A child of destiny

This final part had been the hardest to write and though written long ago, I couldn’t bring myself to post it. It brought back too many memories. You might have wondered why Joey never figured in any of my posts, why his latest photos didn’t grace my blog. You can read about Joey here and here if you have not read the first two parts, in order to make sense out of the last one in this series.

We had brought home the little bundle of black fur rescued from the streets with all intentions of keeping him with us, but soon it became apparent that we were not equipped to raise another ‘kid’. A pet is like an infant and at least till he is old enough to be left alone, needs constant watching over, especially one like Joey that had been adopted quite early and who had no canine social skills. I was too ill to even take Joey for his walks when the L&M went out of town. Neighbours offered to help but could not oblige regularly. The part-time maid couldn’t cope with his frisky nature nor did she have the time. You could not reason with a pup and if he had to ‘go’, he had to and right then and there.

After many sleepless nights we came to the sad conclusion that we would have to find another home for him. So began our search. It was not easy. Everyone who saw him loved his looks and antics but backed off when they came to know that he was a ‘desi’ pup aka mongrel. We rejected some because we didn’t trust them to care for him as he deserved to be. He was one loving pup and could melt our hearts with his soulful look or naughty ‘smile’. I swear he could smile.

It was depressing. Then a friend told us about his driver who was looking for a desi pup. He had two children and their dog had died recently. He asked if we would give him Joey.

‘We are not well to do, but we will give him love and care,’ the man said when he came home that day. Joey meanwhile began dancing around him and nipping away at his shoes. The friend vouched for his driver’s credentials and we felt comforted that we would have information about Joey’s welfare and if not satisfied we could always bring him back.

Despite all the reassurances, suddenly I changed my mind. ‘Let me think for a day,’ I said, unwilling to take the final step. The L&M who was also not so happy about giving him away, readily agreed. But the next day I had a bad migraine and it was a nightmare. Between my splitting head and an excitable pup, I went crazy. We had to take a decision even if it was a bitter one. I picked up the phone to call the driver over.

I will never forget the day Joey was to leave. He pecked at his food, which was very unusual for him, as he normally devoured everything I put in his bowl. He came and lay near my feet and kept looking at me soulfully, almost making me change my mind again. I could swear that he knew he was going away. Finally it was time for him to leave. Joey’s would-be-master didn’t want any of Joey’s things. ‘He would never be able to get adjusted to our place if he still has any connections with his old home,’ he said.

Like a mother sending her child on an overnight trip to a relative’s house, I gave hundreds of instructions about his habits, temperament and routine, and the man politely listened. He clearly knew all about dogs and was confident of taking care of Joey well.

I didn’t want to go but the L&M went with him to satisfy himself about his new home. I hugged and kissed the little thing and with teary eyes handed him over. Joey loved cars and he happily jumped into the car, his head outside the window, barking his little head off at a dog in his street. I felt comforted that he was not moping.

Did he know where he was going? Did he know he would never come back again? Did he know it was the last time he would sit on the L&M’s lap? I cried and kept calling the L&M on his mobile pestering him for a minute by minute account of what was happening.

‘This place is full of kids!” was his first statement. ‘They all know his name and he is enjoying himself!’ was his subsequent comment. ‘He is not even looking at me when I call him,’ he said a while later, a note of wistfulness in his voice.

Was he such an intelligent pup that he knew that that was going to be his new home? Was he mad at us for sending him off and showed his sulk by ignoring us?

Finally it was time to leave since Joey’s new parent was getting edgy. His new home was in one of the dozen small houses that ringed an open courtyard in that lower middle-class locality. What Joey might lack by means of luxury and comforts would be offset by attention, love and care.

It was a wrench for us for many weeks. The carton that was his home, his bowl, his toys, his blanket, his leash….everything reminded us of him. We couldn’t bring ourselves to give them away, not yet. I constantly jumped at the slightest sound of a puppy’s bark. All pups sounded like Joey.

