All night long, she whimpered and squirmed on the cold floor,
and twice she slumped against the nothingness on her way to the front door.
The wind rammed the windows, swirls of leaves swept outside,
While the moon’s presence grew scarce,
Leaning against the bed, I burst into a flood of tears.
The rain drummed on the tin roof in fits of rage,
and with every rolling thunder, she was jolted awake (from her nightmare).
The bread remained soaked, and the milk untouched.
The cloth rags and old newspapers lay strewn across the floor, smudged with spew and blood.
Every time I drew closer, she moaned in protest and tucked the tail between her legs.
In vain attempts, her blood-caked hind feet gave in, and all night long, she moaned and writhed on the cold floor.
The room was infused with odors: urine, antiseptics, rotting flesh, dampness, and decay.
The fitful bursts of light, the claps of thunder were anything but affirming.
The hour hand seemed to have forgotten to trace its path,
and the dawn appeared a lifetime away.
She wobbled her head toward me. Her eyes were drowsy and gray.
There were tiny patches of red on her otherwise snow-white skin,
and I imagined how she’d have scampered across overgrown bushes and frolicked under the chestnut trees, retrieved the knick-knacks she’d collected and take pride in them,
how she’d have pursued the squirrels with her tiny nose and chased after butterflies, without care,
but tonight she remains on the cold floor, wishing her life away.
Long before the soft light had poured from the windows and the skylight,
long before the birds had announced the dawn,
she had allowed herself to be cocooned in my arms and fallen asleep,
what kindness she had seldom found in life, she found in the last moments before death.
After a long night of anguish, she lay in the first light of morning, lifeless and dead.
A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.
― John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog
Here are some pictures of the stray dogs that we fed and took care of during their brief lives with us. The snow-white dog named Whitey and her two puppies Blackie and Rockie. All of them were Indie breeds.
Whitey passed away three years ago, sometime in the month of November. I remember the intermittent spells of November rain, the infection spreading in her body, the groans as she writhed in pain, a litter of puppies sucking on her teats, and the foul smell due to the fungal infection. After all the efforts to heal her went in vain, we got her a spray to temporarily relieve her agony. My mother later told me that Whitey felt a surge of relief and collapsed after drawing one long breath. After years, one remembers the departed with fondness and longing, and so do I. A few days after her departure, she had walked into my dream and had sat beside me for a long time, nudging my elbow with her wet nose, saying her gratitude. Afterward, she ran away before I could follow her, and despite calling for her, she could not hear me. She took a quick turn at the corner and disappeared.
She left behind a litter of which only two made it. We named them Blackie and Rockie. For the time they stayed, those little rascals remained carefree, chased after groups of unruly kids, and loud vehicles, played throughout the balmy days of late summers, remained tucked in tiny sheets during winters, and munched on plenty of treats and delicious food. You could find them slouched on the roof to get some sun on most mornings. They’d race to the rooftop, play hide and seek, jolt awake at the slightest sound of opening biscuit packets and mention of food, bring gifts from the dumpster, and throw up after this foray. Their daily routine brought with it a sense of familiarity and comfort. They stayed with us for a year and brought us a lifetime of happiness.
They were dragged away one morning after several complaints from neighbors. I hope that we could have said our good-byes. The next few days were a haze; phone calls, scouting, social media inquiries, The evanescent moments remain etched in my memory. Their absence is marked by the empty bowls, the torn mats, the tiny sheets, the half-empty tubes of ointments, their sounds of arrivals – ducking under the gate to enter the home, the sound of paws upon the cemented stairs as they’d snake upwards to the first floor, the growls during squabbles which would end in a silent treatment for a few minutes( they don’t hold grudges). Though their belongings have been tucked away, the absence finds its way to the tender heart and sits there for a long time. That heaviness is their way of communicating with us; that they remember and hope we do too. “Brownie” – the good old boy (see the last picture) remains with us.
If there is anything that you must hold on to for dear life, it is your memory. It is a reminder of a life lived, albeit etched with suffering and hardships. So remember all your furry friends, go through their pictures, belongings, favorite toys, favorite spots, and remind yourself that you were blessed to have them by your side.
Here are some movies and TV shows featuring dogs. Get some tissues ready.