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