This story is a homage to Naughty and Ceasar, our loyal, faithful and loving dogs, who are no more.
They were part of our family and as dear to us as our own children. Short of love between a parent and child, there may not be another love as pure and wonderful, as the love between a person and his dog. There are several tales, centuries old to illustrate this point. Let me narrate a small tale from Maha prasthanika parva, a part of Hindu scriptures, describing Pandavas journey to heaven.
Mahabharata war is over. Pandavas win the war, described as victory of dharma over evil. Then Sage Vyasa advises them to renounce their kingdom as the purpose of their life has been achieved. Pandavas agreed and thus began their journey from earth to heaven.
Enroute, they befriended a dog, who follows them through out their journey. On the way, Dharamraj Yudhishthira four brothers and Draupadi breathed their last, one by one. Only Yudhishthira and the dog are left. Suddenly, Lord Indira, appears in his chariot and tells Yudhishthira, you do not have to walk any longer.
Come inside chariot and we will be in heaven in no time. But Dharam Raja Yudhishthira refuses saying, no, I will not come without my dear brothers and Draupadi. Indira smiled and said, they are already in heaven. Yudhishthira next question was, ‘can my loyal friend, this dog, come along with us in chariot?’.
Indira says no way! Only you can come in the chariot. This animal cannot come. Yudhishthira asked, How can I abandon my good friend, asks Pandu Putra. Lo and behold, the dog vanished and Lord Dharma stood there. ‘We were just testing you’, he said. Let us go to heaven, together.
You see, even Lord Dharma chose to be a dog to test the Dharam Putra. There could not be a better way to glorify and pay homage to a dog.
First example of domestication of dogs comes from Siberia, where ancient orthodox Siberians started the process 2300 years ago. Remains of the first domesticated dog were found in Bonn -Oberkosel Germany about 14223 years ago. A dog was found buried along with a man and woman.
This timing indicates that the dog was first domesticated generally during the time of Hunter-gatherers which pre-dates agriculture.
Studies indicate that living grey wolf is the nearest living relative of dog.
So, now back to my love for dogs.
Both my dogs, Ceasar and Naughty lived with us for ten years each. Both suffered from incurable diseases and had to be put to sleep on doctor’s advice. Our hearts bleed for them even today.
Caesar came in to our lives about twenty two years ago. I was posted in Kathmandu in the year 1989 as special correspondent of All India Radio for Nepal region. My son Ankur was studying in Nepal in Kendriya Vidyalya, Kathmandu.
My wife stayed back in Delhi as she was teaching in a Delhi Administration school. My daughter Shafina was studying in Lady Irwin college doing her Bsc Hons.
My office cum residence in posh area of Lazem Pat, Kathmandu was quite spacious with a big compound. My son was mostly alone at home as my job kept me mostly out for news gathering. One evening, father and son were sitting in first floor balcony when Ankur approached me with a request. Papa, you are busy with your work most of the time. I feel lonely . Could I keep a dog as a pet for company. A very reasonable demand, I felt. Why did not it occur to me. Sure son, I said, we will bring home a puppy. Ankur hugged me and I said, love you papa.
I spread word among my friends that we need a puppy. One of my friends in Indian embassy helped me and that is how Caesar came to our house. Caesar belonged to the hill terrier breed. They are big in size with jet back long hair and a majestic look. At that time, Ceasar was just two weeks old, a fluffy bundle of joy. My son was beaming with joy. I had never seen him so happy. He straight away took charge of Ceasar.
He gave him a good bath, shampooed his long jet black hair, combed them. Ceasar accepted Ankur as his master and two of them were always seen together. A black dog is considered auspicious, specially in Nepal. They worship black dog on a particular day.
Our neighbours would come with garlands and food to worship Caesar. In Nepal, dog is called kukar. Ceasar was highly possessive. He marked the entire house, including compound and backyard as his territory. He was a great asset from security angle. Csensar hated his trainer and never learnt any thing beyond namaste, sitting on his hind legs. That too, if you offer him some thing to eat.
He had a terrible sweet tooth. We tried our best to keep him away from sweets but it was a impossible task. Sweets are not good for dogs. He was particularity fond of chocolates. Ankur too had equally a strong sweet tooth. He would try his best to conceal them but Caesar always found them out. After polishing off a full packet, he would hide under the bed, till things coolEd down.
Believe me, if you don't own a dog, atleast one, there may not necessarily be anything wrong with you, but there may be some thing wrong with your life.
