Julie was our youngest daughter. She was papa’s princess and mummy’s darling. She had her own language through which she would talk to all of us. She wanted to be around us all the time. Today, she is no longer with us. We wish her happiness wherever she is, though we like to believe that some part of her will always be alive with us forever.
-Rupika Khanna, Lucknow
Dogs – they are a huge part of our lives. Dogs are special and a wonderful creation of God. They bring out the very best in us and love us unconditionally for what we are. The puppy eyes and warm heart, that makes them special. When all friends leave us, when you may not have money, no family but your pet is always there. I know that they bark and bite, but for someone who knows, they know what’s deep inside. Love that they give is a pleasant gift and the wags and licks that make my day. He may be little, he may not be perfect but what is important is his love. With a passionate heart they are ready to please us. “Aww” that’s what you say when you see a cute dog. From the police to the homes, dogs are vital in our lives and they may not speak but they show their love for us in every small way. They are small with big hearts. And I am proud to say that ‘I am a Dog Lover’ and have a pet named MARIO!
Love you Mario!!!!
Eshanika Kajaria, Class VII, La Martiniere, Kolkata
April 7, the most astonishing day of my life! Having a furry friend like Freddie was the happiest days of my life. I’m not sure how many of you will agree with me, but losing a pet is unbearable. The day he left, my heart forgot how to go on without him.For others he was ‘just a dog’ but for me he was my companion in my bad and good times.I
often sit alone and think about that day he left me.Three years have passed and I still cannot understand the reason why he didn’t come home that day, like any other day. What really happened that day? No one knows about that story. The way I used to smile when I saw his shining eyes, those shiny eyes filled my heart with happiness. Those tears rolled down from my eyes when he sat on my lap and I shared my secrets with him. It’s only real for everyone to think he died that day but only thing I can say is a part of me died that day. Like everyone says he is never going to come back. Yeah! He will never, but I have faith he is watching me over at each and every step of my life, like sun rays do in day and stars at night. What I believe is that the day I will get to know the reason of him leaving me will be only when I go to the door of the almighty! Yes, I know he will be waiting for me on the staircase to paradise. For now, I shall wait to connect with him again, feel his presence again and ask him, ‘Why did you go away?’
-Jaspreet Kaur, Indirapuram , Ghaziabad
Someone has said, “…When you buy a dog, you buy a future tragedy….” It is a correct but incomplete statement. Tragedy indeed but it is preceded by enormous love and joy, making it always a beautiful life.
The family man…
Our family was blessed with Mr Buddy, who was a family man. For him, the family was above all and he loved it more than anything else. With everyone else, he was just polite – with the exception of crows that he hated and was prepared to stand vigil under the trees craning his neck long after they had flown away. Buddy did not have much time for other dogs, he would mostly ignore them but sometimes, despite being Beagle, he would pick a fight with the big ones, particularly the really big ones like the Dobermans and St Bernards. He was civil with guests and tolerated them because they were friends of the family and their visits would be accompanied with the customary round of snacks and good food which he loved. But he had defined his purpose in life to be a family man, rest was a distraction. So he ate, drank and slept with us, he loved morning tea and would cut short his morning walks on Sundays so that he could be part of the morning tea ritual, he watched TV, never missed a yoga class, or any of the tuitions, he actively participated in pujas, havans, and parties.
Being a family man, Buddy never liked the family to travel, he could sense imminent departures and would become melancholic, his worst fear would get confirmed on seeing the bags being brought down and opened for packing. He would sit in the open bags almost asking to be packed and taken along. Equally, family returning was a joyous occasion for him, irrespective of whether it was after a day at the office or after two weeks of vacation. We were greeted with the same gusto and cheer….all was forgotten and forgiven. He did not like it when we did not treat him as an equal, he wanted a seat on the table and sulked in a corner if he felt he was not part of family discussions. But a simple invitation would address the matter and he would come scampering back to be the centre of the congregation. Heaven for him was to be in the middle, on his back, his paws in the air, with the family sprawled around him, talking of him and stroking him. And the sound of heaven was a gentle continuous snort – that is when Mr Buddy would forget he was a Scent Hound and purr like a cat.
