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To be one with a canine buddy

She redefined ‘loyalty’ and made one realise the true essence of companionship. And then she left

July 2010. Swore never to keep a dog as a pet again… because the pain of losing one is heart-breaking. And I lived with that vow for seven years.

Come 2016, moved into a new house, and along with all its facilities came this bounding brown mongrel as a free package. Shooing “it” away is what I did as strays were becoming a menace in the locality. But this bundle of joy just didn’t give up on me. She bid me goodbye every morning while I boarded my cab for work (even if that meant walking with me for a kilometre in the rain) and greeted me each night when I returned. Each time being more love-filled than in the earlier instance. Well, I dare say, it worked. I completely fell for her wooing. I broke my seven-year-long vow as the “it”-turned-“she”-turned-Buddy jazzed into my life and swept me off my feet. Our relationship had started.

For a few days I had left the city on a solo trip, and on my return she seemed to be visibly angry (or rather hurt); maybe because I didn’t inform her of my absence prior to departure. She growled and turned her head away when I petted her, almost reprimanding me for my uncaring behaviour. Just a few more pats and she was as happy as a clam at high water. I tried to train her like the usual — sit down, shake hand, yes-no, good girl, bad girl, but she was a girl of her own free will. However, she had something special in store for me — an act that included a two-way stretch coupled with a happy whine, followed by a sit-down and then a handshake!

Strangely, she would always find me whenever I was hanging around outside my house but vice-versa would never happen. I started giving her some food each night before going to bed. She was stationed there almost immediately, rolling and jumping with all kinds of vocalisations. Not so much for the food but for the love of love. Her love was unconditional, unquestioning, unlimited.

Then for three days she went missing. By evening I saw her lying in my porch, not flinching even when I was being more than enthusiastic. I checked, and she was breathing fine. I was relieved. I gave her food and water. I petted her for the longest time. She seemed off-colour but I was sure she would be fine. Then I let her be. In the morning, Buddy was no more.

Was my love proportionate to hers? I don’t think so. Did I treat her the same way I treated my first pet? Not at all. Did I make her feel special? I don’t know. So, what did I do? A little food, some water and random petting.

Now, what did she do? She gave me her heart, soul and much more. She taught me the true meaning of loving someone from the bottom of their heart, and to be selfless without regret. No complaints, no questions asked, always forgiving. She epitomised ‘pure’ and ‘pristine’. She redefined ‘loyalty’ and made me realise the true essence of companionship. Her death has only ended a life, not our relationship. Milan Kundera’s words reflect my feelings: “Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring — it was peace.”

To this larger-than-life entity who gave me an entire life’s wisdom in such a short time, who bid me goodbye until my cab left — I bid you farewell and pray you rest in peace. I retake my broken vow.

senjuti.mallick@gmail.com

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 4:19:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/To-be-one-with-a-canine-buddy/article14583726.ece

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