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One fine day I felt different and negative. Everybody in my family looked sad and gloomy. Though they were extremely busy packing things up, some three more people were in the house to help them pack and put things in big boxes which were then placed in a monster truck. They were packing everything except for my things. I felt very anxious and tried to drive them away, but Mom and Dad did not let me. I then remembered that two years back also when we left our old house and shifted to this new home, everybody was packing boxes in a monster truck then too and behaved in the same way. But this time they were sad and feeling very negative.
My family includes my parents and my sister – Riya. They adopted me when I was a small pup around a month old. I have a very hazy picture of meeting them for the first time. I was terrified. Riya was only 6 years old then, she used to scream at every sight of me. I was very scared of her. I always felt that she would hit me with one of her toys. Mom and Dad tried a lot and eventually succeeded in making Riya and I best of friends.
After spending four years with Riya, I thought that we both were inseparable. She used to sleep with me, feed me, play with me, she even complained to me about Mom and Dad. Every day when she came back from school in the afternoon, I was always at the gate to welcome her, wagging my tail, climbing up her school dress to lick her face. She didn’t like me licking her face; Mom had strictly told me not to lick her face. So, instead she let me lick her hands and legs. While she used to eat her lunch, she would also feed me some of her food. Then we used to play together, she taught me to shake hands with her and to give her a hi-five. She used to throw my bone away for me to go and fetch for her. I loved to see her laugh the way she did. In the evening, we chased each other on the terrace. Sometimes she would call her friends over and they all would play with me. I would fetch balls for them, other times I would chase them; we used to get wet in the rains together. I love Riya a lot.
Mom and Dad were very happy to see me and Riya get along so well. I remember when I was a small baby, I used to poop and pee where ever I felt comfortable. I got scolding from Mom every time. I took some time to understand that Mom was very happy when I poop and pee outside the gate. She would also give me that yummy chicken chewy and called me “Good Boy” when I complied with this behaviour. It always made Mom very sad when I peed inside the house; I never liked the feel and smell of her when she was upset. I even stopped licking anything in the kitchen and biting on any footwear or newspaper around. I stopped disturbing them while they ate their food. Now, I am an obedient 5 year old smart, white-coloured Labrador named Doodle.
A couple of years back one night, Dad forgot to lock the gate and even the main door was left open. He must have been very tired that night; otherwise he always locks everything before sleeping. I was worried about it. I licked his nose a number of times, but he drove me away every time. I did not want to bark and wake everybody up, so I just stayed near the gate to make sure nobody enters my home. It was a cold night, so I stayed below the car in the porch. Morning when Mom woke up she saw the door left open. She came to pick up the milk packets and I was sitting upright at the gate. She patted me a lot that day. I was also given that special mutton and beef that day. Dad was very happy with me. I understood that I did my duty well. It is my responsibility to protect the house, to drive away anybody dangerous who is not welcomed in the house.
There were days when Dad woke up late and I wanted to go for a walk. I always licked his nose and Dad understood that I was desperate to go out or I would go and sit at the gate and wag my tail. Dad would come and get my leash and then I get to go out and smell the fresh world early in the morning or late evening.
Mom and Dad were usually very busy in their schedule but never forgot to feed me and take me out for regular walks every morning and evening; except when they had fights among themselves. Riya and I would usually sit silently in our room when Mom and Dad were shouting at each other. Sometimes Riya would start crying, I never understood why. But I didn’t like to see her cry, so I would go and start licking her face. Then I would just curl up in her lap and she would hug me for long.
Couple of months before that day of packing, the fights had gone up a lot. Mom and Dad used to argue almost all the time. Riya used to be very upset. She hugged me and cried a lot for very long time. The night before, she simply did not let go of me. Though I loved it a lot, I simply did not know what happened to her. Mom and Dad were also very upset, they kept telling me that they’ll miss me a lot. Riya started fighting with them and stopped eating food. She kept telling them in her screams that she cannot live without Doodle and wants to take me along with them. Dad took her to the other room and shut the door.
I was sad, very sad to see all this packing going on and to see them so upset. I didn’t do anything wrong. I did not lick any of their utensils, I did not tear up any of the sandals and I did not poop or pee inside the house, they why were they so upset with me?
Mom kept the kennel and my bed sheets outside the gate. She also kept my water bowl filled with clean water and food bowl filled with my favourite chicken gizzard. But they didn’t look happy at all. I was sure then that they were going to go away leaving me behind. The truck with all those boxes was also gone. There were only a couple of bags in the yellow car that was waiting for them. I couldn’t bear it, couldn’t even think that they were going to go away. I quickly climbed and jumped into the yellow car. Dad wasn’t angry at my behaviour; he simply took me in his lap and started petting me. I saw tears in his eyes. He never cries.
He said, “Sorry Doodle, we cannot take you to Australia. The dog care people will come and get you. I hope you find a better family and better parents.”
I started licking him, trying to tell him that I really love him and I don’t want a better family. I want them. I wish they could understand how broken I felt then. Mom cried a lot and kissed me. She said that they’ll miss me a lot. Riya was crying uncontrollably, she hugged me and was not ready to let go of me. Mom and Dad pulled her away from me. Engine started off and I felt desperate. I ran behind the car and went on and on. I could see Riya’s face outside the window; tears were still flowing down her cheeks. I ran hard and harder, but my breath became really fast. I wanted some water, but more than that I wanted my family back. My legs ached but I could still see the car in sight. I tried to run faster and faster to catch them, but the car was gone at the traffic signal.
I went around the signal area so many times to look for them, but there was no smell or sign of them. I came back home only to find that my food and water was gone and my kennel was also broken by other dogs. I was very hungry and thirsty, but I was waiting for Riya to come and feed me. I missed my bed and comfort but more than that I missed the fetch game with Riya. I missed her hugs and kisses.
It has been almost a year since my family is gone, I started sleeping outside the gate and the new people in our home feed me at times. I don’t like to play with stray dogs or join them in anything. Nobody has given me a bath since a year. I just get wet in the rain, but then I get really cold. I sometimes sleep under that traffic signal where the car disappeared, but there is no trace of my family. I never did anything wrong, I never misbehaved; Mom said that I am a good boy; why did they abandon me then?
Today since morning I am feeling an acute pain in my stomach. I don’t feel like eating any of the food that these people give me. I am still waiting for Riya to feed me. Pain is unbearable and I am curled up in the drain because of the harsh heat of the sun. I might not see tomorrow. My breath is coming really slow. Something is killing me. But I have to wait for Riya.
I remember a few months before my family left, I felt a similar pain and Dad took me to the hospital. I hated going to the hospital but Dad took me forcibly. Doctor gave me an injection which pinched a bit but I felt better immediately. I slept very peacefully that night by Riya’s side. I got some curd rice for dinner which really healed my stomach and pain disappeared.
Today, I am in pain but Dad is not there to take me to the doctor. I am waiting for them; they might come and heal me. I do not want to go outside this drain; it makes me feel better here. My eyes are closing and pain seems to getting distant. There is blackness in front of my eyes but Riya’s face keeps appearing in front of me. Long breaths are coming in now. I am finding it difficult to get oxygen. One long breath and all my pains are gone. There is only darkness and nothingness. My soul is free of pain and hurt. After being abandoned, I am now liberated.