That’s who she was, someone on the go, having seen so much in her nearly 15 years of life. Here’s to you Paru!
“How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?” (song reference, Maria, from The Sound of Music) That question so describes Paru, a darling, not a headache, a flibbertijibbet, a will o the wisp, a wave upon the sand, a cloud so hard to pin down… An angel of a fur baby with the temperament that was all friendly and cuddlesome. (We, as a family, refuse to call them just dog or cat. I know, it’s … hatke!)
She was a wee mite, abandoned outside my parents’ home, early March, 2006 – maybe a month or six weeks old, wailing pitifully! It was afternoon, and we’d had lunch. I went out, picked her up and she sniggled right in as if she belonged. They know, so much better than us, don’t they?
Appu, our year old, lanky, perpetual ball-in-the-mouth Alsatian, was in residence. A young male, likely to be aggressive to a wee pup? Nah! This was Paru. She had him twisted right around her adorable self, almost immediately. I have an audio-less video of her playing with him, the afternoon she arrived. How gentle Appu was! How endearingly energetic Paru was! By evening, they had become inseparable – till Appu went onwards ten years later.
As she grew, by leaps and bounds, literally, (she scaled, jumped over the compound walls and went walkabout, greeting all and sundry affably, so much so that she was soon the naattukkarude ammai 😛 ), we knew we had to give her her head… And what a gorgeous head she had complete with a one in a million Railway Signal Ears 😀 As her human siblings (us, kind of) had received, she too received her dose of discipline, and loads more unconditional love, and more freedom to wander – she knew where home was, no doubt!
By the close of the year, November, 2006, she had become distinctly rounder – just before she could be spayed, and she gave us Christmas gifts on 26 December, 2006 – 7 pups in all! I was the mid-wife 😀 The oldest was Kuttan, my very own bachcha! Kuttan of the pointy ears! (My younger son maintains that Appu must have been his dad, for there remained between then for the next ten years a simmering aggression – sigh!)
Our extended family was growing – Chinnu, my lab, Kuttan, and Malu our cat, later Mia joined, all of them at my place, and Paru, Appu at my parents! Her pups were all adopted at about 6-8 weeks, but Kuttan stayed on with me.
My younger brother says she is so much my Mom, who loves their home in Cherplassery more than any other place! Paru would, maybe, tolerate a couple of days away from there, but after that she would pine to be back there. Once she had to stay with me, Chinnu and Kuttan for about three weeks, while Appu and my parents went to stay with my YB. Three days into her stay with us, she had had it. Each day, she would go and sit in the car, if I opened and door, and sit, patiently waiting for me to get in and take her home. When my parents finally returned and she joined them, she refused to go to my mother for a whole evening. It was the next morning before she forgave my mother. Ever since, my mother has never separated Appu and Paru, neither has she left her anywhere else other than her home, with me babysitting her 😊
She would unfailingly visit our neighbour after she had her late afternoon snack of biscuits, and spend some time with them, for they too had biscuits ready for her. To say that they miss her just as much is an understatement. Every person here, in cpl, knew her so well, and would come home to enquire about her if they did not see her for a few days.
When she finally breathed her last, so many of them came to pay a condolence visit with my parents! Towards her later years, maybe the last 6 to 7 years, she was prone to panic attacks at loud sounds – firecrackers, thunder, heavy rain. Her way of dealing with it was to run out to wide open spaces. She hated to be home then. Soon we learned to recognize the signs, and would keep her indoors till the worst had passed. It was difficult as she would be restless, trembling, chew up corners of the furniture. Poor dear!
Arthritis soon caught up with her, and the past couple of years have been hard. She would still walk, run out in panic, but it was a laboured walk. A couple of years ago, she went missing on Vishu day amidst the firecrackers. She was still missing the next morning, and my Mom had sent out search parties, calling people, she herself going out to look for her. Soon news reached about a dog located at the bottom of a dry well, a bit shallow, thankfully, and lined with dried coconut palm leaves. Paru. Miraculously unhurt! That was in 2018. It was the worst, we thought.
Next year. Vishu. She went off at the loud sounds again. She was almost 14 years by then. She did not return that night (as she usually would), not the next day. Panic was beginning to set in at home, and soon, my YB and I arrived to search too. He from Bangalore, I from my son’s place. She went missing on Monday afternoon. Tuesday, Wednesday (we arrived) passed. We got posters made, with my mother’s phone number on it, her red collar, her friendly face, her red collar … all there. It was shared on social media, on whatsapp, put as flyers in newspapers. Wednesday passed, nothing. I was constantly on the edge, close to tears. Thursday morning, we began early, scouting the hill nearby, where she was sighted. Each time we went in the direction she was supposed to have taken, it appeared we missed her by an hour or so… This went on till evening. It was four days now, our 14 year old, arthritic Paru was missing – at this point Mom said, I just wish I could know and see her, I need to know. Acceptance was being prepared.
That night, Thursday, it rained. Thunder, lightning. YB said, I’m going. She’s bound to be out and walking. We’ll find her. Mom joined and so did SIL and I. 9.30 pm in the rain, saw the red Wagonar, with three women hollering Paruuuuuu Paruuuuuu, on the roads a few kilometres away, where she was reported to have been sighted.
Suddenly, mom’s phone rang. The voice at the other end said, Your Paru just passed us by, she looks scared. You must know, it was night, raining, dark. Where, where, asked Mom. Turned out, we were 2 minutes away, around the corner! YB vroomed there. I jumped out, and three young men, pointed the way down a dark curving narrow lane. There, they said. I ran.YB parked the car. Mom and I were racing down, shouting her name. And there she was, turning around to look, unable to believe her eyes!. She came to me, snuggled right into my arms, like that first time!
Thanking the powers that be, thanking these young guardian angels sent down for her, for us, we picked up our precious treasure and headed home. What a moment that was. I still have goosebumps when I think back to that moment. Another few moments, and the time would have passed when we would ever see her again. That age? One never knew. Serendipity that time and space and the numerous prayers and blessings worked!
This was last year, 14- 18 April, 2019. As the months passed, she mellowed, became slower, her legs a bit more stiff. My mother was the North on her compass, and she’d miss her terribly even if she went on a short errand. She suddenly seemed unusually fragile. Last year, we thought she wouldn’t see another Vishu. But she did. This year, 2020. She couldn’t find energy to go out much, and stayed in.
In September, this year, she took seriously ill, unable to stand for long, unable to walk steadily, and had to be helped to go out to poop and pee. A couple of weeks of constant care, nurturing saw her gaining strength, but the signs were there that she was just taking care to see we were not troubled by her.
She waited till December, I think, to celebrate my parents’ 60th anniversary in the first week of December, spend some time with us. The last couple of days must have been really difficult, though it was only Mom and Dad with her then. She did not linger, she did not give them any trouble, but after the visit to the Vet, on Saturday morning, she quietly lay down and let go.
What matters is that she is no more in pain, no more difficulty in walking, and she’s joined her tribe to make it their special foursome, Chinnu, Appu, Kuttan and Her, gambolling away, in Pet’s Paradise, though they must all be waiting to meet us, in lifetimes to come. I firmly believe that.
Funny, isn’t it? All the while, when we think we have rescued them, we fail to understand and appreciate this one simple fact – it’s US, each of us who is rescued, when we love and cherish them. No one, not a single person, will ever love you, like they do. We’re given the privilege and honour to share their love. May we never forget that. To all the fur babies I’ve known and been rescued by, and most of all to you, dearest Paru – Thank You.
Peace,my darling girl.
Paru – early March 2006 – 19 December, 2020