I am and have been for as far back as i can remember absolutely petrified of dogs. And i am not in the least embarrassed to say that i also belong to that section of humanity that crosses the road on seeing a dog coming my way from a far-off distance. Oh yes, big coward. Thats what i am and have always been. You would have gathered, then, that bringing a dog into the house was not only a far-fetched idea where i was concerned, it was also an absolute no-no. For years, my children have been pleading to get a dog, and it was always me who said in my prim mummy voice “No, it’s not happening’. Quite often, i would voice the tired, limp threat of ‘its either me in this house or the dog’. Of course, this threat did not have quite the effect i would have hoped it to.
And then one day, we found out through a friend that his neighbour’s dog had a litter of eight and was handing them out to whoever wanted them. Out of the entire lot, there were only three left. The moment hubby and kids heard this, excitement bubbled to the surface and there were loud pleas of ‘Oh please please lets get one home’. I stood there with pursed lips ready with my usual arguments. But for some reason i will never be able to fathom, what i said was quite contrary to what i felt. I heard myself say to my own astonishment ‘Lets go and have a look’.
As hubby rang the doorbell, i stood at a ‘safe’ distance, my heart pounding in a manner only those who are truly afraid of dogs will empathise with. Out came a bald middle aged man, bare chested and wearing a pair of faded, threadbare denim shorts, his upper arm sporting a tattoo. Before we could say ‘Hello’, out bounded from behind him three of the tiniest puppies imaginable. Two girls and one boy. I stood transfixed, rooted to the spot, unable to move. Terror invaded my entire being as i watched in horror these three bundles of energy hurtle towards us. I put out my hand to hold on to someone for moral support. But there was no one next to me. The kids were cuddling the three puppies while I, their grown-up mother cowered in a corner, practically trembling, teeth chattering. My eyes instinctively were drawn towards the plumpest of the three pups…he had the cutest face and little white paws on an otherwise light brown body….the paws looked amazingly as though he was wearing socks. He came running up to me, and i stared up at the sky, praying fervently to all the external forces to keep me safe from this little terror. He cocked his head to one side and looked up at me. I was watching him from the corner of my eye. ‘Oh, please please go and play with someone else’ i mumbled, frozen to the spot. He seemed to sense that i wasn’t too keen and tumbled away into the arms of my more receptive children, who oohed and aahed in admiration over his little white paws.
At the end of about twenty minutes, i sighed….This was going to be one big and tough decision. But i knew that my heart had made the decision without too much soul-searching. ‘If we MUST have a dog, it can only be that one’ , I said in a barely audible voice, pointing at the little button-face with the white socks.
Within twenty-four hours, this little bundle stood in our backyard, encircled by a captive audience. He stood there trembling….the poor thing was naturally frightened, having now moved into a new environment. I watched him, again from a safe distance. ‘C’mon Mum, come and pat him’ the kids yelled. I cleared my throat, coughed in nervous tension and moved hesitantly towards him. He bent his head gently and i patted him for the first time ever. That very evening itself there was a vote for the most ‘liked’ name for the new entrant. After much arguing, when no one could come to an agreement of sorts, someone finally asked ‘How does Cody sound’ and there was a cheer of ‘Yes, Cody, that sounds good’. And that’s how Cody happened.
He and I are slowly getting to know each other.( after all, once hubby and kids are off to work and school respectively, its just him and me at home). I am still wary and still just a tad frightened….after all, a lifelong fear of dogs cannot be dispelled overnight. He seems to sense my uncertainty and doesn’t act quite as mad with me as he does with the kids. All day long, he follows me like an old man. He knows he shouldn’t jump , he knows he should’t be naughty, he knows he should wait patiently till the kids or hubby come home later in the day to act like his normal mischievous self.
Now that our backyard has been fenced and cordoned off, he is free to roam without constant supervision. Just the other day, i moved the glass sliding doors that open into our backyard and looked out, searching for him. Normally he would be in his little kennel or playing at the base of the banana tree or somewhere in the grass playing peek-a-boo with a frisky butterfly. But this time, he was nowhere in sight. My heart seemed to stop beating for a few seconds as i wondered frantically where he could be. ‘Cody’ I called out, softly at first and then in rising panic. ‘CODY’. Silence. I thought i was going to collapse with fear. Where could he have gone??? ‘Cody!’ I yelled at the top of my voice, putting all the terror i was feeling into that one little word that seemed to resonate in the air. And then suddenly, he peeped out at me from behind some of the hedges in our backyard, with a look that seemed to say ‘Why are you yelling? Whats all this fuss about?’.
I walked up to him and although i am still a bit afraid, i sat down and stroked his little head. ‘You frightened me’ i said to him, as he nibbled nonchalantly on a leaf. He didn’t seem to have sensed how terrified i had been at not seeing him anywhere. And it was the moment i realised that although i had fought loudly against him being brought into the family, I had grown to love him in just a few days. And that, my dear friends, is the story of Cody and me.