One day a strange thought occurred in my mind. What about these tiny dogs? Do they get a berth in paradise when their worldly life ends? That weird thought began to ramble in my mind when my cherubic daughter and I were rambling in our street with our pet that would retard his pace to sniff every scattered object. Viewing this pattern, my little daughter said, “Papa, dogs are accustomed to this behaviour. They search for stuff as we humans look for sensational news in the papers. After doing their reading, they drop the message for the next dog that may follow.”
As I watched the little child maturing into an adult girl, I observed she was very fond of dogs. Whenever any street pup or dog appeared outside the house gate, the girl served them biscuits and chapatis. Much to the chagrin of her grandad, she would also indulge in mussing with their fur.
Her love for her canine friends was so strong that even she gave them names. One day a scrawny pup with three legs limped his way to our home. He had lost the rear leg in a road mishap. Thus the tag ‘Tripod’ was chosen for him by my daughter.
But our anxiety about the relationship arose from the fact that all these wandering pups must be carrying an overload of fleas, maggots and diseases. The little girl, however, was least bothered. “Come on papa, I take all precautions and wash my hands after touching them”.
But one wet afternoon while returning home from school, a fuming stray leapt out of the storm-water drain and bit her leg. Panicky passers-by rushed to rescue the girl. They immediately took her to the hospital. That moment the reality of the attacker’s rage was revealed to us by some people dwelling in the area. The irate attacker had recently given birth to some pups in a dry pond near the school. Overnight torrential rains filled the pond, and in its wake her new-borns were swept away. The hapless mother was in great misery as she had failed to save her babies. Wailing in grief and seething with indignation, she had pounced upon the unsuspecting little dog lover.
Hearing that poignant account, our sympathetic dog lover articulated, “I am quite sure that her puppies will go to heaven.” But whenever anyone made a mention of that brutal bite, she sternly spoke in the dog’s defence and silenced everybody by concluding that “just because one dog attacked me does not make all dogs bad!”
A version of this article appears in print on October 14, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.