Today afternoon as I gave Sancho his food, I took a morsel from his bowl and threw it in the direction of Tommy’s grave. Tommy died day before yesterday. He was only 12 years old; had a couple more years in him. But since last three weeks he had been ailing. I had been force-feeding him all these days. It started with urinary tract infection. Then a cyst was found in his urinary bladder. In the last week he developed complications of the liver. All sort of possible medicines were administered, miracle was hoped for. On Thursday night he limped into my room and slept beside me on the floor. Occasionally I would wake up, caress and whisper to him. Friday morning, I gave him Glucose and water. He tried to get up a couple of times, fell down, but dragged himself out to the courtyard. Exhausted, he passed a little urine, I could see, with lot of pain. I gave him a sponging with Dettol and warm water. Tommy laid his head on my lap. With my right hand I fanned off the flies. And then, with a little yelp, he went away.
Though there were always dogs in my house, Tommy was the first one to be born here. His mother, Kunchi, had a long innings but succumbed to Mastitis. Tommy was an ordinary mongrel, if you go by breeds. But, those who knew him would agree that Tommy was the most elegant, refined, cultured, wise dog that ever walked on this earth. He had a gentle way with him. I remember the numerous occasions when persons who were scared or disliked dogs visited us. Tommy would immediately sense their unease. It was a treat to see how he would gently, lovingly win their trust. Many are those who became dog-lovers after meeting Tommy.
I had carried him as a new-born pup; now I carried him as I carefully put him down in his grave. I miss him terribly. I miss his trusting, loving, caring eyes. I miss his wet nose and kiss. I miss him, I miss him so much.
Below is a poem I wrote on Tommy a few years ago.
Lessons in Love
It ain’t easy to write about love,
The blind can see better than I.
The deaf has ears sharper than mine,
The dumb has voice sweeter than mine.
What do I feel, what do I sense
I do not know what is love.
Is it sorrow, is it joy,
Is it the lust betwixt my legs?
I listen to songs, if I feel the same
I like the lines, nothing more.
I read the books, stare at the words,
Aay bee cee dee, eee eff gee.
Weary from travel, home am bound
Opens the gate- then hears the bark.
A blur of a dog leaps at me
I can’t see, for he licks my eyes.
I can’t walk, for he jumps at me,
Bites me, pulls me, howls at me.
Am scratched with nails, splattered with dirt,
He tugs my shirt and whirls around.
Sitting on haunches, I hug him close
Taking care he not bites my nose.
His cheeks on mine, kisses on ears,
In my arms he holds so still.
In my arms, is the thing called love
In my heart, a cup so full.
In his eyes, the limpid pools,
I see my face, I know it not.
Ladies and Gents, your lesson in love.