For ten long years, which, all of a sudden seem to have flown by in less than ten seconds, she gave us of herself. Unconditionally, lovingly, without complaint, and with a whole load of her special brand of love. This one is for you, Chinnu, and for all of us, who have been touched by you, and known you, and known how special you were.
There is always this thing in our family; when guests, visitors, friends, acquaintances, refer to our pets as “cats’/”dogs” (poocha or patti, in Malayalam 🙂 ), we always get them to qualify – not cat/ dog, but Malu, or Chinnu/Appu/Paru/Kuttan/Ammini/Kunji … whoever they might have been referring to. That perhaps is the simplest way to tell you that they were family – much more, and never less than any of us. That is who they were.
Chinnu came to us on 15th March, 2003; picked out from a Kennel full of Labrador pups, the only one who sat in a corner, looking appealingly at us, while the others jostled for attention from the visitors. There was no doubt, we chose each other. Ashwin, my younger son and I, we were the first ones who she drew into her charmed circle of loved ones! 🙂
She worked entirely on her inner biological clock which was set to meal times, and meal times 🙂 Sharp snappy barks indicated it to us… A never let up till I get my fooooood kind of barking 🙂 Those who have labradors will empathize 🙂 Food, swimming and car rides… that is what she lived for 😀 Except for the part about food, the other two could change in order 🙂
I’ve already written about Ammini and Kunji (link) and My extended family (link), and a couple of years ago about the wonder of a non feline called Malu, who quite captured our hearts (link). I was just going through her pictures just now, when I could finally bear to look at them, and I wondered which ones I could share. And I suddenly realized I would not EVER be able to show you how she was, perhaps not even through these words that come through me, but yes, I do want to share, and find that peace in me, for her, and for Arjun and Ashwin, Mummy, Daddy and Vinu, and for all of those people who loved her so. Especially Ashwin’s friends, and her own special favourite, Chandrika.
Her first car trip was memorable 🙂 It’s the stuff of legends for us. I was driving my dad’s Ambassador, and this is ten years ago, with Arjun up front and Ashwin in charge of this two month old bundle of energy, at the back. She kept up a steady stream of barking, till Ashwin was directed to get a couple of biscuits out to keep her quiet. Ashwin blissfully set her aside and opened the tin to get a couple of biscuits out. In that fraction of a second, she had propelled out of the car window, right out onto to the pavement (from a running car, mind you!), done a couple or more cartwheels, and landed winded on the almost-not-there sidewalk. I screeched to a halt, Arjun off and running to get her before she got up and took off again. I thought she was done. Oh no! Not her. There she was, quiet, dazed, but well aware of herself, but, all of a sudden quiet, and docile. That was it, I guessed. We’d shut her up nicely!!! But guess again, is what she seemed to say – in a couple of hours she was back to barking like crazy 😆
The day she discovered water and the lovely feel it had, she was sold on it 🙂 If the gate to the pond at my parents’ place was ever unlocked, she’d find her way into the water and spend as much time as possible, swimming in lazy circles, with such enjoyment! I’ve shared a video on facebook, showing how much she loved this 🙂
The one thing that really put her off, and scared her was loud noises. She’d scoot under the bed and would not venture out till she was sure that the noises would not ever again come back. And she would wait as long as it took! That perhaps, finally, was her undoing.
At ten years, she was healthy, and full of energy. I had already started having this gnawing unspoken terror of when it would be that she’d decide to take off. Turned out too soon. The last week, just after Vishu, she fell ill. Because of loud noises. The crackers set off at Vishu had made her scoot under the bed as usual, and this time she remained there a whole day, without food, and without venturing out. It had happened before and there seemed no need to worry, except that the next day, she developed a mild paralysis of her left hind leg, and therefore found it difficult to walk comfortably, or even stand on her own, and therefore, inhibited her desire to mess up the place she was lying in. No amount of coaxing could get her to take a leak outside, or even inside. This in turn led to a severe urinary bladder infection. All of which she was recovering from, quite nicely.
And this morning, on the way home, from my parents’, in the car, riding shotgun with me, in the passenger seat, with Pratibha and Kuttan at the back, she just gave up and decided to move on to Pets’ Paradise. Just like that. It is still unbelievable … and I need to keep checking, pinching myself, and wondering it really happened.
As my brother says, time really does not heal anything, but lends a capapcity to perhaps live with the loss. We’ve been there before, and having lived through loss often enough, one would think that the next time one would handle it better. Wrong. Each time it’s new. Each time just as heart wrenching. And each time, no matter how much you tell yourself, it’s okay, you’ll get through it, you still struggle.
But then this is not a sad story. It is all about how much of a wonderful life she had, and how blessed we were to be touched by that wonder of her. Unlike our other ‘kids’ she did not ever wear a collar, except when she travelled – a harness usually. She never needed to be tied up or isolated. Indeed, she was the most social of all the people I know 🙂 Labs are like that 🙂 The trusting liquid eyes that are hers have shut, but will stay with me. Even this morning, it was with such enthusiasm that she got into the car, bad hind leg and all … and decided to go ahead of all of us, while she still felt the wind flapping up her ear 🙂
Peace, sweetheart. You are the best. The only human thing, if at all, you could not do, was talk. And you did not need to anyway, did you? 🙂 You loved us, just as we did you. And that is the greatest blessing of all.
But. Oh God. It hurts not to have you around, physically. Say Hello the rest of gang up there from all of us, won’t you 🙂 Till we meet again, Chinnukutty… here’s a big bear hug, and nosey nosey sloppy kisshey kisshey darling 🙂
Dr Brian Weiss (‘Many Masters, Many Lives” ) writes of pets thus:
“Our pets can come to us again in our lifetime, reunite with us in future lives, and greet us on the other side. Unconditional love knows no end.”
Absolutely. We’re going to meet up sometime, that is definite. Perhaps another lifetime, but meet up we will, Chinnu. We can’t not 🙂
23 April, 2013