“Dogs never bite me. Just humans.” — Marilyn Monroe
A deep gentleness embraces me every time I think of my dogs, long gone and an odd one yet here. Oft times a deep sadness, when I remember humans: living, dead or just not there.
I have cried as much over the demise of dogs as after the death of humans — the latter mostly dead, while living. Or might as well be. Dogs are our fellow animal siblings that never stop loving us; unlike brute human droppings — some beastly relatives, erstwhile friends and many a ungodly people — who, live on and even take to graves the love that they could not give us while alive.
“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.” — Mark Twain
From a child of 9 years to the present mature age, our family has always had dogs. My first dog, Ruby, was a real lady. So devout, a sigh comes in my heart, now! tears well up, with a held-up shout. She had to be put to sleep once her breast cancer became unbearable for us, though on her part she never so much as let out a whimper. The pill to put her to sleep was mixed with sugarcane candy. I was just a teenager then, but unable to bear the thought of her dying alone, I came back into her room, and caressed her forehead as she gave up her ghost.
Just a few days back, our next door neighbor, who’s my age, reminded me how, heartbroken, we did not eat well for days after Ruby passed away. This he told me recently, when he came over when my 2 year old pug, Johnny, died in the night; with no known cause. Perhaps he was bitten by a poisonous creature. Before this, a month or so ago, my 12 year old Pomeranian, Yogi, to whom Johnny was deeply attached, had died. And, a few months before that Sufi, who was Yogi’s sibling. This year, along with these 3 of my dear siblings, my mother too passed away. I recited the same prayers over them,as I did for my mom.
“But last night I started really missing my dog. It’s very odd, ‘cause I don’t have a dog.” — Bono
Johnny would start barking the moment I so much as stirred in my bed on the first floor of our home. I cannot fathom how he could sense the moment of my coming awake, as many a times I had not even kept my feet on the ground. Maybe he could sense the shift of air or something, I would never know. Deeply attached to me, he would climb on to my lap and fiercely guard his throne lest the now dear deceased Yogi or my present Pomeranian, Sat came over to say hello to me.
Rocky, the grouchy Pomeranian with an atrophied leg, that lived on after Ruby, died silently during the day; under the bed my father slept in. I was not there to witness his death. We suspect he had something afflicting his tummy, which we could not diagnose. Only indication of it was that whenever I tried to pick him up, he would growl, making a biting gesture. Then, only a child, I did not like his doing so and getting pissed off, had even lashed out at him. As I did at Sherry, a mixed-breed Pomeranian before him; who too did not like being cuddled by me. But in a moment both would promptly forgive my trespass. I have never been forgiven so kindly by any human I know; except for my parents of course — both now deceased.
“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.” — Johnny Depp
Yet, it’s the height of human ignorance that in some countries dogs are kept in horrible conditions; then, killed and served as a delicacy to savor. And we wonder and wail aloud as to why karma bites us on the ass! Unable to feel the pain of ‘lower’ animals, especially of loving creatures like dogs, a large chunk of our society remains bestial — no better than our stone-age predecessors.
I am reminded of my most gentle pet, Raxy; who, unable to bear the loss of my father, passed away a few days after him. I sensed, knew it before hand that he would. In many ways dogs are more human than us, beasts.
Perhaps dogs remind us of our pristine years, of childhood, when everything was simple and straightforward. As we grow older the first thing that is taken away is our innocence. Our dogs always possess it, never losing it as years add on. They don’t complain, satisfied with whatever little or much that we bestow upon them; unlike us humans, who, hanker after newer, never ending wants and wishes. Always happy to see us, loving us unconditionally, dogs force us into a re-think; making us more humane humans. Teaching us human values that we, in the normal course of a troubled and a tortured living, trample upon in our daily lives. The unbounded love our dogs shower upon us, maybe turn us more spiritual than do all religions and isms put together. Making even the most skeptical amongst us to almost believe in God, in this god-forsaken world.
“The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s.” — Mark Twain.