I woke up after hearing a commotion in the garden. It was difficult to get out of the quilt at this hour on a winter night. I slowly opened the door facing our garden and was astonished to see four pups playing with their mother. I tried to shoo them away but to no avail. I had little choice so I opened the main door to let them out of the garden and then closed it firmly. I returned to the bed to be awakened once again with the familiar noise. Those darned pups! I muttered under my breath and climbed out of the bed again. I could see them crawling in through the small opening between the main door and ground to enter the garden. They were so tiny that they managed to slip in effortlessly while the mother had to literally force herself in.
This became a routine as the pups gleefully played around pulling down the clothing line, and turning the flower pots turtle in pursuit of their happiness. I found some loose bricks to block the opening below the wire mesh gate, to restrict their entry. Night after night they would enter the garden by pushing the bricks aside with their tiny paws, and create ruckus. My wife and daughter started liking this canine family, and would feed them from time to time. They in turn would go crazy and jump and lick the hands and wag their tails in delight on seeing them.
As time went by three of the pups and the father drifted away to greener pastures leaving behind the faithful mother with a lone pup.
The neighbourhood wonders at this strange bond between the stray dogs and my family. The dogs faithfully come and meet us every evening when we step out of the house for a stroll. They accompany us for some distance before returning back. It sometimes make me wonder when the stray dogs can start loving the neighbourhood, how can we humans be so insensitive to fellow humans and spread terror in the name of caste, creed and religion.