“Son I think he is about to die”
The words shook the very core of me as soon as I heard them. I ran down towards the garden and saw him lying there in the rain. Almost lifeless. I sat next to him. His eyes were still but as our eyes met, I maybe saw a flicker in his eyes.He was not dead yet.Staring into his eyes took me back a year ago.
The day I first met him…
“Hey there is a puppy in the block alongside and he is too weak”
“I don’t think he’ll survive.”
“You should take a look.”
So when the night came, after dinner, I went there to check on the puppy that my mom had apprised me about. And there in the corner I saw this weak puppy, about 2 months old, lying alone. His head was in the direction opposite to me. I approached him slowly.
I normally have this telepathic understanding with animals where they just accept me as their friend. So I was pretty much expecting that and was moving casually towards him, hoping this case would be the same. But when I was about 10-20 meters away from him, he just sensed my presence and before I could react, he started running away. Running away so intensely as if I was sent there by Satan himself to kill him, without even noticing the food I’d brought for him.
Things passed the same way for about 2-3 days and I knew he wasn’t going to survive much longer if this continues. Because apart from me, nobody was there to feed him and so he must have been very very hungry by then.
Sometimes I think the ignorance and the antipathy of the people of that block for animals was the reason for his extra cautious behavior but i guess its something I’ll never be able to fully comprehend.
So finally I just had to revise my strategy. From the 5th day, I started keeping the food at a point between him and me where he felt it was safe for him to approach the food. And slowly he started coming towards the food. His natural habit of exploration taking over his fear. And about a week later he had understood the fact that I was bringing him food and so at least he stopped running away at the very sight of me.
With time his health became better and I became a friend to him. But this did not change his tentative attitude towards others. Perhaps he had never forgotten his past. Me and my family members were the only ones he would trust. And we (my mother actually) named him PINTOO (yeah she has this habit of giving these cliched Indian nick names to dogs). The whole area was terrorized of Pintoo as he would bark angrily and chase anyone who acted even remotely suspicious. The people would always blame me and complain about me feeding such a stray and all, but I never reacted. Because I felt that the people deserved this after the way they had treated him. It was like poetic justice. After all, you are treated the way you treat others.
I was lost in these reminiscences when his loud breaths brought me back to reality. I must say that before that I had never actually seen somebody die in front of me. But those slow and even breaths of his, somehow made me sure that his end was near. Just before his final breaths, I placed my palm in front of his nose so that even if he couldn’t see me, he could smell me maybe and know that I was there with him… For Him.
And then something strange happened… for a second or two, he wagged his tail as if saying a final goodbye.
And about a minute later, the breathing stopped. And I just stood there for a while in the rain. I could feel a silent volcano of emotions erupting inside me. Then I went home and straight to my room, not knowing what to do. It was only when my mother asked me what had happened when the feeling of him dying actually dawned upon me and i started crying… Uncontrollably crying.