He revels in it – taking turns at being a darling and being abominable. There was a time, the briefest of periods, when he could drive me into a rage – my mood would be wrathful – but that, as I very well realized at the time too, was my own shortcoming in handling my inability to stay and manage, alone. Now I dare not think back, it’s not a pleasant memory.
And then, he fell ill and that was when, probably our bond grew manifold. I discovered how much I truly cared for him and he too preferred to respond preferentially to me. That period we lived in constant terror, ‘coz we were nearly convinced that it wouldn’t be long and it was grievous that it had to be this way. The fact that he pulled through and stayed to see this day is a tribute to his resilience and also a miniscule part – to our love and care – I’d like to believe.
But then, I have to begin at the very beginning! Our relationship started a little over two years ago – when I began a new journey as the bride in the household. He took to me like a fish takes to water – well, almost! – never once questioned my existence in his house/ domain/ territory – never a growl of admonition. And I, to my credit, behaved equally well – didn’t pretend like he was unknown and unwelcome. I knew I liked him, somewhere deep down, simply because I knew I liked them all; but was careful not to let him get too near – I had seen him interact with the others members of the family – lets say, it was an act that I didn’t much care for, at the time. Well that was how it was – live and let live – till the time it was only the two of us – me v/s him.
I was alone and fancied myself helpless. The world was unfair – I wallowed in self deception and needed a vent for my frustrations and he was the only one at home. I blamed him for being difficult and adding to my miseries. In short, I had a torrid time and may be, so did he.
Things were hunky-dory soon enough and it was back to the normal times. A few months and then his health failed – the turn of events and the circumstances at home acted as harbingers. Those were days when he wouldn’t eat a morsel nor care for a drop of milk. It looked bleak when his favourite bread and chapathi invoked no reaction from him – not even a turn of the head or the customary twitch of the nose. We were heart-broken, to say the least. The doc didn’t give us false hopes either – it was a difficult situation to recover from, he said. We did all that we could – cared for him like a child – handled his refusal to eat and disinclination for any activity with utmost patience, persevered and finally triumphed – he soon limped back to normalcy. Boy! Was I glad to see him polish off the last morsel and hanker for more bites?! 😀
Somewhere in the midst of all this my stance fell off I guess – I now had sudden bursts of longing to pat his head and nose and sweet-talk with him. I now looked forward to the royal welcome reserved and accorded to his favourite folks who return home after an absence – be it a few hours or days or months. You would be received right at the gate-front in a tone stamped with the authority of approval and demand to be spoken-to first and petted with special cuddling of his neck and under-belly. After the initial round of pawing and frolicking, he would be content having you scratch and rub the aforesaid areas while he looked on with satisfactory grunts. The joy of being welcomed so, is beyond any reception any human can offer.
If you haven’t guessed already, this has been about our dear pet – Pluto. Supposedly, a cross of the German Shepherd with some other breed, he looks (and behaves too, sometimes :D) like a mongrel. But as I said at the very beginning, he sure can be a darling when he wants to; otherwise he is busy getting on our nerves and driving us crazy with his tantrums to forever be let inside the house.
Though this seems to be a happy-home story, there are undertones of sadness to my post here – for, even as I write this, I know it won’t be long – before he needs to be given away. The circumstances at home and anticipation of the future months have necessitated this tough decision. It has been an association of nine long years for my hubby and family and it will be anything but easy.
I pray and hope for the strength of character and mind that will help us get through this difficult phase and above all, we hope to have this done in the least painful possible way for him.
Have any of you had to deal with similar situations where you had to give away old pets? What did you do? How did you manage to get through with the separation? Let me know – maybe, just maybe, it will help alleviate the trauma a wee bit!