Cats or Dogs?
There’s no competition. For me, dogs are way more understanding, cuddly and lovable than cats.
This bias may stem from a weird childhood encounter with a graphic novel, or as we called it then, comic book. In the story, the spirit of a murdered mob-boss enters his pet black cat, which then exacts revenge on all his murderers in graphically gross ways. I read the book all the way through, and then dreamed about that scary cat for two nights in a row. Since then, every black cat inspires terror in me, and even white, fluffy cats look devious in my eyes. Kittens I love, but then, who doesn’t?
I’m not sure why this one fictional cat made such an impression on me, when I’ve had scary encounters with real-life dogs. A neighbour’s dog bit me when I was three, and my own (late) German Spitz was so irritable and snappy that she bit me at least twice a month–I still have a couple of scars to show for them. Maybe I don’t fear dogs because I don’t have any memory of the former and no grudge against the latter. Also, my Labrador Sherlock is adorable, intelligent, and very, very non-scary.
So yes, dogs any day.
PS: This post answers one of my own questions that I put up for my Liebster Award nominees a few days back.
“You never finish brushing your dog, you just get tired.”
–Source Unknown (actually, unremembered, sorry!)
Yes, he did. Last year. I know how unbelievable that sounds, but apparently dogs do it all the time. Or at least that’s the conclusion I came to, after I checked the internet for things-to-do-when-your-dog-eats-a-frog, (without any hopes of success, because seriously, which dog would be foolish enough to eat a frog?) and found out that dogs are less intelligent than I give them credit for. Hunting frogs–like chasing squirrels or begging for treats–seems to be a universal trait in dogs irrespective of their country or breed.
But back to my story. Sherlock tries to catch frogs (or toads. Also squirrels and lizards and rats and cockroaches and ants and cats. That’s all the wildlife we’ve been exposed to so far) every night when we go out for a walk. Usually I keep him on a leash, so manage to keep him under control. That night though, I didn’t see the frog in time and by the time I could stop him, Sherlock had either let go or swallowed it whole. I thought I saw one leap away, but couldn’t be sure whether it was the same one or another since it was too dark. In the meantime, Sherlock had started licking his mouth; that was what made me thing he might have swallowed it.
I first called the animal helpline, but the guy on the other end told me only that we’d have to get my dog X-ray-ed to check whether the frog is inside or not, and even that would be done only in the morning. That was hardly helpful, so I turned to the internet. There were so many horror stories! The dogs who ate frogs (or rather, toads) had started foaming at the mouth, some vomited frog/toad-parts, and there were some stories where the dogs had died! However, the people who had written in were mostly based in USA, where a few species of poisonous toads are found. Also, the dogs who had died were small breeds. I might have been extremely insensitive but I felt relieved that I’m based in India–no poisonous varieties in my city–and that my dog is a large-sized breed.
So anyway, here’s what to do if you’re in India and your dog catches a toad/frog in his mouth (I’m inclined to think Sherlock didn’t swallow the frog after all, since he didn’t vomit it out). If your dog let the toad go, most probably he just got a small amount of mild toxin in his mouth. So he’ll be salivating excessively.
- Wash out his mouth sideways with water. That will flush any toxins from his mouth. Similarly, if you see signs of irritations around his eye, flush that out with a lot of water. If possible, and if immediately available, use normal saline instead of tap water for the eyes.
- I immediately gave my dog 3 pills of a homeopathic remedy, Apis Mellifica 30. It is actually used for insect stings, but since the basic principle is the same (that of countering animal toxins, and preventing any swelling or pain), I tried it anyway. I wanted to do everything I could to prevent a harmful reaction to the toxins.
- Wait for an hour or so. If the dog swallowed the frog, that is probably how long it’ll take for him to vomit it out.
I am unable to give any first-hand advice for dogs who did in fact, swallow a frog or toad, except that if you’re in India, and unable to consult a vet, it was probably a mostly harmless frog/toad. If your dog is frothing at the mouth or vomits, just let him. He’ll get better in a few hours.
This week’s Creative Writing Challenge is to talk about a character in my life; to make this person real for the readers. The post said nothing about pets, but Sherlock is the first person whom I based a fictional character on!
Sherlock is a two-and-almost-half year old yellow Labrador Retriever (yeah, yeah. I know that Sherlock is an awesome name for a Lab!) who first came to us in a cardboard box two years ago. Much training–he has trained me very well to feed him regularly and play with him when he tells me to–and almost 32 Kilos later he has turned out to be a little-too-friendly (according to visitors) and slightly overweight (according to his Vet) but adorable dog. For about 6 hours after getting a bath, Sherlock’s coat is of various shades of cream; he has almost white paws and a camel colored tail, of which body part he is unusually protective, by the way. His weird dark brown-pink nose and his half-cocked right ear set him apart from other Labs.
When Sherlock greets me after being separated from me (whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 hours or 5 days, his enthusiasm is always the same) and wants to be petted, he has this habit of rubbing against my legs. And he has another feline trait: he licks his paws after eating, much like cats clean themselves! I’m not sure if that’s common in most dogs or whether it’s because Sherlock was friends with a kitten when he was 6 months old.
Mealtimes are his favorite times of the day, of course. Except when it’s time for a walk. Or to play catch (his version of catch is where he runs with a ball/toy in his mouth, and I try to ‘catch’ him). When he was 5-6 months old, he thought his name was ‘food’; that’s the word he responded to, instead of ‘Sherlock’. As he grew older, this changed to ‘good boy’ and then to ‘biscuit’. Now he responds to ‘Sherlock’… if he feels like it!
Last year my mother added a small lily pond to her beautiful garden. But we live in a tropical climate and Sherlock loves the water. And lily pond + hot summers + Sherlock = Disaster! No sooner had Sherlock seen the pond that he’d jumped in the muddy water full of pretty flowers. Mom lost both her temper and her precious lilies that day, and Sherlock lost his romp-in-the-yard-without-leash privileges for a couple of weeks.
Sherlock is my best friend, my little brother (you’d think he’s higher in the family hierarchy than me, the way he orders me around!) and absolutely the most favorite person of mine. But I wish I could understand even half the things that he tells me. After all, he understands everything I tell him.
Sometimes I wonder whether we really are the ‘most intelligent life form on Earth’.