‘He has perfect habits; he doesn’t pounce on his food, but waits to be called to eat; he doesn’t hog his food or keeps eating all day like other mongrels. He behaves like a gentleman!’ said Joey’s new parent when we called to find out about him.

Wow! That really warmed the cockles of my heart. All the weeks of running with him to toilet train him, to teach him to patiently wait for his food, to get him to get into an eating routine – had paid dividends.

Joey’s new parent was not too pleased with our constant calls over the next weeks. He felt that we checked on him because he was poor. We had respected his wish of not going to see him often. I went one step further and decided I didn’t want to go and see him at all. I would not confuse him further, since we were told that a dog never forgets his first master. We had been his foster parents and now he was in his permanent home. We stopped calling since we thought it was unfair to the new parent too.

However, our friend brought us news about his spectacular growth and his settling in at his new home. That should have made us feel better. He was with loving people and was happy. Who knows he would have forgotten his old home?

But I have not been able to get over the guilt of having to send him away, for the times I had scolded him, for keeping him confined when I had no energy to run after him. I caught the L&M wiping away a tear surreptitiously sometimes.

It often made me wonder about the whys of the whole thing all over again. What debt from past life did he owe us for him to have come and given us the pleasure of his company? What did he owe us for having cared for him? And above all, why couldn’t he stay with us?

Postscript:

Once again I found the answer to the above questions a couple of weeks later. Pups, purebred and pedigreed as well as mongrels began dying of some killer virus in our locality. They would be playing one moment and a few hours later would have died. We heard of yet another pup having died every day. One family lost two pups in the matter of a week. Their daughter was inconsolable.

Maybe God had removed Joey from our hands so that he would live. He brought him to us from the streets to save him from certain death and He took him away once again to save his life. Our Joey was indeed the chosen one and I am glad I had a few months to be with him and mother him.

Did we do the right thing by Joey? Do you have the answer?

57 comments

  1. Divya Ranjith · · Reply

    So touching..sad to know that he is not with you now 😦 ..but he had definitely made you feel proud by having the best habits and behaving like a “gentle man” :)…love you Joey.

    Like

    1. Hey Divya, you read the last part. I had got him and raised him before making the painful decision of giving him away. Do read the first two parts too! He was indeed very lovable.

      Like

  2. I am teary eyed – to send Joey away knowingly is probably more painful than losing a dog
    I have treasured all of Snoopy’s belongings and despite constant nagging from my sons to get another pup i simply could not do it – if i lost a son i couldn’t probably replace the loss with another son , the same logic- for two good years the spitz entertained us , enlivened us in every single way! sorry i got a wee bit carried away – lovely post!

    Like

    1. I kept all his stuff too for a long time, but finally gave them away and used on other street pups. The man who had taken Joey didn’t want to take any of his old stuff, though I was thinking, ‘Joey snuggles into that shawl; he loves that ball; he can’t sleep without that soft cloth under him…’
      I never realised the mortality rates of these little things till I saw them being born and then die suddenly after frolicking for some time. We took care of such litters for three winters till we left the city — our way of staying close to Joey. He must have fathered several litters himself now. God bless his cheerful heart. I can empathise with you for not adopting another one. I would rather think that losing Snooy must have been harder, not knowing where or how he is; at least I had given him to another family with children in it.

      Like

  3. Archana · · Reply

    There are two things which i would mention here. well Vinni did tell me abt joey, had seen his pics in his profile.

    Just how joey was there, i had my wobbly. Very playful off white pup. First i saw him was when me and my family were going for a walk. Mom started giving milk to this pup n he was part of our family. Me and bro named him wobbly bcoz he always used to jump around and used to walk slantingly. I loved wobbly more than my bro and he also used to love wobbly but never was the expressing types.

