C. P. Belliappa's Column

Slum-Dog: Belli foxed by the mysteries of genetics

(By: C.P. Belliappa)

The loss of two of our Alsatians within an interval of a month was quite devastating. However, they both lived for eleven years which is more than the proverbial three-scores-year-and-ten in the world of canines. My wife, tired of attending to all the problems during their health and sickness, declared, ‘That’s it, I have probably raised more than a dozen dogs till now, and I want to call it a day. No more dogs.’ I tried to remind her – ‘We are dog people. We must have these canine pets in our lives.’ My better-half had made up her mind, and it was a firm ‘No!’

We had quite a lot of dog biscuits and Nutripet left with us. Just around that time, a stray female dog made our labour lines, her new home. Our workers took pity on her and she started getting all the left-overs. My wife decided to let this slum-dog have the stock of dog food with us. Within a month, the dog’s health showed remarkable improvement, and what’s more, she started guarding our coffee drying yard.

She soon started attracting a whole bunch of boy friends, especially a real loafer of a white Pomeranian from our neighbouring estate. The inevitable happened, and she was soon heavy with pups. One fine day I heard squeaks from one of the unoccupied rooms in the labour quarters, and there we found three tiny mongrels. One was jet black, another was a dirty brown and the third was a spotless white. The white one was the only female, and obviously a Pom.

I don’t know what happened to my wife’s resolve. As soon as she saw the three pups, she decided on adopting them. The slum-dog and her brood now got new supply of food and tonics. Our vet advised us to let the pups stay with the mother for at least six weeks. With all the attention and the nutrition, the pups grew well and soon turned very mobile. My wife decided to move them to the ‘manor house’ soon after they had their anti-rabies shots.

Naming the dogs was quite simple. The black one was Blackie, brown was Brownie, and the white pup – Snowy. However, during their six weeks in the labour quarters, one of our workers got attached to the black pup. He very much wanted to raise it as his pet. When we decided we were shifting them to our house, he was highly disappointed. The day they were moved, he came pleaded to my wife, ‘Akka, please let me keep Pinki with me.’ I was there at the time, and asked him who this Pinki he was talking about. He then pointed to the black pup!

This worker had no clue as to what Pinki stood for. He had named a black male pup Pinki! We could hardly conceal our amusement. I then made a deal with him. I agreed to retain the name he had given the black pup. I thought Pinki was really a cool name for a black male slum-dog! Later we found out that the worker had picked this name from one of the Bollywood movies he had watched recently!

The three mongrels are now about three months old and are running riot in our garden. They are growing rapidly, but the other day I found something rather strange. The white female pup, it now appears, is not a Pomeranian. Instead, it’s Pinki who is a Pom! But how come a black Pom, while the father is white?

I asked the Veterinary doctor, and he explained it was possible. ‘It is a throw back,’ he said, ‘It is one of those genetic phenomenons.’ So, we have a black Pom fathered by a white Pom, and he is named Pinki!

Well, Pinki is a bundle of contradictions!