Love, friendship, and bonding are not always at the stake of words. Such emotions sometimes come clad in a Lick, a wag, and a woof. Those lucky ones blessed with a woof mate will surely agree with me on this point. My mate continues to stay with me as Love, Hope, and Strength, even after several years of leaving his physical dwelling.
One Cold October morning when I went to inspect our house construction site, I was surprised to find a plump, cuddly fur ball whining in a corner. I looked around to see if I could find his mother, but there was no trace of her. I lifted him up in my arms and caressed him. I could sense he was trembling with cold and was sniffing to find his mother’s nipple for milk. He looked handsome and Misty in the fog!
I decided to pedal back home with the little puppy & made a choice to escape school for a good cause and mentally prepared myself for some yelling that evening from my mother.
I was so excited to bring him home. I quickly boiled some milk for my special guest, and later served it diluted & tepid. Something he did a few minutes after he drank the milk, clearly demonstrated his lack of toilet etiquettes. My annoyance could barely last when I looked into his innocent eyes. Later I made a cosy corner for him in my room where he fell asleep for a while after completing his chores.
The evening soon approached, and my heart was racing. I kept thinking to myself, that I would collapse if the doorbell rang. The universe attracts what you fear! The doorbell rang, and it was my mother at the door. Very unusually, I offered her some tea and cookies that evening before I could strike a conversation.
All mothers a blessed with antennae that detect unexpected courtesies developed by their children. I was not aware of my mother’s superpower, until that day.
The “Mommy sensor” detected a species behind the shut door of my room, where I had hidden the puppy. She had learned from Radha Aunty, my neighbour, that I was home all day.
I had to spill the beans. My mother patiently listened to me, & I was delighted that I was allowed to keep the puppy as my pet on a condition, that I compromised with my mother’s choice of his name. But calling him Doggy was better than losing him.
Six months down the lane it was time for us to move to our New House. Doggy was now a fine-looking lad. We were a Happy family. Mom, Dad, Doggy and Me. Doggy was My Mate, and my sibling”.
Doggy, got a new home too. Dad got a lovely kennel constructed for him by the Gate side. Every morning Doggy and I would go for a walk. He would guard the house until I returned home from school, and then we would spend some great time together. We would eat our evening snacks together, and he would sit by my table side until I finished my homework. He would go out with Dad for an evening walk, and return to his kennel after we finished supper.
Happiness and joy multiplied for us with every passing day. And even before we realized, it was one year since we had moved to our new house.
On one afternoon, when I got back home after school with an amazing idea in my mind, I was least prepared for what the evening had to offer me. I opened the gate to greet Doggy, and I was devastated looking at his condition.
I witnessed Doggy lay still in the garden. His off-white body had turned green since the time I saw him last in the morning. His body mass had vanished into thin air making him look like a breathing skeleton.
Doggy slowly opened his eyes when I gently stroked his back, & he tried to stand on his feet but fell down with a loud thud. While he kept whining for help, I rushed into the house & urged the Vet and my parents to reach home soon.
I hurried back to the garden, & carefully put his head on my lap. He was trembling and was turning cold. I wept desperately, as his gentle eyes looked at me. He wagged his tail and licked my hand. And Woof he was gone.
He decided to take back the joy he had brought into my life. He once came home trembling with cold and hunger, and he abandoned me in the same fashion.
The Vet came and diagnosed him to be bitten by a snake or a poisonous insect.
Life has a bitter side to it. But my Mate’s memories dwell in my heart as Love, Hope, and Strength, even today.