photograph you against any destination backdrop you want. Perfect, for us Insta-obsessed lot. Molly and I were thinking of doing a whole scene with the Moulin Rouge backdrop. What do you think? Come, Molls, let’s go practice the can-can.”

We leapt off the sofa, almost knocking down Sid who was walking out of the bedroom.

“I see the dogs are back.” we heard him say to Reem.

“Oh yes, they were hiking in the Himalayas.”

Sounds of the newspaper being flipped through filtered into the bedroom.

“So, don’t you ever wonder how they book all this travel?” asked Sid.

“Oh, with your credit card of course, darling. They can’t read and write, but swiping they can manage” replied Reem. “It’s called financial literacy.”

We woofed in support. That girl was really always on our side.

(In this series, a pair of pet dogs cast their eyes about the world, taking turns to whine and woof about what they see, while wagging both tails and tongues before their favourite human companion, the author.)

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