In memory of Richie

Richie… When I say Richie today there is an absolute feeling of numbness within me. I’m completely speechless and cold feet. Richie, smart and very handsome! He was my three years old black Labrador.

I got married in 2009, but I came into Richie’s life a few months earlier to my marriage. Richie was brought


Richie taking a leisurely walk

up on vegetarian food and I still remember smuggling non-vegetarian delights to him. I soon realised I too would be a vegetarian Gujarati Jain from a fish loving Bengali.

First sight…

Initially I didn’t like Richie, he wasn’t kept upto the standard how I visualised a pet should be kept. But once I got married, Richie grew on me – we just became friends and then he became my baby.

Naughty boy…

Richie was vocal and a complete brat, he would love to bark the whole day at strays, people entering, etc making his presence felt. I was worried that the neighbours would object to the noise but he had little care. He would hate the driver, he would hate the domestic help, he would hate anyone who would come close to his food, even though he didn’t eat his plain roti for hours. In due course he saw me around and realised I was here to stay. We started to look at each other.

We became friends…

Richie knew I cared for him. I started bathing him. We became so close that even if I put soap on his face, neck, tail and splashed water on him, he accepted it. When I looked at him and nodded my head, he knew I was calling him. He came, kept his head on my lap and slept for a bit. I began to become a part of his life, he felt secure and forgot barking. I used to ensure he was clean even after his walks. He would get restless whenever I was absent. He was a watchdog but after I came into his life, he became a pet dog. He had a bed to sleep and a fan on for him. He was my handsome hunk.

My little baby…

Due to neglect his ear underwent an operation and after his operation for a week he slept with me in my room. I used to make him sleep on my lap like a small baby and he felt comfortable. Taking care of Richie had completely become my job. His food, drinking water, taking him for walks, everything was my job and I loved doing it. He listened to whatever I said. When I was eight months pregnant, I used to tell, “Richie, I’m pregnant please don’t pull me.” Trust me, he listened to me. Then when my daughter Zia was born, I was away to my mom’s place and always enquired about my older baby- Richie. Each time I travelled, Richie used to miss me and stop eating. I had to come back and hand-feed him.

Richie’s sister Zia…

When I gave my time to Zia, Richie didn’t like it initially but he realised the baby is a part of the family and he accepted and greeted her with joy. Time passed by and I got busy with Zia and her upbringing, he even realised and understood that. He missed the time we used to spend. He loved boiled pasta, fried rice, Marie Gold biscuits beside his plain roti or paav. He would get the smell of pasta boiling and start sniffing and enter the kitchen to ask me to give him some right away.

Untimely adieu…

I was away for 10 days, he was suffering from tick fever. When I came back, I did what I could, but it was too late. In the end, things went out of hand and he passed away on 4th July 2012. I cried a lot and begged him for forgiveness keeping my head on him. But he was gone. Gone away to God! Richie I miss you a lot. You were my angel. Sorry once again and always. Forgive me -Yours Tuli.

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