My dog Kuttush, whom I picked up from the street, was a bouncing baby boy who kept everyone on their toes around. But never in my wildest dreams could I imagine him gone today.
I dreamt of Kuttush again. I saw him in the pink of his health, doing circles on our roof top, the wind ruffling through his thick white fur. I was conscious of the time loop in my dream; the clocks had been turned backwards. That my dog would be dead in a matter of months weighed heavy in the dream. A sense of dread muddled the happy picture of my dog against the white cement. Long after waking up, the fading picture of Kuttush’s rippling muscles and lolling tongue haunted me.
Bouncing baby boy
Kuttush was a bouncing baby boy since the day I picked him off the street, always keeping everyone on their toes around him. Even in his illness, he would do several rounds of the veranda and bark at the pigs and street urchins and dogs. Never in my wildest dreams could I ever imagine him gone. For two full months after his passing, I felt his ghostly presence around the house. I could mysteriously hear his heavy breathing as if he had just been playing fetch in the house. I could hear his toe nails against the tiles as if he was patrolling the veranda to bark at loafers. I even felt his physical presence in the form of his shiny white hair strewn on a variety of my possessions.
Pang of his absence
Oh how I dreaded coming home from office! I absolutely hated the habit of scanning my apartment veranda for the sight of his furry self waiting with anticipation clearly visible in that young façade. He had done that every day and for everyday that he was gone, I felt deep dismal to gaze up. In the three months that he is gone, I haven’t stopped looking up. I am used to the little pang of sadness that accompanies his absence.
Kuttush was a street dog and had a habit of gobbling up garbage when unsupervised. He had on numerous times wolfed down scrap biscuits, fruit and vegetable peels and seeds and even leftover food offered by anyone and everyone. In defense of his uniqueness, I had negative interactions with people who claimed wastelands next to their abodes as their territories. On three such occasions, when my dog took a dump in utter wastelands had I to fight with such amazing personalities. On Diwali last year, Kuttush, who had never shown any fear of crackers, was suddenly jittery on his feet that day. He kept having fits and sought refuge under the sofa. We had seen him have fits before so we did the necessary but didn’t panic. It being a festive occasion, I knew for sure that doctors wouldn’t entertain a canine patient.
End of everything
It got worse in the night when he shook nervously but ate normally. He refused to vomit but continued having fits. Somewhere near dawn, I found Kuttush hiding near my bed completely dazed. He didn’t respond to our calls. I made a recording of his condition to show any doctor I could find that day and out of exhaustion, fell asleep. Some hours later when daylight had poured in completely, I woke up with a start and sought for Kuttush who was sprawled on the floor. I went near him and called him but he didn’t move. Kuttush was dead. His body was stiff.
The last rite
We called everyone we were close to for answers, for directions. It hurt me when a few people suggested that we should throw him out for now he is dead. I was appalled. He had been an invincible part of my life; I couldn’t just throw him out like trash. I had to pay him proper respect. So we cleaned him and placed a garland around his stout neck. Then we carefully placed Kuttush in the hole and caressed his thick white fur. When back home, we got busy with guests and responding to their sympathy and well wishes. Kuttush didn’t like to be left alone. I was grappled with thoughts of him lying alone in his cold earth bed while I had my vast bed empty made even more vast by his absence.
Still dreaming of Kuttush
In the coming few months I had many dreams of him running about the house or away to the wasteland near my apartment. I imagined the barks of the street dogs as his in my dreams and saw him lying on cold dirty mud. I found my house too clean and shiny and felt that I had far more time on my hands than before. I never really got over his sudden demise and went over every detail of that fateful Diwali night that took away my 10 months old, otherwise healthy dog.
I visited many vets, pet parents, enthusiasts and showed them his last video recording. People gave many explanations, some said he suffered a shock, others said that he had a heart attack. But most feasible of them was poisoning. I recalled the medicinal smell from his feces and his dazed, unresponsive façade. I concluded that the fights I had with those people over him pooping in wastelands near their houses have been revenged. If so was the case, then Kuttush died a worthless death.
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