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An Obituary for my Dog

An Obituary for my Dog

Meghna 'Phoenix' Ghatak

I dreamt of Kuttush again. I saw him in the pink of his health, doing circles on our roof top, the wind ruffling through his thick white fur. I was conscious of the time loop in my dream; the clocks had been turned backwards. That my dog would be dead in a matter of months weighed heavy in the dream. A sense of dread muddled the happy picture of my dog against the white cement. Long after waking up, the fading picture of Kuttush’s rippling muscles and lolling tongue haunted me.
Kuttush was a bouncing baby boy since the day I picked him off the streets, always keeping everyone on their toes around him. Even in his illness, he would do several rounds of the veranda and bark at the pigs and street urchins and dogs. Never in my wildest dreams could I ever imagine him gone.
For two full months after his passing, I felt his ghostly presence around the house. I could mysteriously hear his heavy breathing as if he had just been playing fetch in house. I could hear his toe nails against the tiles as if he was patrolling the veranda to bark at loafers. I even felt his physical presence in the form of his shiny white hair strewn on a variety of my possessions. I was shell shocked when I found his hair strands one day on my office desk for the entirety of the first month of his passing.
Oh how I dreaded coming home from office! I absolutely hated the habit of scanning my apartment veranda for the sight of his furry self waiting with anticipation clearly visible in that young faΓ§ade. He had done that every day and for everyday that he was gone, I felt deep dismal to gaze up. In the three months that he is gone, I haven’t stopped looking up. I am used to the little pang of sadness that accompanies his absence.

I dreaded my abode devoid of my dog even more. The silence was piercing and the myriad sounds from the television could never drown that silence. Affection for my waiting dog used to well up at the sight of him and his wet kisses. Now, only tears well up at the sight of the empty spot and my dry hands. Even more tears well up when I find my bed devoid of my sleepy dog who would, with one swift jump curl up on it. At night, when I was shaken awake by nightmares, I couldn’t find his comforting snore or bushy tail to hold on to. I spent the majority of the two months flipping through the numerous pictures of him and me that I had a knack of clicking. My mother would pour over them at times attracted by the babbles she heard from our home videos. She missed him too, so did my father. But both had different ways of lamenting and getting over. They got over him sooner and even sooner over my ranting of my dog’s happy days.
Kuttush was a street canine and had a habit up gobbling up garbage when unsupervised. He had on numerous times wolfed down scrap biscuits, fruit and vegetable peels and seeds and even leftover food offered by anyone and everyone. He even chewed down on frogs and insects during playtimes. He used to mop around for a while then vomit them out of his system and be his bouncy self in no time. Kuttush loved company so much he either chased them around or hugged them. We all thought that there was something unique about my dog.
In defense of his uniqueness, I had negative interaction with people who claimed wastelands next to their abodes as their own territories. On three such occasions, when my dog took a dump in utter wastelands had I to fight with such amazing personalities. On Halloween eve, 30th of October 2016, India was celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights with light and sound shows in every street corner. Kuttush, who had never shown any fear of crackers, was suddenly jittery on his feet that day. He kept having fits and sought refuge under the sofa where he farted out his fears. We had seen him have fits before so we did the necessary but didn’t panic. It being a festive occasion, I knew for sure that doctors wouldn’t entertain a canine patient.
It got worse in the night when he shook nervously but ate normally. He refused to vomit but continued having fits. I was frequently kept up by him peeing and pooping in the house. My mother disliked any rancid smells in the house so I was up mopping after him most of the night. Somewhere near dawn, my mother woke me up with her find of more feces under the sofa with a horrible stench. While I cleaned, I couldn’t help notice that they appeared abnormal with medicine induced smells. I found Kuttush hiding near my bed completely dazed and covered in his own filth. He didn’t respond to our calls.
I made a recording of his condition to show any doctor I could find that day and out of exhaustion, feel asleep. Some hours later when daylight had poured in completely, I woke up with a start and sought for Kuttush. Kuttush was sprawled on the floor, dirty and smelling. I went near him and called him but he didn’t move.
Kuttush was dead. His body was so stiff that he seemed to have been stuffed by taxidermy. His eyes were open and blank. His tongue was bluish and glued to the floor. He was so stiff that when I tried to close his unblinking eyes, I couldn’t. I could even hang down his ever erect ears. I tried to fold his paws but he had achieved rigor mortis. The sight was so painful it was almost unbelievable. We tried to check his pulse but to no avail. Tears streamed down my checks and hit his lifeless form. Kuttush would know if someone breathed upon him and here he didn’t even stir when a drop of tear fell upon him.
We called everyone we were close to for answers, for directions. It hurt me when a few people suggested that we should throw him out for now he is dead or hand him over to the garbage collectors. I was appalled. He had been an invincible part of my life; I couldn’t just throw him out like trash. I had to pay him proper respects. So we called a taxi and took him to a lone land under a bridge, we paid a man to dig out a space for my dog to rest eternally. Meanwhile we cleaned him and placed a garland around his stout neck. When the man finished digging, we carefully placed Kuttush in the hole and caressed his thick white fur. The man poured salt on his entire frame and my mother placed the food and sweets that he loved. Then we all took fistful of mud and slowly cascaded it on Kuttush. We bid our goodbyes to our beloved white pooch and placed a few burning incense sticks and flowers on his grave and left.
When back home, we got busy with entertaining the guests and responding to their sympathy and well wishes. I found a few thorny seedpods of Xanthium sticking on my dress and immediately was overpowered by grief. Kuttush didn’t like to be left alone. I was grappled with thoughts of him lying alone in his cold earth bed while I had my vast bed empty made even more vast by his absence. I held on to those seedpods of Xanthium bush that had been growing in the land where we buried him, for a very long time.
Xanthium Seeds

In the coming few months I had many dreams of him running about the house or away to the wasteland near my apartment. I imagined the barks of the street dogs as his in my dreams and saw him lying on cold dirty mud. I found my house too clean and shiny and felt that I had far more time on my hands than before. I never really got over his sudden demise and went over every detail of that fateful Halloween day that took away my 10 month old, otherwise healthy dog. I visited many dog doctors, owners, enthusiasts and showed them his last video recording. People gave many explanations, some said he suffered a shock, others said that he had a heart attack. But most feasible of them was poisoning.  I recalled the medicinal smell from his feces and his dazed, unresponsive faΓ§ade. I concluded that the fights I had with those people over him pooping in wastelands near their houses have been revenged. If so was the case, then Kuttush died a worthless death…


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  3. A heart wrenching story. I can connect very well as I too had lost one of mine due to poisoning. Very well expressed.


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