Buster gets out of bed around 7 am – my bed – that is when I’m up here in the hills, usually every other week. Buzzy gets to sleep indoors at night – a practice started when he was a wee pup and that, fortunately for him, endured. Bruiser, who is older than him and Rocky, the youngest, sleep on their beds outside on the back-verandah just outside Sunil’s room during the night,  keeping guard. And although Bruiser and Rock come indoors around 5.30 am, Buzz ‘sleeps in’ until I am ready for the daily early morning stroll around the property. The walk takes around half an hour, depending on the distractions en route. The trio have been trained (finally) to curb their instincts towards the many jungle fowl (Gallus lafayettii) that frequent the outer edges of the land, so now they ‘point’ – ears on alert, noses twitching and eyes fixed. But the soft but stern “no” from me dissuades further action. Not so, however, if a hapless mongoose (Herpestes edwardsii) or civet (Viverricula indica) has the misfortune to to be detected by the three as then, no amount of my yelling can stop their mad rush in pursuit. The walk ends with for them with a small quantity of milk, fresh from Elsa the cow or one of her daughters – a hold-over from when the dogs were pups and a special treat only when I am around. Then it’s another session of snoozing for them. If it’s a chilly, overcast morning, they curl up on a rug of their choice, but if it’s bright and sunny, they pick spots where the sun streams indoors and stay until they are sufficiently warm before moving to other less warm areas.

After breakfast they join me as I feed the chickens and ducks with any left-over bread, another short walk and back to the study, where I usually settle in for the morning session of work at the laptop. Rock generally hangs around me, Bruiser, getting on in years, finds a spot to hangout and Buzz switches between me, the verandah and the pond – where he sometimes spend close to an hour ‘fishing’! He loves the water and the darting fish trip him out, so there he is, senses on alert, splashing around, dunking his head in the water in quest of the elusive fish. I have seen him successful only once in all the times I’ve been around, but it sure looks like he is having a lot of fun (?) and it does keep him busy. Busy Buzzy!

Towards noon the three of them gang up on me and start hassling me for a treat. This comes in the form of a doggie munchie (there’s a whole slew of them at K9 Pet Shop) or a bone from the freezer stock, part of which has been boiled and refrigerated. Lunch for the trio is around noon and then it’s back to lazing around.

At 5 pm their bio-clocks urge them to get me out again for playtime. It’s usually the time I join the boys next door play cricket and since Buzz was a pup he has been used to this diversion. And although he has been discouraged from ‘fielding’ he must also play, so someone on the batting side has to play ‘fetch’ with him, otherwise he disrupts the game. Rock and Bruise don’t mind watching. If we don’t play – for whatever reason, we go for a walk.

Dinner for them is at 6 pm and then it’s winding down until I finish dinner and get ready for bed. Buzzy gets to stay in and the others make their reluctant ways outside to the back verandah.

It’s a dog’s life!