Elizabeth Taylor Singh, Is It love, Is It Love That I'm Feeling?
Our eyes met from across the room and that moment an instant connection was made. Yes, you could call it love at first sight.
She jumped off my daughter’s arms and wobbled across to me, waiting for me to pick her up. For the next three hours she slept peacefully, while I sat on the floor—not daring to move, lest I wake her up. And, it is from that moment that Elizabeth Taylor Singh—Lizzy—our Cavalier King Charles, all of 8 weeks, took over my life.
Over the next six months, I learnt how to be a new mum again—this time to a non-verbal, four-legged child—cleaning poos and pees, cooking special meals, deciphering her every need and want, checking her breathing every hour, while she took over the household—and our hearts. She left her mark on every bit of furniture—chewing the edges of beds, tables, chairs and leather couches. Socks went missing and were found days later among the flower beds; expensive shoes were chewed on with meticulous precision—never to be worn again.
Like most eager parents, I wanted my child to shine and took her to every conceivable socializing class. Every weekend, as the clock struck 9 am, I was at the dog park where instructors taught other dogs how to walk on leads, listen to commands, jump through hoops and hurdles, and socialize with their furry friends. Week after week, I watched in dismay as Lizzy came last in every single exercise. Every week, the instructors consoled me that she would improve, but to no avail. While other dogs learnt new tricks, Lizzy chased birds and rolled in the mud. After six months I gave up, convinced Lizzy was destined for better things in life, and 10 years later I’m still waiting.
Lizzy with the author. Photo: Saleha Singh
But not all was lost. Lizzy is multi-lingual—she understands English, Bengali and Hindi with equal ease. Her head cocks and ears perk up at the mere mention of the words ‘walk’, ‘drive’ and ‘food’. ‘Hishi koro baccha’ (Please pee, my baby) means squatting in the backyard nightly at 10.30 sharp.
For me Lizzy’s the perfect child—no arguing, no fussing, no tantrums and most importantly no answering back—so unlike my other two-legged girls. She understands my every mood and will snuggle up to me when I’m unwell or sad. And, come 6 pm every evening, she’s at the window waiting for me to cruise into the driveway. I promise, I did not teach her to do it!
So, does this perfect child have any flaws? But of course, Lizzy doesn’t believe in hugs or kisses and she’ll sell her soul for food. She’ll whine and pout if she can’t go for a walk or for a drive and smack other dogs if her mum pays them any attention. She needs her bed at 10.35 pm sharp—and you can set your clock to it—which isn’t a problem, except that it’s my pillow that she’s claimed as her own. Other than that Lizzy’s just perfect.