“No! Snoopy! Come back!”, I heard my aunt’s exasperated-cum-panicky voice in the darkness.
Snoopy, our Australian Silky Terrier, had managed to wriggle his way out of the very-slightly opened door and was now running as fast as his tiny paws would let him, towards me. I had opened the gate to let myself in by then, and it was left to my non-existent agility to close it on time, and Snoopy-distraction skills to make him forget he was not on a leash and that his Great Escape was only a few bounds away.
“Snoopy! Don’t you want a treat?”, Vidya, his caretaker, tried to trick him into stopping. He slowed down to a trot, ears flopping, but spared not more than a glance in her direction before quickly speeding up and covering the distance between us. Meanwhile, I had managed to step on to the driveway and close the gate.
“You took ages to close that gate.”, my aunt commented reprovingly. “What if he had run outside? And it’s so dark! We wouldn’t have been able to find him!”
I narrowed my eyes at her and was about to give a scathing comeback, when Snoopy gave a single woof to call for attention. I paused to look at him, and the moment of irritation vanished. For there he was sitting, eagerness and excitement barely contained. For me, Snoopy is irreplaceable. I have learnt so many invaluable life lessons from him. Here are a few:
1. When it comes to loving someone, you give without expecting to receive
He’s happy to see you, would wait for you at the door everyday, at least for an hour until you get back from work. So what if you are not in a mood to play with him? He can always sit on the porch and watch butterflies! He loves you, after all.
2. Do not hold grudges against someone for more than a day
He would sulk if he saw you playing with the neighbour’s dog or feeding that stray cat who always throws him contemptuous looks, but he will also come around in no time.
3. Ask and you shall receive
He loves everything that he eats to bits, it has made me wonder many a time how anyone can find so much pleasure in eating. We feed him carrots, a meat stick, and a bowl of tea every morning. If we forget one of these menu items, he would bark at you, make sure you stop what you are doing, and feed him before you get back to business.
4. Sometimes, people just need you to be there for them
He can gauge people’s moods well. He will sit next to you when you’re sad, and stare into space while you are contemplating life. And if you’re very sad, he’d curl up on your lap or nuzzle you. And just like a hug from a best friend, it instantly makes you feel better.
When he’s in his attention-seeking mode, he would grab something off the racks, and shred it. Or he would get on to the dining table and try to lick that yummy dessert off a guest’s plate. But when I say “Bye, Snoopy!” in a cheerful tone start walking to the door, he abandons his tantrums and rushes to me. And when he realises I was just bluffing, he’d lick my face. Sometimes it feels like it’s his way of saying, “You want attention? I give attention!”
Snoopy has learnt that when my alarm clock rings, I wake up. So every morning, if the alarm has stopped ringing and I still haven’t gotten out of bed, he’ll get on to the cot and lick my nose to wake me up. And on weekdays, if I haven’t gotten myself out of the house by 8.15 AM, he’ll start barking at me, as if to say, “You’re running late! You’ll miss the bus!”
7. Being a good friend
He would be your silent companion when you’re taking that lazy stroll on a cold night, and sometimes you will have to be his hyperactive playmate during walks meant for him. He even plays hide-and-seek with the caretaker: he turns his back to her and waits until she hides herself and says, “Snoopy, find me!”
He would then scamper around the house, rushing from room to room, and sometimes check people’s laps and under chairs, frantically looking for her…
“Woof!” Snoopy’s bark broke my train of thoughts. He was still waiting for me to greet him.
“Hey Snoopy!”, I said in a sing-song voice.
You can get in touch with Snoopy here.