It seems it's either a book or a movie that inspires me to write a blog. This time it was the movie, Marley and me. I was watching this beautifully enacted movie on a lazy Sunday morning without bothering to get off from my bed.
While watching this movie, the memories of my first Dog, "Tiger" kept flashing in front of my eyes. Interestingly, Dogs were the last thing you could find in my home and thanks to my Mom; it was the first thing in her hate list.
My desire to have a dog was always dormant until one day when my friend Danny invited me to his house to show the puppies. They were German shepherd cross. I spotted a cute little one and told him its mine.
When I decide to have a dog at home, the primary reason I had in my mind was home safety than anything else. I believed dogs are more agile and trustworthy than any security guard. I failed to convince my Mom to bring the puppy home.
But when she looked at the small creature which anyway I had brought, she couldn't say no. We named it Tiger. Initially, we had trouble feeding milk to it, but later on, we realized it reaches itself to the milk cup by following the noise we made by hitting the bowl.
I sacrificed my sleep on the first few nights to the loud noises of this tiny creature. I was cursing myself for having brought this loudspeaker home. Well, I had done my part by bringing Tiger home, but when it comes to taking care part, it was mostly my parent's job. Laziness had always been my priority.
Owing to my marine training schedules, I stayed very less at home. I returned home after a six months training period and saw that Tiger had grown notably big. It remembered me, and also made very clear to me by its actions that I was its least favourite person at home.
I hardly bothered and started training it for commands. I tried to make it jump by attaching biscuits to strings. All it does is sit down and wait as if the cookie will come down by itself one day.
Tiger, despite being a German shepherd cross, it was short. It had a bushy tail and cat eyes. My Mom always praised it for being intelligent, for finding its food wherever it was (even I do that, but never get appreciated. I wonder why). Tiger gave me a tough time, especially when it comes to morning walks which, in my view, was still midnight.
Even during those walks, I had to run to control it (these stray dogs like bullying Tiger all the time). The Vet too had a tough time injecting it with the necessary vaccines. It was undisciplined Dog, angry at every stranger except for regular visitors and me (I was not much a frequent visitor as well).
When Tiger was small, I remember its head getting struck in our bike's wheel spokes. It was terrible, and there was nobody at home to its rescue. It was me who had returned home unexpectedly early to save its life.
Meanwhile, after my training, I got into an upgrading course, and that means more detachment from home. Tiger, on the other hand, had formed a close bond with my parents and also with my younger brother.
Tiger gets excited by my Dad's incoming scooter noise, long before it is audible to our ears. The word "let's go walking" stirs a spring out of Tiger. It's hard to control its excitement, and by the time the walking comes to an end, we get soaked in sweat.
Severe were those days when Tiger runs out of the house when we keep our gates open by mistake. It's still worse when this happens at night. There were days when I roamed around some deserted territory in the middle of the night searching for Tiger (Many might have got scared seeing me in the middle of fields at midnight.).
After my up-gradation exams, I had come home for a ten-day break. Thanks to the break, my family left to Tirupathi, leaving home as well as Tiger under my responsibility. On the day of their trip, Tiger was sick. It was not eating. This condition was something that kept happening to Tiger many times earlier only to get better soon, so they did not take this seriously and left to Tirupathi.
On the second day, I noticed Tiger was growing weak. It was eating any food. I immediately got in touch with the Vet, who gave it an injection, and it was easy for him on a sick Tiger. He informed that no matter what the sickness is; the sequence of diagnosis is always the same. I consider the Vet and Paediatricians to be unique as they treat someone who cannot say out their problems.
Tiger's condition developed the next day, but all of a sudden, it became worse at night. The Vet spent most of his morning duty for the next few days at my faraway house from the city. However, things did not improve. I started taking Tiger to the Vet's clinic. My uncle, who accompanied me, was worried to see a lacklustre Tiger.
As per the Vet's advice, I started taking Tiger to walks. During these walks, I had to stroll with Tiger than jog, which was the case earlier. As per the Vet's diagnosis, Tiger had a viral infection. When it shits, the smell was so bad that it almost makes me vomit.
I noticed that it had a problem with its stomach. It gets angry when I mistakenly touch it near its stomach. After getting angry, it looks back at me in such a way that it felt sorry for being mad at me. Maybe it had a stomach twist, like the Dog in the movie, Merlyn and Me.
Tiger started missing my family. It began to run to the gate on hearing any passing vehicle sound, thinking it to be my Dad. It recognized my Mom's voice on the phone on loudspeaker. The Vet warned me that the next few days were crucial, and I had to take special care of Tiger. I decided this would be my life's mission until my family comes back; To handover Tiger to them in good condition.
Tiger still had the enthusiasm left in it when I say "let's go for walking". It stopped shouting at stray dogs. It looked sad all the time.
I still remember Tiger coming near me for the first time and sitting beside me when I was having my morning coffee. It looked to me as if it needed comfort. It started getting closer to me. Maybe it had no choice.
Tiger stopped eating its food and continued sleeping in cold pits all day. It stopped running to the gate. All it did was to respond was to my "Let's go walking" call. I started to feel that it comes to the walk for me rather than for itself. My cousin Arthi also made him happy with her visits once in a while.
Finally, the day came when my family was about to return home. I was not successful in keeping Tiger healthy, but it was still better than earlier days. That day I decided to take Tiger to doctor for a checkup. Early that morning, I went to Tiger and said, "Tiger, let's go walking". It looked at me, tried to wake up but it couldn't. All it could do was wag its tail.
I tried to get it straight. It was reluctant. I decided not to disturb it anymore; maybe it wanted some rest. I decided to make an early trip to the Vet, so I went back inside to get ready.
Then I heard my cousin Arthi shouting at the doors "Anna, Tiger is not moving."
I ran down to see a still Tiger. Its eyes still looking at me. I knew it was no more.
I had never seen anybody so close, dead in front of my eyes, till that point in my life.
I was only beginning to know Tiger, and so was Tiger. All my efforts came to vain on the last day.
I had this painful sorrow passing through me. I spent the next few minutes in the washroom, unable to control my troubled emotions. Later that day, we buried Tiger in front of our house. I was happy that I was the only one in my family to share this sorrow face to face. I managed to calm my family for this loss but inside, I was unable to get out of that.
I did not want any more dogs. But on second thought, I believed the security of my family is a priority and decided to go for it. This time I decided to get two dogs so that they have company even when no one else is there. The dogs were named Tiger and Blacky.
Although we have them now, I feel I had made a mistake within. I think that more than the safety and joy they provide, the fear of losing them still prevails. Maybe that's why people fear loving someone too much.
We see a dog born, live and die in a short span; their whole life is just an episode in front of our eyes. They do nothing but to lick us with its dirty tongue and wag its messy tail. But why so much love for it. I feel it's because they don't judge us.
Whether you are rich or poor, smart or dumb, lazy or active, it shows its unconditional love. I remember beating my dogs for discipline, and still, they end up licking me by the end of the day.
Maybe it is safe to say that after all, it's not bad to live a dog's life; "it's loved for what it is and not what it tries to be".