Goldy wins them all.

Foxy has to be the most annoying dog that’s ever lived. Foxy is a stray who wandered into my in-law’s home one day and has never left thereafter. My pet-deprived kids are of course ecstatic.

Like almost every other family, we do own a gold fish though: one ferocious individual who prowls his fish bowl all day long and attacks – and annihilates – any poor fool who dares enter.

Goldy Gum (that’s his official name) was Ishaan’s birthday present from Regina (our home-grown Mammy) when he turned six. Goldy came with a mate who looked just like him – but who slowly…before our very eyes… shrank into a feeble nothingness and soon after departed for a more equitable world.

‘Mama, Goldy needs a friend!’ the kids wailed every once in a while, and so one day, ‘Amma’ as Reggy is called at home, went out and bought two jet-black shiny little fellows and plopped them in, to many cheers and much excitement.

In a matter of a few moments though, Goldy began chasing one of them – at full throttle –  around the fish bowl, whilst the other chap tried to keep a low profile and discreetly sink to the bottom. Suffice to say the traumatised guests were speedily evacuated and sent back to the aquarium and Goldy went back to his solitary life.

Time is a great healer, and on Ishaan’s 8th birthday, this time, Amma bought him a pair of goldfish (all the better to be friends with, my dear) and two fresh and shiny individuals were introduced with great trepidation into the murky waters of Mr Gum.

Nothing happened. Goldie ignored them and continued to do his own number. We were not to be fooled that easily though. We watched longer this time, and again, nothing happened. Success at last. Yay!

‘What shall we name them?’ the children launched into an argument about who owns who and who should decide who’s name. I kept out of it and went back to my laptop. Life went on.

Until, about an hour later, I reached for the peanuts and caught Goldy redhanded (he resides next to the snack box).

He was bumping one of the goldfish – there is no other word for it…he just kept bumping him around the bowl…and the poor fellow (who was bigger than Goldy)…just kept getting bumped.

‘Stop!’ I yelled. ‘Bad Goldy!’

Goldy of course, ignored me. The goldfish now began to slowly flop over on to his back – and amidst much excited screaming and yelling – we moved the traumatised newbies to a big stainless steel cooking vessel. Slowly, very slowly, Victim No. 1 opened his eyes and managed to upright himself. He even swum a few baby steps around his new home, and we all breathed a sigh of relief and went back to the fish bowl to scold (and secretly marvel) at our very own in-house thug.

Now Goldy reigns supreme. Amma has finally admitted defeat – especially as the goldfish didn’t make it through the night and were found floating belly-up the next morning in the very dish in which she cooks our rice.

As for Foxy, it was soon discovered that ‘he’ was a ‘she’ – much to Ishaan’s disgust and Laila’s delight – and has been rechristened Sparkles (she is only the ugliest dog alive), though she has shown a willingness to answer to any name that falls out of your mouth – including ‘Idiot’ ‘Pain-in-the-…’ and so on – and will jump up at you every two seconds regardless of whether or not you want to pet her or give her a swift kick.

Anyway, looks like we’re stuck with Ms Foxy, especially after she had a small accident (on one of her neighbourhood jaunts) and returned home with half the skin on one of her hind leg’s hanging off – which led to many hospital visits and much bedside care, ensuring that she is now very much part and parcel of the family.

‘Does Foxy drink milk?’ Laila asks me on the way to school today.

‘No, she eats food. She doesn’t really need milk any longer.’

‘But Mama, Doggies also need a milk break,’ Laila replies. ‘They like it.’

And on that note I dropped her off to school.

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