    He was too naughty n loved to chase the neighborhood kids. Never used to bite but loved to scare the kids. One day when we were not there the neighbors called BMP to take away the pet. Poor thing had some broken nails fighting them. Mom and her friend vinutha, somehow got Wobbly back. Later we realized he was a free spirit to be kept in our house. Vinutha aunty later offered to take wobbly to her farm where he can have lot of space to play around. It was a tough decision to see him off. Worst part was he knew we were sending him off 😦

    This whole incident came back to me when i was watching Rise of Planet of Apes. And now when i read your post. I still consider this a failure of my part not to take care of wobbly. Not even able to convince mom n dad not to send him away.

    Apparently he is still damm naughty. He keeps sneaking up on Vinutha aunty s parents or pushing them off balance. Hahha 🙂 I am not sure if he ll still remember me.

    Like

    1. Vinni had been there when we brought Joey home and was much against our decision to let him go, arguing that he would make great company for us. Alas, the flesh was weak even when the spirit was raring to go 😦

      Wobbly sound so awww. It must have been a wrench to let him go to the farm of your mom’s friend. The circumstances are uncannily similar. And no, he would never forget you once you have been his friend. that’s why I never wanted to visit Joey after giving him away.

      Like

  4. Hi. Very well written. I’m a dog lover and totally understand how you feel. We had a dog many years ago – a real item he was! – dogs can bring so much warmth to our life. Of course you did the right thing. Joey is happy and well cared for. You gave him to a loving family and did not abandon him. So kudos!

    Like

    1. Welcome here Deepa and thanks for the comforting comment. It was a very difficult post for me to do and went on delaying the last part since it brought back memories, which culminated in my feeling rotten about sending him off like that. Thank you.

      Like

  5. Hi,

    Just read your posts and was not commenting till i came to this one.

    I had a mongrel(Called him BONKERS) at home for 11 years. Had to give him away last november due to his and my mom’s bad health and had to choose. I agree its the worst feeling, but its only good for them and you if u keep distance.

    Well i can tell u one thing, they are the wisest of all and know what is happening. Bonkers always knew when someone was going away from home, he would be extra affectionate to them. He knew when and why we behaved the way we did.

    We called him our mom’s spoiled kid and the house is not the same without him but i still smile when i see a pic or talk about him.

    Like

  6. Beautiful post Z! and what an adorable puppy…i could just eat him up!

    Like

    1. Oh, please don’t even try! apparently he has grown into a large black dog with a ferocious bark! I so miss him!

      Like

  7. Such a lovely post…reminded me of my own dog who is no more with us.beautiful post..so heartfelt.

    Like

    1. Thanks Surabhi. I am so sorry about your dog. You must miss him terribly.
      Do you have a blog? What is the link to it? The url in the comment takes me to WordPress.

      Like

      1. Yes I do miss him…he was a sweetheart…a black Labrador, his name was Boozoo.yes I do have a blog the link is http://indianvalueswevalue.wordpress.com/

        Like

  8. Dear Zephyr,

    such a lovely post.

    I am not sure I have the answer but I share your love for the desi pup and I believe they are the most intelligent and beautiful creatures. I also share your heartbreak of having to say goodbye, for I had to be by the deathbed of our “pudding” who had to be put to sleep as she was in a coma and was in tremendous pain. Pudding came to us when she was 1 month old, and left when she was eleven years old. It is over five years that she is gone not a single day passes by when I do not think about her.

    Perhaps you will never know whether you did the right thing with Joey …. I believe that is not even important but perhaps what is important is what has he left with you … they come to us to offer us gifts and leave them behind even when they are no longer with us.

    I am sure you know what they are. love

    Like

    1. Hey Sharbori, where have you been all these months? Missed you here.

      I am so sorry to hear about Pudding. It must have been terrible to see her go. I can’t forget a scene akin to that in Marley and Me. You are right about their showing us their love. After Joey, I can never show my anger at any dog, always seeing bits of him in them.

      Like

  9. I finally managed to read all the three parts. I remember my mom sheltering a mongrel when I was very small. It was not allowed inside but we raised him in the garden. But then he got mad and I remember amma being so very sad and I had wondered why.
    Today I understand that she had mothered him and how big was her loss.
    Touching post.
    What you did was right. Just as we raise kids and then let them go for their own good, thats what you did with your ‘adopted son’ too.

