Our INDog-mix Radha, from Chennai, India, came to live with us in San Francisco four years ago. When I met her, it was love at first sight. That sweet face with big doe eyes melted my heart. She walked slowly due to her funny feet - which suited my pace just fine.
At home, she was initially timid - stayed on her cozy bed round the clock - unless it was time for walks or food. She rarely drank water. Outside, she was reactive with other dogs, especially those off leash. She bristled at cars passing by, motorcycles, trucks, even pedestrians. We stopped walking her in the neighbourhood, and instead drove her to the park, or the lake - where there are fewer distractions. At our cabin in the mountains, she enjoyed the quiet of the tall trees.
Photos below: Radha in the mountains
In the last four years, Radha has opened like a rose. She is now interactive with us at home. In the morning she howls 'good morning,' enjoys pets and back-scratches. She drinks water day/night.
She comes to the kitchen when I prepare her food. When I set her food down she does a 'two-step twirl' - leads with two front feet, twists her torso, jumps behind herself, then jumps clockwise back to the front. At walk-time, she howls, (we sing), she howls more. And at the end of the day, when I come home from work, she jumps off her bed, greets me in song. She sleeps on our bed, sandwiched between us.
We now walk her in the neighbourhood on leash. Car, truck, motorbike noises don't affect her. She obeys the 'heel' command when crossing streets, sniffs and marks poles, lawns, sand, bark, dirt. She is more tolerant of stranger-dogs. In parks, beaches, and the mountainside, she walks off-leash and stays near me.
Radha doesn't like it when we go on holiday and leave her with a petsitter. Her 'roaming' roots resulted in three 'escapes'. Perhaps she goes looking for us? Each time, she was unharmed, rescued, and brought home. A miracle in a busy metropolis.
Radha, our lesson in Karma.
|Walking in San Francisco at night|
Story and photos: Connie Hills
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