Among my acquaintances and relatives there are those who love dogs ardently, those who tolerate them, those who look at dogs as mere utility for security, those who are scared of dogs and finally those who detest dogs. There are a few who became dog lovers after meeting Tommy. I have mentioned elsewhere how he would win their love and trust.
As a devout dog-lover, I have a good collection of books on dogs. About the numerous breeds, dog care, dogs and man etc, etc. Yesterday, I came across a wonderful book on dog care in my friend Dr Srinivasan’s house. ‘A Vet’s Guide to Dog Care’, by Dr S P Beri, Orient Paperbacks, New Delhi, 1997. I believe I have a good nose for books. I look at the last pages, where he has dealt with diseases. I wince in pain reading about tumors, remembering Tommy. If only I had read this earlier, I would have noticed the symptoms and perhaps got it effectively treated. He passed away on April 23rd, the cancer causing multiple organ failure.
In the opening page, you find this ‘dog’s prayer’. I hope Dr Beri wouldn’t mind it if I quote the prayer here. This is for all the dogs I have known in my life and also for those readers who are yet to befriend dogs. It is not sentimental mush. It is about love, faith, trust, forgiveness – and the happiness that dogs bring to one’s life. You see, nothing else matter. Perhaps some of that will rub off on to us.
A Dog’s Prayer
Treat me kindly, my beloved master,
for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than mine.
Your patience and understanding will quickly teach me the things you would have me do. Speak to me often, for your voice is the world’s sweetest music, as you must know
by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.
When it is cold and wet, take me inside. I ask no more than the privilege
of sitting at your feet beside the hearth.
Keep my pan filled with fresh water and feed me clean food that I may stay well
to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side and stand
ready, willing and able to protect you with my life should your life be in danger.
And when I am very old, if the Great Master sees fit to deprive me of my health and sight, do not turn away. Rather, take my trusting life gently and I shall leave you,
knowing with the last breath I draw, my fate was always safest in your hands.
******** Balachandran, Trivandrum 30.07.2010