Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Most people would prefer to get home a healthy pet. For us it turned out to be quite the opposite. My son Arin Chakranarayan was five-years-old when we befriended a scrawny puppy who lived outside my in-laws society in Pune. A darling for all of us, the little fellow was a must in many of our conversations. As Arin interacted with him, I could see a bond growing. I for one did not want a dog till Arin was about 9 years old - at a better age to take care of the dog instead of having me shoulder the entire responsibility. Also, he had been diagnosed with asthma. Fate, however had better plans. One fine day we found Black (as we christened him) limping. Turned out a horrid watchman had hit him badly. We further found out that they would do worse to the poor puppy who was doing zero harm to anybody. And that is how my husband got him home one sunday morning. A visit to the vet confirmed that not only was the five month old's hind leg broken in places, it was also dislocated, but age was on his side and he would be able to walk, though with a limp. Along with his bad leg, Black also had a bad heart. He was unable to go for long walks, he could not jump around like others his age and he completely disliked being hugged, cuddled or pet for more than he wanted. We don't know what lineage he came from, he was a great guard dog, not a sweet friendly one. For a naughty six year old in love these were difficult things to understand and accept. So Arin understood but worked around them to get some fun time with Black. He woke Black when he was fast asleep, insisted on hugging him soon as he woke up, and on getting him in his blanket only to get a big bad growl in return. Did that deter him? No. It didn't, not even when he got a nice nip for trying to take away his bone. Were we bad parents? No we weren't. We let them both be. Black was intelligent, and he knew Arin was the baby of the house. One of them had to learn not to react or how to act. Arin is bright so he knew where he was going wrong. "Mama, I love him, he is mine," the big round eyed boy explained very simply when I tried to explain for the nth time that Black could not be pushed. So did we do the right thing by letting the boy and the dog stay together, inspite of the health issues which caused discomfort to the dog and so reflected in his behaviour? Black lived for three years. In the last few days of his wonderful life, we found his ventricle wall had a hole so the good and bad blood was getting mixed. We also found that he had dextrocardia, i.e his heart was on the right! And we also saw a little boy very very sad that he could do nothing to help his buddy. We knew death was inevitable. But to see Arin soo concerned with Black, to watch him spend time quietly talking to him, being very very gentle, running his hands calmly through his fur and never asking questions about what would happen next told me that we had done the right thing. That adding a neat mixed breed dog to the family had enriched our lives in more ways than we can tell. My son had a wonderful friend, somebody who gave him strength, love and taught him more about life and death that we never will be able to.