From underdog to wonderdog

RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE

There came into our life from nowhere a dog to fill the void created by the mysterious disappearance of our black cat Galileo. This dog who we later named Pink was very sick when he appeared at our gate. He was stood leaning against a lamp-post opposite our house. Now and then a tremor passed through his frail body. When I looked at him I could not help but wonder if he was a mere dog or some celestial inhabitant who fell down from the world above on account of some curse or offence. My younger brother whose heart always melted when he saw animals in distress decided to do something about Pink’s plight.

“All he needs is good food,”  he said, went inside and brought with him a plastic bowl from which Galileo used to have his milk, few slices of bread and milk. When I put the bowl with milk-soaked bread in front of Pink, there appeared in his eyes a look of disbelief. Since he was pelted with stones wherever he went this hospitality surprised him. After a lot of coaxing, he hesitantly came forward and started eating. Halfway through he paused and looked at us for a moment to make sure that there was no string attached to our gesture. He made the foot of the peepal tree that stood opposite our house his home. At the end of the first week, Pink’s body tremors stopped. At the end of a fortnight, his body sores started healing fast. End of the fourth week saw him almost healthy again. He began wagging his tail which hitherto remained limp The unsteady flickering flame of life in his eyes had stabilized.

Pink expressed his gratitude through his expressive eyes. It was as if he longed to say something which he would have said if only he had the power of speech. Pink wanted to give something in return for pulling him from the brink. He not only barked when strangers came anywhere near our gate but also let out a low growl on seeing even the house owner himself. This act of Pink further strained the relationship between them. When I discussed this issue with my brother he defended Pink saying, “come on you cannot blame Pink if he mistakes that black apparition for a ghost.”

That weekend we went out to visit an ailing uncle. On our return, we did not find Pink in his usual place. A search was made and my brother found him lying dead in a nearby bush. I thought it was a case of snakebite. But my brother refused to accept the snakebite theory. He suspected foul play. Apart from our house owner a few people from our street too did not like the poor thing. When people kill people out of envy, what chance a poor sick dog could possibly have against callous men.

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