    Like

    1. Oh your poor mother! It must have been a wrench of the worst kind. At least I just let Joey go to another home and still feel the loss. And thanks for reading through the whole tale 🙂

      Like

  10. i am too embarrassed to say few more minutes on this post and i would have had tears in my eyes. i have a soft corner for doggies and have seen umpteen times how they easily become part of family. My mom and now my wife never let me keep one.. i cant blame them. i am too lazy to care for them and they too tired with all the work at home anyways..
    i know how sad you would have felt zephyr.. god bless joey!

    Like

    1. Aww Mayank, that was sweet. It is not too late to have a pet, if your kid is fond of them. Pets love kids and vice versa and the main thing is that they get young company to frolic around. As for your mom, she would be the first one to start loving the pup/dog, believe me. If you have space in your Mumbai flat, maybe you could think of getting one.

      Like

  11. So touching mam! We too had a pet Caesar and we had to leave him away for a month in a shelter home. When we came back, he came home very sick and stayed with us for just 6 days. Your story with Joey reminds me of him. Its a difficult moment to leave pets away.

    And this post is explicitly beautiful! Felt and written!

    Like

    1. That is very sad Nandhini. One of the things about keeping pets is that when we can’t take them with us on travels, they need a good place to stay. I have heard of friends and neighbours who offer to keep them and then turn them loose when they can’t do it. With the result that they get run over or die due to neglect, as in the case of Ceasar. It must have been so terrible. Now I am glad that we gave Joey away — he is alive in a loving home.

      Like

  12. A very touching write up, raising a pet is a very very responsible thing. And you did the right thing by finding a lovable home for Joey. I too have a pet, her name is Zia. After reading this post, I ran to her and gave her a hug. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post 🙂

    Like

    1. I found it very touching too that you felt the need to hug Zia after reading about Joey. You are right. He is happy in his new home and for that I should be thankful too. 🙂

      Like

  13. heart-wrenching !!! 😦

    Like

    1. Welcome here Diggi. It is indeed sad but also liberating to talk about it.

      Like

  14. That was another awesome post.Joey is really cute ,I’m happy for him…

    Like

  15. touching post
    i had one
    dad gifted me wen i was in 2nd standard
    we grew up together
    but he died wen i went to college
    i cried for days & still miss him dearly
    my Snuggy 😦

    Like

    1. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I am glad that Joey went off to live healthy and happy with another family. He went away but so what? At least he is alive. 🙂

      Like

  16. It is very difficult to let go of one’s pet when you love him like a child.

    Like

    1. How true Asma! welcome to my space and thanks for the comment. 🙂

      Like

  17. You did the right thing

    Like

    1. Welcome here Talha. Thanks for the comment. Visit again 🙂

      Like

  18. Such a touching post !
    Like they say, ‘everything happens for the best’, though at the time we may not feel so ! Joey came into your lives for a reason and now he where he is for a reason too ! You took care and looked after him when he needed that critical care and he was very happy with you all. Believe that it was to be and that now he’s happy in his new home now.Certainly a destiny’s child !!

    Like

  19. Its always for the best! I am sure, Joey was well cared for and that what matters. Maybe now you can get a new pet!

    Like

    1. Oh no. We have realised that it is not possible to raise another ‘child’ at this stage of our lives, which is why we had to place Joey in a loving home.

      Like

      1. This post came to be published after a lot of deliberation. I know that we should accept that everything happens for the best, but sometimes the heart refuses to listen and mopes. But I am so glad we found a loving home for Joey.

        Like

  20. Hi,
    Your post is featured on Blogjunta editor’s choice for Marc 2nd 2011. Visit our site http://www.blogjunta.com for more details.
    Drop us a mail to claim your badge

    Like

  21. Very touching incidence.. Life mysteries are really very difficult to decode..
    You love Joey more than anyone else here.. Just close your eyes, and ask yourself the question… I think there is no better person than You to answer that.

