Comic Candor

A Pet Peeve

Are You A Keeper?

In a short span of 3 weeks I've heard 2 stories of people getting a dog, only to relinquish the pet. The first, a golden retriever, fresh off the breeder. The mom caved under the pressure. Luckily an interested family took the puppy. Happy ending!

In the second case, a blogger an advocate for adoption, posted the family was considering adopting a dog, her 3 kids were under 10, my respect grew. That was a lot on her plate already. Bloggers put everything out there in the open and when you follow them, you connect because you find a common thread. I woke up one Saturday to a post saying the dog had to be relinquished to the shelter, the reason - self-care.

I grew up with dogs but I wasn’t a dog person. My brother was a crazy-animal -lover- cum-rescue-every- animal- kid. He brought home birds with broken wings, chicks that just hatched, stray mongrels and my mum, an overworked working mother of 3, never told him to give it back! In fact, I have memories of her sticking Mistie in a tub for a warm bath. Pouring milk in a bowl. Putting old towels out for a makeshift bed. When Mistie died we got Bonzo, another mongrel but a rule breaker. He followed my gran to church every morning and once he got breakfast, he scrammed. We didn’t see him till mid-afternoon when the kids returned from school. I remember Bonzo running home one morning, looking anxious. My uncle went after him only to find gran had suffered a fall in church. Luckily, nothing serious but that mongrel taught us loyalty. 

Our last dog was Sherry. She was a 2-year-old yellow Labrador. My brother was told, her owners in the USA didn't want her. He raised his hand up. So there came Sherry. A beautiful beautiful yellow Labrador. I say it twice because labs come doubly cute. She was perfect, except at meal time, when she turned into a demon. I took her for walks. Whoever came home first cooked her food, my sister & brother bathed her and Sherry slept at the foot of my brother’s bed. She stayed home during the day and covered the couch with hair. She rested her head on my mum’s knee when she sat down and posed for my dad’s camera, faithful in the knowledge she was worth it. We took her on our family holiday to my maternal grandmother 's house by train because we couldn't leave her behind. She made that holiday special!

But if you suspect it was all too good to be true, you're right. Suddenly Sherry took ill. She was lethargic, throwing up. My brother took her to the local vet who recommended a vet an hour away. My brother & sister would put Sherry into an auto rickshaw and ride with her for these appointments. She had bile cancer. There was nothing medicine could do to help her. We had very little time. There were lot more trips to the vet, to keep her comfortable. All we could do was be there, pat her, love her and force feed her. She stayed at the foot of my brother’s bed. She puked, we cleaned up. She had no strength to walk, he carried her. He was just a teen but he took full responsibility for this dog. One morning Sherry passed away, at the foot of his bed. He wept, that’s the only memory of him ever crying. We buried Sherry in our back yard. Sherry stayed a mere 2 years with us. My brother never raised his hand up again.