My golden brown cocker spaniel, with beautiful white strategically placed patches.
By the end of his life, he was almost completely blind – inoperable cataracts, slower and was slightly hard of hearing. Otherwise, he was his usual lazy, undisciplined and loving/lovable self.
Remember one of the last lines Dumbledore utters to the death eaters, that goes something like — “it’s old age, if you are lucky you will experience it too.”
It is a ripe old age for a dog – especially a retriever living in Madras.
I am tempted to take a trip down nostalgia lane.
Like when I was late returning home, an angry Goofy would wreck my room – torn scarves, upturned tables and an eyeliner bottle he had chewed (I still have it).
I don’t want to think about the time when my sister, brother-in-law (V), nephew (GK) and Goofy dropped me off at work in (erstwhile) Express Estates, he jumped off to follow me in.
Or of him lying on my old tees, after I left home and moved to Doha.
Every summer, he would gulp down ice cream treats. He was by and large a vegetarian (milk, curd rice, dal, eggs), but for the beef biscuits.
While still living at home I took care of his grooming. Bathing him, trimming his hair, cleaning his ears (very important for his breed), flea picking…
I don’t want to think about the many ways in which he was neglected either… not abusive neglect, just neglect because he was living with two other old beings who were just about managing to keep the machinery of home functional. He definitely deserved more walks, more brushing, more beach trips.
Yet, we all did the very best we could, that’s why he lived long and well…
He was never taught to sit or heel or turn over. He was never taught to fetch. Or rather he refused to learn. Except for my brother-in-law, we were not major dog lovers. We loved Goofy because he was ours. But he broke through all our reservations, and became a constant companion for my parents.
At the beginning, he was my nephew’s pet, but since they lived in an apartment, they moved him to my parents’ slightly more spacious independent house – more specifically into my rooms and the adjoining terrace.
After I left, a kennel was built for him in the coolest part of the compound, shaded by a neighbour’s coconut palms and our papaya and drumstick trees.
V and GK visited him regularly…
V visited him last on Christmas night to console a crying and inexplicably restless Goofy. He wrapped him up in a blanket, tucked him in for the very last time, and went off to attend to my nephew who was very ill and hospitalised at that time.
Well, there I go, I did take that N trip after all…
This post was actually supposed to be about my nephew… I am not religious, but I am kind of superstitious. I do believe that things happen in strange ways, and not everything has or needs an explanation or reason… I believe in genies and vibes. I believe in the power of hope.
I spoke to my distraught sister on 25th December. My 19-year-old nephew’s platelet count was not rising as it should have even after infusion of six units. Dengue was suspected – even confirmed by doctors. That night his platelet count was still under 50,000. They were warned that he just could not afford a relapse. Ever. For the rest of his life.
Early next morning, Goofy died in his sleep. As V and my dad were conducting Goofy’s burial, the most recent test results of GK’s came back. The platelet count was over two lakhs, he tested negative for dengue. My nephew was recovering fabulously and was being discharged.
I thought of it, but didn’t want to voice it… but somewhere, someone had registered a plea bargain. A sacrifice. GK’s very first pet. The very mad, the very loving and the very tame Goofy. Later, more than one person voiced the same idea…
I don’t think I will ever have a pet again, because I am not really cut out to be a caregiver. Cats don’t cut it for me, because they are way too independent. So basically the happy medium between cats and dogs are kids, I guess!
I am not a pet person.
Then again, never say never. After the passing of my mum’s two dachshunds before she got married, she vowed the same – I guess pets have a way of choosing their families.