One day in the year 2008, I and my wife (Neena) went to meet her cousin brother Raj at his house. Date was around 20th may. It was my first visit to his house. I now do not recall the work that we had with him. But we do not usually go to his house, so I think it was the work of our destiny which took us there. Because there we saw a small cute boxer puppy. It was not that we were seeing a puppy for the first time in our life, but this puppy some how ignited a new desire in both of our hearts: we now wanted to have a cute puppy at our home too. On our way back home, Neena and I were talking about that puppy. We both said to each other that we too should keep a pet dog at home. At home Neena said this to our sons Abhu (Ahhishek, the younger) and Anu (Aniket, the elder). Both got very excited on hearing this.
Abhu is a kind of child who would torment you to do a thing once you told him you plan to do it. So he started urging us to go to a pet shop to buy a cute puppy. So sprinkling the logic of various pros and cons of keeping a dog at home (we were living in a rented flat at that time, our flat was small... etc etc.), perhaps we would have doused our desire of bringing a puppy to our home. But the kind of boy that Abhu is, he now had only one chant on his lips “ when are you bringing the puppy?”. We were helpless, we had ourselves let him loose on us by talking about the idea of bringing a puppy to our home. During all this two or three days passed. Ultimately, we decided to visit a pet shop.
At that time we were living in a locality called Shastri Nagar of Delhi. There are two pet shops at a place called Bharat Nagar which is an adjoining locality to Shastri Nagar. Naturally, we went there. First we went in to the pet shop which overlooks the main road. We were complete novice about dogs at that time, so we asked the person present in the shop to suggest us which breed would be best for keeping at home. He suggested Labrador, Boxer, Pomeranian... etc. We asked him to show us photos of dogs belonging to each of these breeds. And we found Labrador most handsome. Now we enquired about the price of a young black labrador male puppy. He said Rs.8000/. We tried to do some bargaining with him to bring the price down. But he was not willing to accept a lower price. So we thought of taking our chance at the other shop nearby. This second shop is in a lane that directly connects to the main road. It is situated in the very beginning of the lane after one or two buildings and adjacent to a car mechanic shop. In front of it there is a small park. And across the park is the first pet shop. The person present in the second shop too quoted the same price in the beginning. But after little persuation, he accepted to give us our desired puppy at a price of Rs.6000/. And he said, it will take a day or two for him to arrange a black labrador puppy. So we gave him my mobile number and paid him the advance amount of Rs.500/ and came back home. That day my wife searched the internet throughout the day to know as much as she could about the larador breed. She along with my two sons searched for a good name for the puppy. After long debate they decided that they will call the pet by name Avis. They also saw many videos of Labrador puppies on you-tube. So the entire day passed in excitement.
Next day, in the afternoon, I received a call from the pet shopkeeper on my mobile. He said “ I have arranged a black labrador puupy for you, it is already in my shop, you can now come and take it with you”. We immediately went to his shop. A small black puppy was timidly hidding below a bench inside the shop. My wife had seen lots of videos on you-tube on labrador puppies in the last two days. She immediately recognised that the puppy present in the shop was not labrador. We told this to the old sales man present in the shop, he said “you talk to the owner (Negi)- he will arrive in some time”. Negi arrived after some time. We told to him too that this puppy does not appears to be a labrador. Initailly he tried to convince us, though not very forcefully, that the puppy was a labrador, but my wife was sure in her observation. So he said “ Okay, give me one more day, this time I will arrange a pure larador for you”. In our heart we were very angry at him. He had attempted to sell a street-dog-puppy to us in the name of labrador. Thanks to my wife, we were saved. Otherwise, people would have ridiculed us when we would say that we have brought home a labrador whereas it was actually a street-dog's-puppy.
Next day again a phone call came on my mobile from Negi. We again went to his shop. This time there was a naughty healthy shiny black labrador puppy present in the shop. My wife instantly recognised him. I lifted him in my lap. Finally we had got our Avis.We paid the remaining amount to Negi and thanked him. We also bought a bowl from his shop to feed Avis. He advised us to buy a pack of cerelac from his shop and suggested us to feed Avis by mixing cerelac in milk. We bought cerelac too. He also convinced us to buy some protein rich dog food which was in the form a small brown coloured granules.We were a complete novice about dogs at that time. So we also bought that dog food. Finally we started towards our house where our sons were excitedly waiting for Avis. We had already informed them on phone that we have got Avis with us now. Our sons had made elaborate preparation to welcome Avis into our home. They performed a traditional ceremony (this was planned by my wife in advance, so the two boys knew what to do and in which sequence) at the door threshold of our house when Avis was first making entry in the house. The date was 25th May 2008 that day. We celebrate 25th May as Avis' birthday everyday because he had came to our house on that day.
My wife threw a small party at home that evening. Many neighbourhood ladies and children were invited in it. They were all very amused and excited to attend a party thrown to celebrate the induction of Avis into our family. But every thing was new for Avis. So he was a little less active that day and he mostly slept during the time of the party. Children were curiously watching Avis who was sleeping in his bed unconcerned with whatever was going on around him.
At that time Avis was around 40 days old. On first few days he spent most of his time in sleeping. My wife had arranged a big sized rectangular basket for him to sleep. She had specially arranged a soft bed inside the basket for Avis. He would however sleep anywhere on the floor. From there we would pick him up softly and carefully put him in his basket so as to not disturb his sleep.While sleeping he never urinated on his bed. On feeling the pressure he would get up from his sleep, jump out of the basket and the moving some distance away he would pee on the floor. He would pee any where and any time, so we had to mop-up his urine by a mop-cloth many times a day.
Avis did not bark in the initial 2 or 3 days of his arriving at our home. Perhaps a puppy gets traumatized initially when he comes in to a new house away from his parents. But we all would talk to him in loving voice. My wife and sons would motherly hug him innumerable number times all through the day. So slowly he began to become free with us. He would play hard and then on getting tired he would doze off to sleep on the floor any where in the house. Then on 3rd or 4th day he barked for the first time. We all cheered his first barking at our home by clapping.