He stole my heart the day he was born…he came out into the world in my bedroom looking like a rat…a very, very cute rat, his eyes all scrunched up and closed. It was love at first sight!
I named him Bully. He was the first and boy! did he bully the remaining six. He would crawl over them and by sheer size, he would always get his way! And, from when he was 5 minutes old, he had a mind of his own. Pick him up and he’d squirm and make this huge fuss (even now, one of my nicknames for him is Fussy Potty because he can really fuss!). He was one of the last to open his eyes…. I remember picking him up constantly (much to his chagrin!) to check if his eyes were open. And then one day…there he was with fuzzy unfocussed blue eyes giving me this blank stare! I fell in love again!
From then on, it’s been a process of falling in love again…and again…and again. From when he took his first tentative steps into, what for him was, the great unknown. His first bath when I dunked him into a tub. His absolute love for Cerelac. His dada attitude when it came to the other puppies.
Finally, the day came when he had to go away and a large piece of my heart broke…yes, just like a huge bit of the plastering coming away and exposing something untoward. I cried but I was also happy that he would be downstairs…I could see him anytime I wanted…almost anytime.
He was re-christened Cheese, a name I, to date, have not understood. He isn’t a cheesy colour nor is he cheesy or stringy….whatever! Anyway, to cut a long story short, the people we gave him to couldn’t look after him and he came back to us and was re-christened Bully (his first name)!.
Our enduring love affair started then. Wherever I was, he’d be there…this cute black little thing with floppy ears and enormous paws! He didn’t take a piece of my heart, he appropriated a huge chunk!
The honeymoon continued till one day, he got an epileptic fit. Sheer panic gripped me. No one could diagnose what was wrong. The fits became worse and worse and the frequency increased. Till one day, Dr JP diagnosed distemper, My heart sank and I burst into tears…my lovely, handsome labby pup was going to die. But, he reassured me…he has survived; he will live.
The anti-epileptic medication had taken its toll. By now, Bully had been re-christened Hotdog (and boy, was he a hot dog – handsome as hell!). But because of his sickness, he was listless, could barely walk, would slip and fall, hardly ate…it just tore my heart into pieces. There were times, honestly, when I wondered whether putting him to sleep would be a more humane option. I could not bear to see this lovely, affectionate, handsome, active baby suffer.
Prayers and faith can bring about miracles. Of course, I stopped working for two months and devoted myself to my baby. I even got someone to come and give him Ayurvedic massages. He was put on a cocktail of Vitamin C, Calcium and Neurobion (some recommended by the vet and some I trawled from the net)…I was willing to try anything to keep this affectionate, adorable boy from slipping away into the netherworld of death or paralysis. And, it worked!
Today, the dog who twitched all the time, who would cry because the twitching was upsetting him, who could barely walk without falling, who had to be coaxed to eat, who I would sob in the night over, wondering if I’d see him alive tomorrow, is a happy healthy, intelligent, responsive dog. And I’m in love…all over again!