Buddy comes home…
Buddy’s entry into the family was not easy and the result of skillful negotiation with mom. Shivam and I wanted a Beagle and found him…the last of his litter, a beautiful tri-coloured fur ball with a perfect jaw line. He came to us whimpering on an August afternoon after a long car ride – perhaps the trauma of the first car ride made him hate long car journeys. Later he would like only short rides when he would stand and wobble on the front seat with his head outside over the side view mirror, his ears flopping in the wind. Longer journeys made him nauseous. The fog of memory makes it difficult to remember who named him, we all want to claim that act but I think it was Shubhi who chose the name of our newest family member. He was just three weeks old then – with splayed legs, big ears, a small head and huge eyes. Always his doe like black eyes made the deepest impressions even on strangers, who would stop us during walks and comment on his handsome face and eyes. Indeed, if eyes are windows to the soul, then they showed a gentle and noble – and as Dr Hatekar said – ‘A saintly soul’.
First step towards being a family man…
When he went to Bankhedi, there was a throng to see the ‘Malaysian Dog’, the village people were disappointed, he was just like any other dog but their verdict was that he had a handsome face and beautiful eyes like no other dog. He kept running away in Bankhedi, wanting to explore the myriad smells. Once on a walk he never wanted to return. He escaped one summer morning without us getting to know, but a knock was heard in the afternoon – it was a muddy, tired, hungry Mr Buddy. He had returned…he was becoming a family man.
Family life is not easy…
Buddy’s induction into the family was tougher than his entry. Buddy religiously emptied dustbins, he swallowed scrunchies, he gnawed the dining table, TV remote, books, pens, bags, my passport, slippers, and countless socks. Visitors were issued a standard warning to guard their footwear. After he unzipped Munna mama’s bag and stole the dry fruits, the standard warnings and preventive measures became more elaborate and serious. But he crossed the line when he chewed up mom’s favourite Iranian carpet. She got it repaired at great expense and he chewed it up again, and then he sat on it, victorious, wagging his tail and thumping his feet. Mr Buddy came close to being banished from the family that day. But he clawed himself back into favour, after all his destiny was to become a family man.
Over time Mr Buddy evolved a special relationship with each member of our family. With mom, it was one of care but that was after they had settled their power struggle. For a while, Mr Buddy made a bid for the No 2 position in the family. He recognised me as the ‘head’ but felt the No 2 position belonged to him. So, he would try to occupy mom’s favourite position in the TV room and when she travelled, he slept on mom’s side of the bed with his head on her pillow. But over time, he realised he had a formidable competitor and sacrificed his ambitions – after all he was a family man first. He had lost the war but won mom’s heart. He started to wait for her eagerly, if he was in the balcony when she came home, Buddy would be poking his head through the grill, floppy ears drooping, whimpering, beseeching mom on the driveway to come up quickly. Any cry of pain during the yoga sessions would prompt Mr Buddy to get up and investigate the matter and one time he jumped on poor instructor, imploring him to take it easy on mom with the asanas. The Iranian carpet episode had been long forgotten by both.
And with my children–Shubhi and Shivam–his relationship was one of total, absolute, elder brotherly love. With Shubhi, he would just turn all gooey and cuddly on being picked up by her. He loved her massages and would keep insisting for more. Mr Buddy could never take any censure from Shubhi and would express his displeasure with a little pee on her bed. Shubhi could never, never scold Mr Buddy. With Shivam, he was watchful though protective. He loved being with the boys but as he grew older, he would admonish them if they were too noisy. For quite a long time he could outrun Shivam, who is on a cycle and no one could ever catch him if he decided to take off with a golf or tennis ball. I could never raise my voice on the kids in his presence, forget about laying a hand. He would climb up on me and put his paw on my face requesting me to stop; this loving act was demonstrated to many an incredulous guest.
Only when Shivam used his size to push him around, Buddy would take revenge by peeing on Shivam’s schoolbag. But he knew he had done something wrong and would await my arrival with trepidation, hiding at the sound of my entry. On hearing the complaints, I would ask him to come forth, which he would, slowly, in measured steps, as if walking on thin ice, his head hung down, sneaking sideways glances from his dark black eyes which would become even larger, his floppy years tightly squeezed back, requesting forgiveness. On being forgiven, his joy was unbounded, he would race around the room, jump around and end up running away with a pair of socks or slippers. This incredible act was also demonstrated many a time to awe struck guests. I think he loved being pampered by Shubhi on Rakhi and felt like one of the boys in the company of Shivam’s friends – he was a family man.
Dadi, he took for granted, his relationship was of indulgence. Pushing dadi off the bed, destroying her chunnis and demanding a share of all her food, particularly the morning biscuit dipped in chai. Of course, dadi loved it and would sometimes worry if for several days Buddy had not ripped up one of her precious chunnis. When dadi left for the US he would spend at least a day in her room. He was affectionate towards nani too. How can we ever forget the ferocity with which he would confront Venkat the lab assistant when he came to draw nani’s blood samples.
