The portly couple along with their Daschund walked in right on time for the consult. After the initial pleasantries, I started off by asking what the problem was. “Duchess needs a husband,” the woman stated matter-of-factly, looking down at me over her gold-rimmed spectacles. Seeing my astonished expression, the man explained, “Freny thinks our dainty Duchess is a bit too randy,” he laughed. “So, Freny wants to find her a suitable groom!”
“Not just any dog will do,” interjected Freny. “He will have to be a proper Parsi dog, because after all, Duchess is landed gentry from aapri Rani nu England.”
Amused, I suggested that a simple cure for randy behaviour is neutering.
Horrified, Freny shrieked, “But then how will her pure genes pass on? That is out of the question!” By now her double chin had become a triple chin as she glared down at me for the blasphemy.
“I will just have to advertise in the Parsi Times,” she said, in a tone that implied I was useless as she strutted out with Duchess trotting behind.
When working with animals as interesting as dogs, you rarely have a boring moment – more so if they are Parsi dogs. For some reason, after living with Parsis, dogs seem to imbibe the wicked sense of humour that only a Parsi can have!
Sambo was the perfect example of this. Our large, black Doberman was loving, obedient and the perfect companion. But Sambo had a little secret- his flatulence! He had a nasty way of sneaking it out on people he disliked – his favourite victim being my brother’s guitar teacher – Mr. Vaz. Sambo would sit near the unsuspecting man and, as the first notes of “Leaving on a Jet Plane” started twanging, he would let loose a silent volley of quick ones. That the dog’s diet consisted of meat and cabbage didn’t help one bit. When we saw Mr. Vaz’s flared nostril’s twitching, we knew Sambo had hit home once again. The rest of the guitar lesson was spent with the gasping man waving the music book in the air and my mother apologising profusely.
So what is a Parsi dog, you may ask. Well, generally, a Parsi dog stands out from other canines for a variety of reasons. To begin with, the name; boring names like, Max, Tyson and Kalu just don’t fit the bill. A Parsi dog will proudly be called, Mutton chop, Biryani, Sall-boti or Whiskey, Tequila or Brandy!
But whilst I pride myself on my communication skills and knowledge of Parsi dogs, I sometimes get it wrong. As in the recent case when Silloo and family came to meet me…
Silloo stomped in for the consultation in her blue Scholls. Behind her came a sullen man shuffling in his sapats, dragging an obese Labrador.
“Oh look Rusi, what a lovely place,” she announced in a tinny voice. Rusi ignored her and sat down on the sofa. A bit embarrassed by this friction, I politely asked if they would like a glass of water before we began.
“Rusi, do you want water?” Silloo asked. Rusi looked at his feet. Thinking what an odd family this was, I started off the consultation. Periodically, Silloo would ask Rusi a question (“Rusi, shall we go meet Kaka Eedoo after this?”) which he would simply ignore. The only time he spoke was when he said that the dog didn’t listen to his commands. I wasn’t surprised, considering that dogs prefer to be around happy people. So when they left, I put my arm around Rusi and said, “Rusi, if you portray a positive energy, I am sure the dog will listen to you.” At this point he turned, glared at me and said, “Rusi is the dog! My name is Pesi.” And he shuffled out of the house.
It was a week after I met with Freny that I got a frantic call from her. It appears that flirty Duchess had captured the heart of the local pariah and was publicly engaged in an unmentionable act!
“Do something!” she screamed at me. I found this an ideal opportunity to give my lecture on hormones and the benefits of neutering.
“Stuff her bloody hormones,” she interrupted me rudely. “If we don’t stop them, we will have parjat puppies!”
But no amount of Ashem Vahus were going to stop Duchess and two months later, she did go on to have really cute parjat puppies. Freny’s nerves that evening were finally calmed down by her husband’s astute thinking – a shot of Cognac; because after all, every Parsi knows that a one-stop cure for any ailment is a glass of Remy Martin – and make it a Parsi peg! Cheers!
*All names and breeds have been changed to protect owner privacy.