The love of a dog is a pure thing, he gives you a trust which is total. You must not betray it. There are people who betray their dogs and leave them on the streets once they grow old .
To me, it is like abandoning your parents in old age. It is so cruel and heartless. Petting, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation, and almost as good for our soul as a prayer.
Advice from a dog lover: when your children are teenagers, it's important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.
My tenure of three years was over in Kathmandu. The big question was Ceasar. One option was to leave him with one of my friends which was outrightly rejected by my son.
He was not prepared to leave him behind in Kathmandu at any cost and I could not afford to break my Son’s heart.
During those times, Indian Airlines had a provision to carry animals but it was quite expensive. Other conditions were cage of specific dimensions with proper ventilation, dog should be fully vaccinated and should be put on anaesthesia before being handed over to airlines. We completed all formalities and took Ceasar to airport.
As we handed him over to airport authorities, effect of anaesthesia was gone and Ceasar became violent and broke the wooden cage. After much persuasion, airport authorities agreed to take him if we could put a muzzle around his mouth. Ankur comforted the dog by petting and cuddling him and I went to nearby market. Ceasar was now normal and allowed Ankur to put muzzle around his mouth. That is how Ankur’s Caesar came to Delhi along with him.
Caesar was with us for ten years. One day, all of sudden his hind legs gave away and he became a cripple. Best of treatment could not help in his recovery. By and by, he lost his appetite. Our veterinary doctor said Caesar was in much pain and there was no chance of slightest recovery. The best option was to put him to sleep. We reluctantly agreed. That is how a beautiful tale of our most loyal ,faithful and affectionate friend, Caesar ended.
In the meantime, Ankur completed his MBBS degree and got some money, around 5000 rupees after his internship. He straight away went to our veterinary doctor and brought home a small pet, a German Dachshund. It was just three weeks old.
Dischhund has long body, short height and long ears. It was a pedigree dog with a certificate outlying it’s lineage. We made a small bed for puppy next to our own bed on the ground. Next question was it’s naming ceremony. Before we could decide on its name, to our surprise, puppy was missing. We searched every where but no result.
At last My daughter, Shafina opened almirah next to bed, and found the puppy sleeping cozily among the cloths.
We all spoke spontaneously, you Naughty baby. We all agreed, we will call him Naughty.
In our family, Naughty was very close to my wife and Ankur. Since Uma fed him and looked after his needs, he considered Uma his master.
Naughty had a habit of chewing wood and it showed in our sofas. He would also tear off clothes and loved playing with socks. He would take out socks from our shoes, throw them in the air and try and catch them. Naughty was not a friendly dog.
Whenever someone rang our bell, we had to either put him on leash or lock him in another room. If some one entered our house without ringing bell, he really had it.
Naughty would snipe at his ankles and bite him. Number of his victims was more than ten. Fault was entirely ours. We spoilt him thoroghly even when he was a small puppy. As a puppy, he would moan and asked to be taken up on the bed. We relented every time. We allowed him to sit on sofa. Whenever we were eating, he would come near the table and look at you with pleading eyes. We always obliged. We never punished him for his mistakes. Even a trainer could not teach him anything.
The only child Naughty never said anything to, was my grandchild Rishabh. The first time Rishabh entered the house visiting from the US, naughty looked at him and sat next to him. From that day naughty was always protective of Rishabh. Perhaps he knew that Rishabh Was the most precious part of our family.
But we loved him as our own child. Whenever we went out on long trips, he was always with us. During the whole journey, he would sleep keeping his head in my wife’s lap. You could call him a thoroughly spoilt brat.
In 2011, my wife went on a tour of Europe for a fortnight. Naughty was ten years old and fell ill in her absence. One day, all of a sudden, his hind legs started giving away and his appetite was gone. Whatever little he ate, he started throwing it out.
Our veterinary doctor tried his best and even carried out surgery but of no avail. By and by, he was bedridden. His doctor held no hope for his survival. Looked like, he was just waiting for my wife to come back from Europe. The day my wife came back , she called out to him and for a while, there was a twinkle in his eyes and he waged his tail for the last time. Uma hugged him and took him in her lap. Naughty closed his eyes.
Our doctor examined him and announced that it is time to put him to sleep. That is how saga of Naughty’s life came to a sad end.
I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.
I believe opening up your life to a dog who needs a home is the most fulfilling thing you can do. Does not the gratitude of the dog put to shame any man who is ungrateful to his benefactors?
One dog lover said,“he will not go to a heaven where there are no dogs. If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went”
I think all dog lovers would agree.