Doggy Prattle | No time to be a social bug

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In this one, Mia and Molly catch the drift about social distancing, quarantine themselves and mark their territory about the home.

Who wouldn’t want to be stuck at home with their pets for company during quarantine?

“Why are those two dogs standing at our doorway?” asked Reem. Sid shrugged his shoulders, as the two pooches brushed past his legs, walking away from their apartment. Letting themselves in, they found me sitting on the sofa, my front paws soaking in a tub. “Oh you’re home, hello! Be a dear and pass me that bottle of essence please — no not bergamot, yes ‘Lily of the valley’ is good.” Reem dutifully passed me the bottle. “Manicure time?” she asked. “Oh no no. This is a strong disinfecting soak. Some Dettol, half a bottle of sanitiser, soap, and a splash of Old Monk rum for good measure. The lily essence is just for the smell.”

I let Reem take a sniff. “Wow, thats stiff stuff. May make me pass out, if not the germs”. I raised an eyebrow at her. “Of course, it’s great.” she said “I’m glad to see you girlies wash your paws.” I nodded in response. “Especially since Molly and I have been traveling. We had a rollicking time trekking in Nepal but have to be cautious, don’t want to pass on any germs we may have carried while we were traveling around.”

Sid looked up, “Didn’t even notice that you were away. Is that where all that duty free liquor came in from?” I scowled at him: “Did you think your fairy godmother brought it? Of course it was us.” Sid chose to ignore me. “And why were those two dogs looking so woebegone at our door? Aren’t those your friends from the next block?” Before I could answer, Molly walked in with a towel in her mouth and dropped it near me. “My turn!” she yipped. “I told you to get your own tub Molly! Disgusting, how will you sanitise yourself if you soak in my germs? Really!” Molly walked away in a huff, muttering something about saving water.

“So yes, about our friends who were at the door,” I continued. “They were inviting us over to play and I declined.” Reem looked shocked. “You declined an invitation? You? Molly and you are the biggest social bugs there are. I had to go out and buy you another organiser because you filled the other one up with all your social engagements.” I dabbed my paw with the towel. “True. Like our canine brethren, we are extremely social. But I think the time has come to be anti-social. In fact, I’ve taken the liberty of cancelling all your social engagements and told your sister not to come over.” Reem looked aghast. “You can’t tell my sister that! She can get quite violent.” I shook my head. “Not at all. She was quite understanding — in fact, lauded me on being so responsible. I don’t want to infect anyone in case I caught something on my travels. And your sister being the social butterfly she is, is being responsible too and doesn’t want to expose us to anything she may have picked up.”

Sid looked impressed. “I should use you more often. Can you speak to her mother next?” Reem gave him a withering look, which shut him up instantly. She looked at me, her eyes narrowing in thought. “Well, I guess it’s ok if she was ok with it. But what would you have done if she got offended? I mean, she threw a shoe at me once when I told her that her hair needed to be brushed. Turned out, it already was!”

Molly walked in with a tub, water sloshing noisily over the edges and wetting the floor. “Oh Mum, I think the time for getting offended is over. Be compassionate, be respectful, no need to be rude. People will understand and all of us should be responsible. Right now, the docs are struggling to contain the virus. How will we help if we add more to the numbers? Stop going to visit people, because not everyone is as blunt as Mia and me, and they may be unable to refuse you. And stop inviting people over for the time being. Right now is not the time for ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’. Let’s just postpone drinks for now and use the wonders of technology to keep in touch for the time being. We aren’t doing it to be mean. Yes, it will be hard, but it’s ok. Give the medical system time to deal with this.”

“I, for one, am taking up some painting and origami.” I said, pointing to an easel at the corner of the room. “I’m doing a nude one of that strapping bull dog from next door. He’s just sent me a photo on WhatsApp. Naughty fellow!” Reem rolled her eyes and decided to leave us to our soak. Walking over to the bedroom door, she pushed the handle down, “Hey, what’s wrong with the door. It’s not opening!” I called out to her: “Oh, I’ve just disinfected that main bedroom, Molly and I will be using that one. You guys can shift to the futon in the guest bedroom. Best not to be in the same room with us.”

“Unbelievable! It’s a wonder they let us into the house.” said Sid. “We did consider that,” I replied. “But then again, you do live with us. Seemed a bit extreme. Now don’t sulk. This place hasn’t gone to the dogs yet!”

(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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