    Like

    1. How true! You know, sometimes it becomes important to get endorsement of your actions by those you trust to give you the right response. That’s all. For the rest, it was your action or rather you were the instrument of God when the decision was taken. Only, the human mind keeps slipping from this realisation and begins questioning.

      Like

  22. I know I’m too young to give you advice n al but don’t keep asking yourself the same question, its over! :)..

    Like

    1. Very sage advice. How simple it is to move on. Am still learning the art of doing that. Thanks 🙂

      Like

  23. Destiny is strange indeed! And yes, though it must have been difficult for you, giving him up was the right thing to do….

    Like

    1. Yeah and I am glad that he is still alive possibly due to his going far away from the killer virus.

      Like

  24. Although it must have made you feel miserable, as I gather, but you did right by Joey. My mum loves dogs (for that matter every animal I suspect) but refuses to deal with the rearing of another pup on her own now that ‘the little ones are flying from the nest’ (as she puts it) thus leaving without a helping hand. As it is even though we have a 5 year old, am sure she is nothing but an overgrown pup 🙂

    Like

    1. Your mom was lucky that she had you guys when she had the pup growing up. Taking care of an older dog is supposed to be easier, though I don’t know about that. She is right about not being able to take on another pup. It is very tiring physically. She must be happy enjoying the company of the ‘overgrown pup’ as you put it 😀

      Like

  25. A pet is like a family member, needs to be nurtured like a child and is fiercely loyal and loving.

    And as you said, Joey was destined to live, that’s why you had to let go of him.

    Like

    1. I console myself saying that in the larger scheme of things we have no control over things and they always happen for the best. If nothing, Joey is alive and well today and there is no way we could have handled it had something happened to him like all those other pups.

      Like

  26. Thinking since morning; what to write, and here is what I have to say.

    What matters? He is safe, well looked after, happy playing with the kids! And that should put all the doubts to rest.

    You still remember him and I can bet he will affectionately pounce on you the minute he spots you, isn’t it wonderful!

    Not comparing but this story made me correlate it with my niece. She is 15 months and for some reasons staying with my mom for a few days and is very happy, not a minute when she will cry for her mama or dad. I was teasing my sister, look your daughter has forgotten you. And she replied, “What does a baby want, someone who can feed, clean, play and cuddle her to sleep? Her needs are met and hence have her, what if she needs me, is she okay?

    So as a parent Joey will be in your thoughts forever 🙂

    PS: Apols for a very long comment

    Like

    1. You are welcome to write as long comments as you like 🙂 Your sister is right about her little one not missing her but what about HER? She must be missing her every minute. He would be a father many times over by now, I am sure and all those little Joeys must be a sight to see 🙂 I would like to remember him like that.

      Like

  27. You made it all happen right before my eyes and for once you made me sad. I’m sure the pup was aware of his destiny. It must have been hard for you to write about the parting moments. But it turns out to be a gripping narration and a gem. And now that you have released some of the steam, you must be feeling lighter.

    Like

    1. Thanks Umashankar. You are right about me feeling lighter of heart. But like so many things that refuse to leave your memory, this one act of ours is still niggling somewhere at the back of my mind. He was a baby and so would have grown into the new family as he had into ours.

      Like

  28. that was the rite thing to do amma.. 🙂

    Joey will remember u where he is…

    Like

    1. Thanks Rathi. I am sure he will remember me but I can’t bring myself to visit him. I’d rather remember him as the baby he was when he left us…

      Like

  29. such an awwww post…..
    of course you did the right thing by ensuring joey went ‘home’ and was not abandoned like so many people do when they realise the amount of care, attention and time that is required to ‘home’ a pet.

    Like

    1. Thanks Magiceye. Your endorsement means a lot to me. We could never have abandoned him. In fact, the L&M kept saying that we should get him back, but pragmatism prevailed upon us. I feel so warm all over when I think that Joey must have fathered so many little ones who have been hopefully adopted by loving families.

      Like

Enter the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: