By SHIVANI RAM
This is a story of our two dogs, Dusky and Vrinda. The story took place a few years ago but what happened is still fresh in my mind, so recounting the events of this story is, for me, the sharing of a timeless experience.
Dusky is of mixed breed – Labrador and Alsatian. Vrinda is a female Pug. She is a pure-bred, and came with a dog birth certificate when my son bought her as a little pup.
My son Senthil was then studying in a college in Jakarta. He phoned us one day to inform us of his purchase. We did not object although we wondered how he was going to manage taking care of her, but he did, except for this one incident which left a mark on us, and I’m sure, on Vrinda too.
One day a call came from Senthil. “Amma, Vrinda is missing. I have been searching for her since yesterday evening …” His voice broke, as he suppressed his anguish and held back his tears.
I did not know what to do to help, being so far away. I advised him to put up reward notices, informing the neighbours of her disappearance. He did so, and waited. Meanwhile, I prayed for her safety.
Three days passed …
On the fifth day, a call came from my son saying he received news of her, and was going out to collect her.
That night, he told us what had happened. The person who delivered cooking gas cylinders to the neighbourhood had seen the posters. He recognised Vrinda, and told my son that he had seen her at a couple’s home. The gas tank seller took him there but Sen learnt, to his dismay, that she had been sold to a pedlar on the street. The lad, then took him to the pedlar who kept her in a cage, waiting to sell her off.
Vrinda was all huddled up in the little cage, so dazed and traumatised that she could hardly recognise her owner. It took Senthil a full month to nurse Vrinda back to her old cheerful self.
After his studies, my son brought Vrinda home to Malaysia via Singapore, where she was quarantined for two weeks.
Before Vrinda came, Dusky was the only dog we had.
Dusky took one look at Vrinda, and turned and bolted, with Vrinda hot on his heels. But now, they are the best of friends, except when one of us happens to be near Dusky; then she just looses her cool, and keeps on barking. Her eyes will bulge with anger, and her sharp volley of barks seem to border on abuses hurled at him.
Dusky takes it all with the calmness of a sage. He knows that she is but a little upstart.
Then the day came for Dusky’s turn to be out in the cold, without food or shelter. When I returned home at dusk that day, Dusky sneaked out of the gate. Soon, he had gone some distance away.
I followed him, calling out to him to return, but to no avail. He threw a cheeky, defiant look over his shoulder, and continued with his escapade.
When I arrived home, I hoped he would find his way back, but he never did. We took the car out in search of him but could not locate him anywhere. Sadly, we returned home that night.
Every day, we would drive out in search of him but return unsuccessful.
The days passed…
On the 11th day, my husband came home from work, smiling.
He led me to the car saying, “I have a surprise for you.’’ And there, all huddled up was Dusky. Bedraggled and dazed, all shrunken and bony, he slowly jumped out of the car. He looked at us tearfully.
My husband had found him sniffing the tracks made by our car, trying to follow the route that my husband takes every day.
Nowadays, Dusky still goes out once in a while but does not wander far.