My friend bid farewell to her darling St Bernard yesterday. For years, I have listened to her innumerable fond accounts of unsocial Diwali nights with loud TV and large doses of hugs and sedatives … of keeping aprons in strategic areas to handle her delighted drool streams…of sleeping in peculiar ways and walking around a snoring hill in the hallway.
This is the one situation which every dog lover awaits with trepidation and fear….facing that time when a beloved pet leaves home…that point in time when soulful looks, loving licks, furious tail-wagging sessions and quiet cuddling times become memories. Memories which initially turn on the tear-taps, and then later, bring out the fun-time tales and the good-feeling stories.
Right now, I am sitting on the floor with this snoring, shaggy black heap of fur at my feet. There is a soft nuzzle nudging my neck. Biskit prefers editing my writing by looking over my shoulder.
In a few minutes, it will be time for their lunch and the ponytailed pooches will be cajoled to clear their food bowls.
In a few hours, it will be time for the long evening walk with their Google leashes and a bottle of water. We will return to sprawl the evening away and then complete another day with a good night’s sleep.
My day, my routine, my life is completely entwined around the dogs. They are my companions and listeners and lovers. I spend long pleasant hours watching them trotting (Biskit) and plodding (Pepper) all over the house, stroking their sleeping forms and scratching their blissful ears.
There is a price to be paid for their love and devotion. I do not plan long vacations, I do not visit my daughters in the Deccan plateau, I refuse invitations for long treks, weekend holidays and reunion parties. The first concern, always, are the dogs and how will they live without me. If I am going out for 2 or 3 days, Hema is delighted to take the dogs to the village. The dogs love it too—they trot around the children, chase lambs and chickens and curl up near the fire. But I cannot bring myself to try the experiment for more than 4 days.
I ponder over this issue of mortality…. I try to imagine entering a silent home without eager doggy licks and happy whines to greet me…. I wonder if I can stand tall without two pairs of adoring eyes watching every move I make…and the thought of falling asleep without the usual doggy snore lullaby, fills me with dread.
My debating instincts kick in at this point. I smile at the thought of going for long, long overseas vacations filled with knitting yarn, old friends and some yarn festivals. I dream about the whoops which would great me when I would land unannounced at my daughters’s homes ( it could be a bit of wishful thinking there) and I fantasize about a day with no walks.
Thinking about the future will not affect my present paradise. Right now, I can feel Peppu’s snores reverberating through my limbs and Biskit’s soft nose warming my elbow. This is the time to thank my lucky stars for their doggy devotion and bask in their unconditional love.
It is also time to learn the lesson our canine cuties bring with them. We are here to share some good times together. I just need to focus on feeling blessed and honored with their love, and the good times will go on forever.