He disliked outsiders removing things from the house and would bark himself hoarse even when it was painful for him to bark and it came out in yelps. He also had cordial relations with the house helps. Ramlal thought he had trained Buddy to come on a walk attracted by the bits of food he would carry in the pocket, it was the other way round – Mr Buddy had trained Ramlal to carry small amounts of food during their walks.
He even accepted Chotu- Jackboots, the swaggering, arrogant, roguish, raffish, loud, thug of a street cat. He chased other cats but never threatened Chotu except when it came to the food wars. Chotu felt so comfortable in Mr Buddy’s presence that he let his guard down and even started usurping Mr Buddy’s bed. But that did not matter to Mr Buddy, as this was family and he was a family man.
Towards me, he was devoted as I was to him. He was whimpering on his first night and out of pity I made him sleep in a small bed next to me and since then till the very last he slept by my bed. When I woke up, my first words were to him and when I slept, my last words were for him. Mr Buddy could not tolerate even a sneeze from me and when I returned after a long trip, he was sure that he was priority No 1. In case I went to the loo, he would scratch the door down compelling me to come out quickly and complete our share of nuzzling, licking, fondling, talking, snorting and petting. He shared my love for mutton and after I realised that he could smell it on me after a meal outside, I started to get a bone back for him – as a doggy bag from restaurants, surreptitiously wrapped in a napkin from parties and as return gifts from friends who knew he was my third child.
The dreaded time…
Ever since his spinal cord problem had got established and he was put on steroids, the countdown had begun for me. In my mind, there was a constant tick tock of the eternal clock in the background which came to a clanging, clashing stop with a call from mom and her sobbing message “…We have lost Buddy…”. He lived up to his name, he was a true Buddy, he was our family member and will remain so forever, I just wish we had a little more time with him. I wish I had brushed his coat one more time…. I wish I had shown him a beach and seen him frolic in the waves…. I wish I had taken him for one longer walk in the tekri this monsoon. I wish he had not died and had lived longer than me…. May his soul rest in peace!
–Deepika Sharma, Pune
In childhood everyone has one sibling or more to fight with and those who don’t have sometimes become upset like me! But in my life Rony walked in as an angel brother from another mother. I still remember him as a cute little indie boy running around me! And he became my first love and we used to play fights like anyone would do with their siblings. Bathing him was fun! While doing so…I used to drench myself also in the process, but loved the experience. Whenever I was out of station Rony was with dad and he whined, but calmed down soon after he heard my voice on phone.
I know every story doesn’t have happy ending. One Saturday night I went out to get Rony’s favourite food. Just beyond my imagination, Rony was nowhere when I returned! I lost him! I cried like a child and tried searching for him every possible places but I couldn’t find him anywhere. That was the day I decided to help rescue other animals. Rony was lost but he gave me the hope to help other animals. My childhood could have never been jolly without him. He will always be the one who taught me the meaning of friendship. I just wish he is happy wherever he is and he will always be in my heart forever!
It was 12th January 2009, we were waiting outside an ultrasound clinic to get her ultrasound done before we went in for surgery when I suddenly heard a deep gurgling. She tried to get up and just as I held her frail body. We were blinded by fear of losing her. The same roads where we travelled for the past three years were suddenly new for us. Neither me nor my husband, who was driving, could get out of the maze of the market. We had to ask the directions to my vet’s clinic (a place where I went almost every alternate month). I knew she was sinking, my Whisky was sinking.
As tears welled up in my eyes I realised with a sickening certainty that I could do nothing, absolutely nothing, to save Whisky. Then I did what best I could do. I held her two days old pup JW (Junior Whisky) against my bosom with one hand and with the other hand I held her close to my heart as tightly as I could because this would be her last hug… and her whole life flashed in front of me.
Whisky as a pup
I had just returned from a painful visit to my dentist who had put a cap on my tooth, when the phone rang and our unit’s Adjutant called to say, “Ma’am do you want a pup?” that’s all I needed to get into action… and off we went on a two hours journey to fulfill my dream of having a pet once again. It had been six years since my Silky passed away due to old age. On reaching the place I saw so many cute Labrador pups and was trying to make up my mind when I was greeted by a cute ball of fur who refused to back down. She was all over me. So be it…I had gone to chose a dog for myself, less did I know that she’ll be choosing me instead! She became the apple of our eyes and was christened ‘WHISKY’ as her colour resembled the blend of Scotch whisky.
Perfectionist to the core
Whisky was never difficult to train. It was as if she knew what was expected of her beforehand. If she wanted to go out to relieve herself she would just grab her leash and come up to us. There was one small problem though – she never thought that she was a dog! Dog biscuits, chew sticks, dog food and oily food were all ‘No-no’ for her. She would have the biscuits we would have and would love parathas with pure desi ghee.
