My best friend – Cheryl

If Diamonds are girls’ best friends… then I am an exception. Because Cheryl – Alsatian, is my best companion, come what may. We have grown up together and shared our lives together. Her role in providing support and companionship during my lonely teenage is unforgettable. She taught me how to deal with pain and be patient. She instilled the value of faith in our relationship. Losing her is the biggest emotional turmoil for me… I miss her every moment. When my parents entered the house screaming ‘surprise’ on a chilly December evening, I did not have the faintest idea that a ‘surprise’ could mean aremembrance palm-sized, black ball of fur! For a fourteen-year-old longing for a pet, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this tiny Alsatian pup bundled up in a towel, staring up at me with her big, beautiful eyes. Dad told me that she was a “girl” and put her down. To add to my joy, she moved towards me and we bonded instantly. I knew she would grow up to be a gorgeous pooch and I christened her “Cheryl.”

I willingly took up the duty to feed her and take care of her needs. We grew together and became bosom pals. She did not seem to be shaken up when I bantered endlessly with ‘teenage issues’ and always had a look that said ‘I understand honey, everything’s gonna be fine.’ She licked my face when I cried and stood by me in times of need. She was simply the best- intelligent, sensitive, agile and of course, curvy! She was truly the hottest female canine around. She would race against my “scooty” at sixty kmph and swim like a pro in the dirty pond near my house.

I was still stuck with the “teenage” tag and it was time for her to find a mate. Sure enough, she chose a handsome stud from the same species. And then she became pregnant. I eagerly awaited for the puppy squeaks. Finally, the big moment arrived and tumbled out her very first babies! I was overwhelmed and a bit scared to handle those tiny, delicate babies. Cheryl sniffed out my apprehension and nudged one of them till he landed onto my palm.

I lifted him immediately. I helped her raise her kids and babysat for her when the toddlers annoyed her with their I-want-mama attitude. I was fascinated by the way she fed ten babies all at one time. In due course, the puppies found themselves new homes and new people. After motherhood, Cheryl became a lot softer and careful when around human kids.

After a couple of years, I went off to college and we met only during vacations. Everytime I came home, she greeted me with immense fervor and clung to me as if there was no tomorrow. As the years passed by, her energy levels drooped and I knew she was growing old. I just hoped she would live to see my wedding day. She was a weak, old woman by that time but the passionate twinkle in those doe-like eyes had not dwindled. She was given all the honours that a bride’s sister deserved and even got the best ring (the one given by the groom to the bride’s sisters). I was happy that she was with me on the most special day of my life but somewhere deep down inside I knew I was seeing her for the last time. When she was fifteen, she parted with us in a silent and peaceful way- the news of which shattered me from within and weighed my heart down with grief. Why couldn’t she wait for me this one last time?

As I recuperated from my loss, I was glad that she lived a long and happy life. Today, she lives within my heart and her sweet memories bring a smile to my face and sometimes tears in my eyes too. She has taught me to be a good listener, irrespective of language barriers and to be true to those who truly care. She was an epitome of unconditional love, endurance, patience and loyalty. She has been my baby, my friend, my sister, my teacher and my companion and each time I think of her, I realize that a woman’s best friends are defi nitely not diamonds….