My dog, Bolshoi the Boxer, was telling me this morning: "You go to work, the children go to school, everybody goes away leaving me alone in the house. I am nervous."
"What is there to be nervous," I said. "Your food is kept for you, you eat and you sleep."
"Are you reading the papers or not!" Bolshoi said. "You don't seem to be aware of these gangs of thieves entering houses with single old persons, killing and robbing. I am alone and I am old."
"Don't be silly, nobody would ever think of robbing a dog," I said. "In fact, the minute they realise there is a dog in the house, they will not touch the place. All you have to do is bark from behind the door and they will run away."
"I have not barked for so many years that I don't know how to bark," Bolshoi said.
"Of course, you know how to bark, every dog knows how to bark. It is like cycling and swimming with human beings, once they learn it, they can never forget."
"Well, I have forgotten," Bolshoi said. "And by the time I learn it again, I will be finished. It will serve you right if one evening you return to the house and find me lying on the floor, throat slit, and all your cupboards open and ransacked. I hope they steal your favourite watch."
"You are being melodramatic," I said. "I have yet to read a report in the newspapers of a house being robbed with a dog inside, whether he is a barking dog or not. Besides, there are the watchmen downstairs, on 24 hours duty. You are perfectly safe."
"It is these very watchmen who commit the crime, then they run away to their villages in Bihar and UP. As no doubt our watchman will with your favourite watch."
"I wish you would keep my watch out of the discussion,"
"You don't mind your dog being injured, as long as your watch is kept out of the discussion," Bolshoi said. "I did not know it would come to this after years and years of faithfully looking after your house and guarding it."
"But you just said you can't look after the house," I said.
"That is now, because of the law and order situation in the city. What can a poor old dog do when the police are so inefficient. Who knows what may happen by this evening, this may be the last time you may be seeing me."
"Then let me wish you goodbye," I said."You can only joke, but let me tell you this is no joking matter. Thieves are at this moment checking houses with single old dogs occupying them."
"Sorry for the joke," I said. "What do you want me to do?"
"Get a young dog in the house to protect me," Bolshoi said.