Hama-Guri climbed out of bed with the smell of fresh pancakes and cheese scrambled eggs drifting into the room. It was a bright winter Sunday morning. He smiled. Today would be a fun day. He had already got his bag pack ready the previous night. Now he just had to wait for Maa-Door, his best friend and neighbour, to arrive and they could set off for their squirrel spotting trip to the jungle.
“Hama-Guri are you up yet?” His mother screamed from floor below. “Breakfast’s ready and Maa-Door is also here.”
“I’m coming.” He darted into the bathroom and quickly brushed his teeth. A few mug full of water poured on his body and his bath was done. He smiled – the soaping and the shampooing could be done some other time. After ten minutes he was out of his room dressed in a pair of jeans and his favourite red t-shirt. He hated putting on the sweaters, jackets, caps, mufflers and gloves. But he knew his mother wouldn’t let him step out of the house without it. So, very reluctantly, those had gone onto form a part of his attire as well.
“Good morning Hama-Guri.”
“Good morning Maa-Door,” he said looking at his friend. He was all covered up to. All mothers were the same. He giggled to himself. Little did they know that the two of them would be yanking it all open before they began their run after the darting squirrels?
After quickly eating their food, the two friends were out of the house. Free as a bird. They ran out through the field and were about to open the rickety wooden door when they heard a faint whining sound. They looked everywhere but could see nothing. But Hama-Guri was sure he had heard the sound. Squirrels were forgotten and instead the search for the sound began. And finally it was located under his father’s tractor. A small puppy lay curled under it. It looked scared. Hama-Guri bent down and stretched his hands and slowly pulled it outside.
“it is hurt Hama,” said Maa-Door
“Ya. Let’s take him inside.”
So they two boys went back home and ran upstairs lest the parents see the dog and ask him questions. Although their farm was filled with farm animals of every type – horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, donkeys and even a wild rabbit that had made it his home – animals were not allowed inside the house. Hama’s mother did not like it much. Especially not after the hours that she spent cleaning it.
“He is hurt pretty badly.” Hama said as he gently washed the puppy’s leg with warm water. It whined but did not jump out of his hands. “I wonder who did this to him.”
“Could be one of those cycles or cars on the roads,” replied Maa-Door. “Now what will you do?” He added when he saw his friend drying the puppy’s leg with one of his towels that his mother had washed just yesterday.
“Let’s put some turmeric paste on his leg. Mumma says that heals fast.”
“But for that we have to go to the kitchen!” Maa-Door exclaimed.
“You stay here. I’m going.” Hama replied. He tiptoed out of his room. Looked to his left. Looked to his right. Then very softly walked down the wooden stairs. He hoped his mother was not in the kitchen. And thankfully she was not. He heaved a sigh of relief to see her hanging clothes outside. He quickly took a spoonful of turmeric powder from the spice bottle and then ran upstairs.
Soon the two boys were putting a paste of it on the pup’s leg. Then he tore piece out of one of his old handkerchief’s hat he located from his cupboard drawer and bandaged the animal’s foot. He knew he would have to make the journey downstairs again. The baby dog’s faint bark seemed to tell him that it was hungry. “I’m going down to get him some meat.”
“Don’t be silly Hama. He is just a tiny puppy. It won’t be able to chew meat and bones. Those are for dogs,” said Maa-Door. “Milk will be good for this kiddo.”
“Wait Hama. Have you thought what you will do after you have fed him? Why don’t you go tell your mumma ?”
“She would never agree.”
“She might. Tell her we will build it a nice small kennel outside. I am sure your dad will help us.”
“That is a wonderful idea.” Hama exclaimed. This is why he was so fond of his friend. He came up with some brilliant ideas.
So with the pup cuddled in his arms, the two boys went down. As predicted Hama’s mother shrieked at the sight of an animal inside the house. But she was a nice lady and the hurt puppy made her melt. She agreed to keep the pup provided it slept in the kennel outside.
Hama-Guri was overjoyed. This would his first real pet and he would play with it all day long.
“But you have to ask your father to help you.”
“Yes mum!” Hama-Guri cried as he danced out of the house.
Hama and Maa-Door located the former’s father milking one of the cows in the cowshed. “Dad! We need your help. We need a kennel for this one.” He said running towards his father with his two hands raised in the air; showing the puppy.
It took them an hour to gather all the tools – wood, saw, nails, hammer and paint. Then the three men began their work while the puppy sat under the shade of a tree and slurped milk from a dish. It getting close to lunch time by the time they were finished. But the two boys were very happy with their work of art. A lovely red and yellow kennel with a door and even a tiny window. And a warm woollen blanket inside – it was Hama’s childhood one.
Hama picked up the dog from under the tree and carefully put it inside the kennel. He was fast asleep by then. And the feel of the soft woolly blanket must have felt nice because it just curled itself even more and kept sleeping on. Hama smiled as he opened out the tiny window for the day’s remaining sunlight to stream in and softly shut the kennel door.
• Be nice to animals
• Don’t hide things from your parents. They are there to help you.
Things to teach:
• What do you wear in winter? Sweaters, jackets, caps, mufflers and gloves. Follow it up with the names of the other seasons.
• Names of farm animals? Horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, donkeys and rabbits
• Where do cows stay: cowshed. Follow it up where other farm animals stay
• What do cows give us? Milk. Follow up with what goats, sheep, horse etc are used for in a farm
• About dogs:
o Baby dog: puppy
o What dogs eat: bone and meat
o Where dogs stay: kennel
o Sound of a dog: bark
• Names of some tools; saw, nails, hammer
• Take the kids for a farm visit
• Watch the movie ‘Lassie’
• Learn the song ‘How much is that doggy in the window’
• Visit animal based NGOs and lend a helping hand
• Make a kennel and a puppy with different coloured paper and paint