For as long as I could remember in the past, we always had a dog. I lost my father at a young age and my brother who was not more than a couple of years older was used to getting his was in our household. He was the one who used to lurk about here and there and distraught, forlorn puppies seemed to be attracted to him like rats towards Pied Piper of Hamelin.
One after another, they kept coming in. It was the good sense of my mother who however did not allow more than one dog at a time but even that rule was frequently broken or tampered with, at times.
‘Jimmy’ came to us however in the most surprising way. It was as if we were destined to be his home. There was a rickshaw puller who used to take shelter in the covered balcony in front of our house during the winter nights, for want of any other place to sleep. One wintry night he came in with a limping puppy with the kindest eyes we have ever seen. He said the dog followed him home from the market when he shooed some errant shopkeepers who were hurtling stones at him. He would just not be shrugged off and followed him all the way home.
One look at his condition and my brother had decided. The dog shall remain at our home and lest Mom changes her mind, promptly christened him ‘Jimmy’. That night, mother served him some warm milk laced with painkillers, since he was yelping in discomfort and the very next morning he was taken to the vet who bandaged him, gave medicines but also informed that Jimmy shall never again walk on his four feet.
That however never deterred Jimmy from any of his exploits. He was the most vibrant, liveliest, friendliest dogs in the neighborhood who was always ready to wag his tail, lick and love. He was friends with the cat, sparrows would rest on his head, and he would lick unknown pups and be friends with all.
We never felt any need to keep him confined. He was let loose at all times and whenever it would be meal times or nap times, he would sneak back to the house. He would not bark but scratch the door to be let in and once inside never once did he bark or cry for food. He would have whatever was offered to him without a single protest and would be forever ready to give us a warm hug or nudge. He was the best guard dog, we ever had in the house or outside and God have mercy on the soul who dared to cross path with my mom or us.
His passing away was as gentle as the being he was, quiet and dignified and it is the love that he filled in our hearts that since then neither I nor my brother ever felt the need or urge or desire to get another pet. There could be no second ‘Jimmy’ for us.