Don’t touch my brother!
That’s what she became, a defender, me or my husband could never scold my son who was a regular defaulter. She would just position herself between us and my son. She was brave enough to defend her brother (my son) knowing that she might get punished herself for showing her teeth to us, though we never punished her for this because I knew that if Whisky could take on me to defend my son, then what she might do to a stranger if they tried to harm my children. If for some reason my son Rhishabh would cry then Whisky would lick the tears off his face and then start nibbling his ear till he would laugh as it tickled him there. She never slept on the floor…always at my feet (though I must admit, I love it in winter).
This is my pack, beware strangers
We did not own a dog. She owned us. We were part of her pack and strangers (even stray dogs were not spared) who she felt were a threat (trust a dog’s intuition). Though she never attacked anyone but made her displeasure clear when they came near us. She would position herself between us and the strangers and look at them unflinchingly. She had got herself bitten twice by stray dogs (and almost lost an eye) while chasing them out. She was our permanent fielder when we played cricket in our lawns. And we had to draw lots to decide who gets to keep Whisky in their team. In the end the team who got Whisky would be jubilant while the other cried foul.
Congrats! You’re going to be a granny
It was a regular busy week in the school, followed by a second Saturday. How was I waiting for this day to relax in the warm sun in December. It was a perfect weekend and nothing was amiss. Suddenly when I felt that whisky was looking a little fuller than usual, still least suspecting what I was about to discover, I took off the jacket to brush her and then I saw her mammary glands were developing! No, this can’t be true was my first reaction, followed by a closer re-examination. In the past three years I had seen nothing close to it. I immediately pulled a call to my vet Dr Ravi Dutt Mishra who asked me certain questions regarding her physical changes which were quite affirmative. I was panicking by then in mixed feelings, “Wow! My Whisky’s gonna be a mom!” After a long anxiety driven day, when I went to his clinic in Alwar, Dr Dutt confirmed it… “Congrats ma’am, you are going to be a granny!” And the only thing I could blurt out was “When?”
Months passed as Whisky neared her due date. Dr Mishra had warned me to look out for nesting symptoms before she would start whelping. That night as I slept with Whisky cuddled under my arms I had the weirdest of dreams. I dreamt of whisky giving birth to three pups – two black and one brown. Then just as I went out to embrace them they moved back and talked to me, “We aren’t coming we are leaving.” I woke up with tears in my eyes only to see Whisky licking my face. I saw the time, it was 3:30 am and I went back to sleep. Little was I to know that the nightmare would turn out to be true the following day. We could manage to save one. Her pup JW (Junior Whisky) is now a handsome boy of five years and has the same attributes of his mother.
–Ranjeeta Nath Ghai, Tinsukia, Assam
‘Unconditional love’ – this term was taught to me by my dogs. When I was a kid, my dog Tarry was not so close to my dad initially, but an inseparable bond was developed between them later on. Whenever my dad returned home from his office, Tarry welcomed, greeted and respected him as master of the house. Even when my dad went abroad for work trips, he had to speak with Tarry on phone and then he would eat his food. The day when my dad got a heart attack and rushed to the hospital, Tarry’s health also went down real bad. All this is just true love these furry companions have for their family.
Kaizer, whom I brought home when I was in college, used to get very excited when I came home from college and later from work. If I came back and locked my room door, he
would knock the door like a human and ask me to open the door for him to come and sleep on my bed or if the door was open, he just pushed it with his paw and came straight inside.
After I got married, I had a dog called Richie who was sweet and most obedient one I ever had seen. I could talk to him with my eyes. I didn’t need words to express or say anything to him. He would just understand things. Whenever I visited my mom’s place he would stop eating, sit and sulk. Then I always came back and fed him. He would understand my love towards him and he always gave me his ‘unconditional love’.
Animals love you for what you are and not for what they want from you. They will love you without any expectations and without any return from you. They look up to you as their master and will give their life for you. In today’s world, humans keep pets as a status symbol, peer pressure and some genuinely as they love them. But when this sweet little furry baby comes to your house, leaving his parents, he is scarred initially, afraid of the new surroundings, misses his mom and dad. But gradually he takes you as his master, obeys all what you say and takes you as his family. As he showers such unconditional love in every way to you in his own way, you will also learn the meaning of ‘unconditional love’ which I have today.
–Snigddha Kar Gosalia, Mumbai (in memories of Tarry, Kaizer and Richie).
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