On 30th October, 2004, in the wee hours of morning, between 8 a.m. and 8:15 a.m., my best friend – my dog, Jacky – passed away. It was totally unexpected and took all of us by profound surprise and shock. I was by the side of Jacky during his last moments when he passed away. He gasped for breath twice or thrice, and then, suddenly stopped breathing anymore. His tongue came out and life passed out from his mouth. I couldn’t help, and tears came out naturally, uninhibited.
Earlier, Jacky was suffering from some fever. He did not eat any food for two days and was lying in a static place and position for two days. Apparently, he had contracted some pain due to which he was unable to eat. I called up a vet doctor named S.N. Rao (supposed to be a veteran of 34 years experience). Rao came from Nallakunta in the morning and after seeing the dog, took out four syringes. When I questioned him the logic in giving the dog injections when it was starving for the last two days, he said it didn’t matter and that the conditions were ideal for giving injections. He gave 4 injections to Jacky – three on his left buttock and one on his right. Jacky was in great pain, having not eaten any food for two days. But still he bore the pain with a bold face and a brave heart – an act that I appreciated sincerely from the bottom of my heart. Moreover, he did not even howl or whine and accepted the injections without any demur! Honestly speaking, though the injections were given to him, I felt the pain and I could not tolerate him taking four injections at one time, and that too when he was starving since two days. The doctor charged a fee of Rs. 250 for the four injections, but I later gave him only Rs. 200.
After giving the injections, the doctor gave us a brief lecture on the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of maintaining a dog. He also strongly advised us to get our dog vaccinated against rabies, besides scaring us of fatal consequences, if we failed to do so. When we told him that Jacky was not vaccinated with anti-rabies injection since birth, he said that it should be done immediately to avoid danger to the dog as well as to the other family members. He also went so far as to advise all the family members to get three doses of anti-rabies vaccine injected around our navels! The doctor then left our home and promised to call us later to know the status about Jacky’s progress of health.We later gave Jacky some milk and biscuits, and finally he got up in the evening and started walking around a little. We were all happy for him at home. In the night, we fed him with rice mixed with milk.
But the next day he was limping, and much to our surprise, we found that he had contracted a big swelling on his left foreleg, which was as big as a table tennis ball! He did not eat anything the following day after the doctor had given him four injections. He was again lying in a static place and position. This time, we were almost about to call the doctor again, but he himself appeared suddenly on 26th October, 2004, much to our surprise. This time, he saw the swelling and said that the dog was writhing in pain due to the abscess. He gave three more injections this time – the first, a painkiller, the second, for the abscess, and the third was an anti-rabies injection. Besides, he took a new blade from us and cut the infected part of the dog to remove the abscess. I could not bear all this cruelty and was asked to close my eyes by the doctor, which I did. After cutting the wound, the doctor then took a walking stick and pressed the butt of the stick against the wound to elicit the abscess. The dog was whining in pain and his voice really rent my heart long and deep. This time, the doctor asked Rs. 250, but I bargained for Rs. 200 and paid him the sum.
We thought that Jacky would be able to walk now after the abscess had been busted, since the pain would have subsided by then. But, it was not to be. Jacky did not eat anything again and was lying in a static place and position, totally flat on the ground. We tried all our best to pamper him and coax him to drink milk or eat biscuits, but to no avail. Later, he drank only a few drops of milk, very reluctantly though. I called up the doctor and told him of the situation. He suggested giving boiled egg to the dog. I bought the egg, but did not give him, as he was unwilling to eat anything and was not even opening his mouth. He could not even get up and piddled in the same place where he was lying.
Jacky’s plight continued for four long and arduous days. He couldn’t get up nor even move an inch, as he did not eat anything – neither food, nor milk, nor water – for four consecutive days. Obviously, he must have become very weak and lacked the strength to get up, stand or move. For one whole day, he was at one place lying flat on the ground. Then on another day, he would be in another place lying statically in a prone position on the ground. We were, however, surprised as to how he managed to move from one place to another, as it happened probably at night without our attention. He starved himself for 4 consecutive days and as if waiting for death, he was struggling for life.
Then, finally on the morning of 30th October, the inevitable happened. I got up at 8 am and was brushing my teeth. To our shock, I saw that Jacky was lying flat on the ground, but outside our doorsteps. We were surprised as to how he managed to move some two to three feet, as he had not eaten anything for four days. I pitied him a lot and was just stroking his head. He already seemed to be almost in a ‘dead posture.’ Suddenly, he gasped for breath twice or thrice and…….. and then, his life went out through his mouth and his tongue came out. He breathed his last. My tears broke out naturally and I cried more than once. A trusted, loyal, honest and helpful friend passed away, leaving all of us in this terrible and lonely world. I took a snap of Jacky after it died as a last memory.
I was totally shattered and though I was getting late, I didn’t feel like going to office. But, then I didn’t want to take leave and was constrained to leave home. I left home reluctantly and as I was traveling to office on my bike, my eyes became moist, not by the pollution, but by the profound love that I had – and still have – for my dog. All through my way to office, I was just thinking about Jacky and shedding silent tears. I always treated him as my younger brother – as I don’t have one – and showered all my unadulterated love upon him. He was with me for 14 long years – a time long enough not to grieve or to forget anyone so soon! He had become so much a part of our family and me. Whenever I used to eat anything, I always used to give half of it to him.
Today, whenever I eat something, I look for him to give him the other half. But, alas! He is no more with us now. Without doubt, he will continue to command my love, attention, and memory for many more years to come!
But, as I analyzed the reasons behind his death, I feel all the more tragic. He was intelligent enough not to cause us any trouble and died outside the doorsteps. He knew that the inevitable was coming and sustained his life long enough to die in front of my eyes. Never before had I personally witnessed a life passing away from me – either human or animal! Hence, it shattered me all the more. Even today, whenever I think of him, tears flow down naturally. But, I couldn’t help thinking that the doctor knew that the dog would die, and still came to our home the second time and gave three injections to Jacky just to extract some money out of a dying soul! Can people be really so cruel? The doctor was in his late fifties and perhaps was a perfect embodiment of the saying, “As a man grows old, his greed grows young.”
I sincerely pray to all the Gods that Jacky’s soul rest in peace forever. God bless him and his gentle soul!
(c) 2006. P. Mohan Chandran. All Rights Reserved