Krishna and Kaneya settled into an easy pattern. The younger dog knew exactly how to let Krishna remain the senior yet take the lead when really needed. He watched and learned.
He loved it when the student batches came. He was a peoples' dog and knew how to do 'pranaams'* to those who had a soft spot for him in their hearts. He was very defensive of his people. Whilst Krishna saw the entire land area as defence worthy, Kaneya went that extra step and would defend on behalf of the residents also. He was a true conqueror, knowing how to wield his power in appropriate levels and hardly ever grew truly aggressive. His body language was enough.
Each mango season, though, there would be at least one confrontation, if not several. Not with invading dogs, but with the marauding monkeys! He and Krishna often had to let these large and rather fearsome creatures know who was boss around here.
The ashram was full of mango trees. Many varieties of the luscious fruit would crop each summer and naturally there was a bit of competition among the various inhabitants to obtain these golden prizes. There would be the crows and parrots and the honey bees. Squirrels, bats, lizards and humans of all shapes and sizes. Then the tribe of Langur Monkeys who roamed around the lake park area. The babies were menacing enough when in pursuit of the fruit. The seniors generally just went about their raids quietly and efficiently.
It was the teenagers who caused the most ruckus though. They had a tendency to drop down to ground level for the fallen, liquid-ripe jewels. The K-dogs were not fond of that exercise. It was too close to declaration of war.
That's when they got into full 'arge and bark' mode. Loud enough of itself, but then the monkeys would respond. Quite the cacophony. The dogs were only doing their job, but if class was going on in the hall beneath the big trees, then trouble would ensue. Out would come the workers with their jharoos** and sticks. The dogs would run of course. The monkeys on the other hand could get very challenging. Just like testosterone-filled teenage males anywhere.
One year, Kaneya just wasn't quick enough out of the way and got bitten. Needless to say the wound festered, but again the students rallied round and the vet was called. Thankfully this was not long after he had been taken for his neutering at which time he'd also been inoculated for rabies. A dose of antibiotics and a few stitches sorted him out.
"Well, young one," said Krishna during his healing time, "perhaps you will learn from this that not all challenges have to be met face on. There are going to be many other times like this, where you will feel like you have no control of the life in front of you. But Kaneya, all that needs be done is to back away. Sit and watch. The danger may hang around for a little while more, but if you stay still, it will pass. Move and it will find you. If it comes directly at you, then fight. Otherwise leave it alone. Often you will discover there was no danger.
"In short, my lad, frequently the best action is not to act at all. If you go looking, you will find it. Just be careful what is sought."
Kaneya looked searchingly into the eyes of his senior. For a moment he thought he saw other than dog.
Surely that couldn't be?
© Yamini Ali MacLean