A little after we'd moved in, we found a lean sack of bones, wandering the lanes of our layout. He moved with a cautious limp, and bore signs of extreme starvation. His gentle face was covered with ticks, and he could barely bark. Perhaps out of pity, we began leaving him little bowls of milk and food, that he lapped up greedily. He ate everything we gave him, much unlike the kids. Sometimes we gave him bread, biscuits (that Rohit had begun buying exclusively for our new friend), idlis, and leftover chappatis. After his meal, this tired dalmatian would walk across the street, pee, poop and come back to settle in front our home. This went on for a while. We fed him, and he grew stronger and friendlier. He even took on the role of watch dog; barking at anyone who even dared look at our home. He was gentle with the kids, and happiest around Rohit who would pet him and gave him generous helpings of food. Before long, we discovered that he was no ordinary street dog, as he was responding to commands. He'd sit when told, and he'd even shake a paw. When Rohit opened the door to his car, he'd even climb in and settle down beside him. This only meant that this dog had either been lost or abandoned. However, going by his condition, we gathered he'd been out on the road for a long long time.
A few days later, Spot was allowed entry into our home.
Before he came in wearing a brand new collar, Rohit took him to the vet to get him cleaned up and vaccinated. Rohit then took him to the balcony, patted his head, and fed him, thus cementing their relationship. From then on, Rohit had Spot's unwavering loyalty. While Rohit had taken him in, we often joked about how Spot had chosen him instead. They took walks together, and Spot wouldn't eat unless Rohit spoke to him and cajoled him into eating. They often stood together in silence; Spot enjoying the proximity to his new owner, and Rohit enjoying his cigarette and a book. Rohit was the strict disciplinarian, who didn't tolerate any mischief. This meant, Spot couldn't steal slices of cake off the table top, or dig his nose into the bin, (or knock down Aarit who was now walking around the house, squealing happily every time he saw Spot). And at night, Spot wouldn't settle down on his cushion, in his bedroom, till Rohit had said good night to him.
Spot has been with us for over a year now. He doesn't limp anymore, and since he first moved in, he has been neutered, vaccinated, and taken trips to the kennel (something he dislikes) during our holidays. He is bigger and stronger, though he still remains playful and excitable when allowed in. He is as vocal and open about his happiness, as he is about his sorrow. With Rohit away for most of this month, we now have to deal with his whining. Even the food, the walks, and the petting (courtesy: Ammamma) don't seem to help! For one day, he gave up food and water, till Ammamma managed to entice him with a bowl of warm rice cooked with a generous helping of meat.
Spot currently shuttles between his room and the balcony. With the kids, I'm still a little uncomfortable with this giant ball of excitement pounding down the stairs, knocking down things (and Aarit), eating what he shouldn't, and settling down on the bed ( something he doesn't dare do when Rohit is around). While Rohit would ideally like to give him to a home where he'd have lots of space to run around, and lots of hands to pet him, I think Spot is here to stay. And as I said before, he picked Rohit, and I don't think he is going anywhere so soon.