Remembering Jack, our bosom buddy
Playing with pets was a fascinating pastime during my early years.
Playing with pets was a fascinating pastime during my early years. My parents moved into their newly acquired house at No. 4, Maiganda Deva Mudaliar Road, Fraser Town, Bengaluru, and from the day one, we were fortunate to be in the company of pet birds and animals.
One portion of the building which was rented out to a tenant was a mini zoo in itself, housing white mice, rabbits, squirrels, aquarium fish and birds of various kind.
Sparrows were common in the old days and were trapped with the aid of cane baskets and housed in cages. Ducks swam in the small pond at the back and fowls roamed the yard. Cats also came visiting for a drink of milk or a feed of fish.
Jack, a much-adored Pomeranian, was the first in a line of canine pets - Rex, Tinku, Don and Raja were the others - that we grew up with. He was offered as a gift to my youngest sibling, N J Chandran by a classmate.
The cute, brown-coloured, tiny ball of fur was a bundle of joy and welcome addition to the clan. We took turns to cuddle him and even allowed him the luxury of sleeping with us under a warm blanket.
Of course, all this was done surreptitiously without our parent's knowledge who would be quick to rap us on the knuckles if they discovered our act. The puppy, however, would sneak away after a while and sleep on the floor.
The kids would also pamper the pup with ice-creams and pastries. Our furry companion would reciprocate our kindness by licking us and wagging his tail.
Jack would also meticulously wake us up in the morning with a gentle nudge of his paws, and if we did not respond, would let out a mild bark.
Jack soon grew into a handsome adult and our bond grew stronger. He would see us off at the gate when we left for work in the morning or wag his tail merrily when we got back home later in the evening. It was his way of showing that he adored us.
For his puny frame, he was extremely fierce and would pick on dogs many times his own size when taken out for a walk. When he was on guard, no stranger dared to enter into our compound. We felt safe and secure when he was around.
In later years, he would amuse us by going into a spin with the intention of grabbing his tail. He loved to play 'fetch' and would run away in the direction of the ball thrown by us and bring and place the rubber orb at our feet.
He also enjoyed chasing away simian visitors who raided our orchard. Best of all, he would escort my better half till the bus stop and return home. In a nutshell, his presence was therapeutic.
It is often said that "whom the Gods love, die young" and this was the case with our best friend. Just close to seven years on this planet, death cruelly snatched him away from us in the summer of 1991.
He suddenly developed a liver complication and was admitted to a private veterinary hospital. The day before I went to check on his progress, he looked a pale shadow of himself and nudged me as if to suggest "take me home".
He probably loathed the doctors and injections but more importantly wanted to be with us during those final moments. I repent for not bringing him home because the next day he was gone.
His death proved to be a tear-jerker and was undoubtedly one of the saddest moments in my life. Jack was finally laid to rest in our family garden.