A Precious Life Remembered

9 April, 2011

Filed under: Dogs — admin @ 11:34 am

A Big Little Boy

On our shelf, we have three antique porcelain jars. One is much larger than the other two, pale creamy white with a blue dragon emblazoned across it. This is Husky, and today, 9th April, I took this jar down, wiped it and looked at the bleached white bones within. I touched them, and put them back. My mind travels back, reliving a tale…

Forced to leave the country in a hurry, a dog was left behind. The neighbours were at first puzzled at this dog wandering the compound, alone. Several days later, it dawned upon them that their neighbours have left and were not returning, and their dog was abandoned. By this time, this dog was in a sorry state, taken to lying in the drain, drinking from it, and starving.

A neighbour took it in, and gave it food and water. They decided to keep it as their own. Six months later, their life was no longer what it used to be. The dog had become a handful, and ended up chained up for the safety of the children. They finally decided to give it up, and this dog came to us.

Husky was a 55kg male German Shephard Dog. He was not small, and he was not at peace. In this traumatized state, he came to live with Wolf, a strong-willed female shepherd that didn’t take to other dogs kindly. Husky’s life was as close to a frantic existence as it could possibly get. But things were to get better… much better.

Six months on, he had made a friend, a friend who taught him, guided him and even took care of him. Wolf and Husky got along like they had grown up together. he gradually calmed down, and his own character slowly came to the fore. He became the gentle giant. His weight had come down to a healthy 45kg, and he kept fit with his daily runs around the park.

Throughout his life, he was to carry a fear of loud sounds. Firecrackers would send him into a frenzy, and we still have blood-stained walls in the kennel where he had his battles with his inner demons. Even thunder sent shivers down his spine. During the Chinese Lunar celebrations, where fireworks frightened every living thing for two weeks straight, Husky spent much of it driving around Kuching in his van, with the music blaring.

On 9th April 2007, the day came when we had to make the decision to relieve him of his pains. Several months suffering from advancing lymphoma, he could no longer carry his weight without excruciating pain, and his time had come. He had a good meal, had some pictures taken with his daddy and mummy, had a walk in the garden, and then the vet came. In 10mins, it was over, and Husky suffered no more.

He left behind a deep sadness, a wrenching twisting deep inside our insides, a large void. He brought vigour and life to our existence in several ways. His presence had filled our daily lives, and the large portion of our bed he took up each night was difficult to deal with. However, the sense of giving a life back to one of nature’s creatures cannot be replaced. What we got back was pure joy and satisfaction, but knowing the precious things in life, in the form of another living soul, has no compare.

Husky, we remember you today, and many days in between. We thank you for being Husky. We love you for just you, and we will never forget you… ever.

 

Remembering Wolf 7 years on…

7 October, 2010

Filed under: Dogs — admin @ 8:58 am

our family in 2003

The 7th of October is a special day for us. It is the day our dearest friend, companion and teacher left us. Wolf died just before dawn on this day, seven years ago. Let me recount that day, for it is still fresh in my memory after these years. Wolfie, as we affectionately called her, had cataract in her golden years, and her eyes turned an opaque blue. She also had lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph glands. We will never know how much sight she had in 2003, but my guess was that she was almost totally blind. But amazingly, it didn’t bother her at home. She knew every corner of her home, she could go upstairs to bed, walk around without knocking anything.. she knew exactly where everything was… except the times when we left the shopping on the floor, and she would be most upset when she bumped into it.. “Hey! That’s not supposed to be there!”

Because of her blindness, she herself decided to stop going to the park, which was, and still is, a daily ritual for us all. We have a park in our housing estate, a large tree-covered public park that closes at 10pm every night. Well, that’s according to the sign outside… which we never read, and wolfie didn’t give a hoot about. You see, Wolf was a proud girl. She didn’t like the indignity of falling into a wet drain, or walking into a hedge. But, she wasn’t to be left behind at home when the rest of her family made their nightly walk. She would come along, hop into the back of the van, and sit in the van while the rest of us, Husky and Glo trotted around the park. Then we would all get back in the van, and head home. Husky and Glo would both get a scolding from Wolf when they returned, not because she was upset or anything, it was just her way of telling them don’t be too high-nosed, “I went to the park too!”

That was Wolf, a highly intelligent, strong-willed and confident german shepherd dog. She had serious attitude, a problem only to others who had the honour of meeting and interacting with her. She had a highly developed pack-sense, and took the protection and safety of her family totally seriously. She was 2nd in the hierarchy. Daddee was top dog, no doubt about that, but everyone else… mamee, grandpa, husky and all… were below her. With this elevated position in the pack, she thrived on her responsibility for order and discipline, and the safety and strict compliance of all. She showed especially astute cognition of the condition of a person… with grandpa and grandma, who are elderly, she would stay back and wait for them, always keeping herself behind them.. watching them.. like a shepherd. She behaved the same with young children, never allowing a child to stray from the pack.

On 7th October 2003, Wolf surprised us all. She seemed very anxious to go to the park that evening. One of her moods, we thought… later at night, when park-going time arrived, wolf hopped in the van as usual, followed by husky and glo. Off we went to the park. When we arrived, and all jumped out, so did wolf! We were surprised, since she hadn’t wanted to walk in the dark for months. Anyways, we put a leash on her, and she happily, but gingerly, walked around the park as she had done for the past 6 years. Twice she slipped and put her foot in a drain, but she didn’t seem to mind. 15mins later, she wanted to go back, so we all did. Back home, she ate like a horse! Hmmm, that walk must have really tired her out.

Daddee, tired out from the walkie walkie, went to bed early, about 10pm. At 11.30pm, mamee wakes me up, with tears in her eyes. “wolfie is trying to come upstairs, but she can’t. Her back legs have given up” Wolf had collapsed on the kitchen floor. She was in pain. Her lymphoma had flared up, and it was apparent that she was experiencing organ failure. There was nothing we could do, and nothing we wanted to do anymore. Her time had come…she knew it, and we knew it.

The three of us slept on the kitchen floor for the rest of the night, switching between dozing then holding her as her breathing became slower and slower. By 4am, wolf had slipped into a deep sleep, or maybe a coma.. I couldn’t tell. At 6.05am, she took a deep breathe, held it for a few moments, then let it out. And she was gone.

We cried. They were tears of loss, a deep loss. But the loss was tinged with beautiful things… I was happy that wolf, obviously knowing her time had come, decided to join us for our evening walk one last time. I was happy that we were there with her in her final hours, which helped her relax… knowing she was in the arms of her most dearly loved.

All was well in our world, minus one. And that was fine. We had our time together, and for that we are grateful. Thank you Wolf for spending 10 years with us… we couldn’t have asked for, and received, more!

and a Dog chose to be with man….

12 November, 2009

Filed under: Dogs — Tags: — admin @ 7:41 pm

Glo_portrait

It is perhaps mankind’s greatest gift from the natural world: a fellow species which decided to live with man. Yes, man did not go out and domesticate the dog, the dog chose to live with man. Thousands of years later, they remain our closest animal friends, they show us total and unquestioning trust and love, and enriches every single being that chooses to share its life with a dog. (more…)

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