By Dr. Kuhu Roy
It was the 14th of October, 2006, the last working day in college before we closed down for Diwali. A daily ritual before heading to the college involved stopping at the Bank that was stones throw from college. I double checked the contents of my bag; two steel utensils, dog food, milk, biscuits, essential medicines, a notebook and a use and throw pen.
There lived a stray mother dog named Maria and her three pups; Butter, Scotch and Sundae. The pups were named so because their appearance was no different than scoops of butter scotch and sundae ice cream. The former two were a jovial lot, Maa and I had often seen them go on mini ventures with their mother. Sundae, however, did not leave the premises of the bank ever. She was very mature for her mere two months of age.
That day, just as a I reached the bank, the security watchman was panic stricken and he came rushing to me, “Madam, one of the pups has met with an accident.” “My stomach lurched.” “Where is the pup?” “Come with me, I will take you.” Ten steps inside the bank and I heard the yelping of a pup. There was one among the two whites, sitting in a pool of blood, with one ear up in the air and the second one flopping on the eye, howling for the dead. As the pup saw me, the pitch grew louder. Much of the flesh from the pup’s right hand was gone. Turned out it was Butter. It was difficult to see so much of blood and suffering of a young pup who had so much life. I pulled the phone out of my jeans pocket and dialed Maa. Five rings later, “Hello, Maa. Are you on the way or have you reached office?” … “Oh, can you please come to the Bank? Butter has met with a brutal accident. The sight of so much blood is intolerable, I would not have asked you otherwise.” … “Thanks.” Maria was nowhere in sight, so was Scotch, but Sundae had ducked under the table. Maybe she would have been a witness to Butter’s accident. She was not even willing to come out to have her food.
In half an hour, Maa arrived. Butter began yelping harder. Maa picked her and took her on lap. I followed right behind, and left the food for Maria, Scotch and Sundae with the watchman. Just as the auto started, someone loudly said, “She is not going to come back.” I turned around to check who it was, but there was no one. Someone had spoken inside me, for the first time ever in my life. I did not tell, Maa. She would have thought the sight of blood had taken the better of me.
All during the twenty-five minutes journey to the clinic, Butter cried and Maa comforted her. The vet had a look at the wound. She said, “It is just too bad to be even stitched. You will have to get her once daily for the dressing.” While the vet began cleaning Butter’s wound, I stepped out of the clinic while Maa held her. As her shrieks grew louder, I sobbed standing outside. A couple of others who had come with their pets, asked me if I was alright. Sobbing, I remember, I had told them, “There is a beautiful pup inside who had an accident. Her wound is being cleaned and I just can’t hear or watch her in pain.” When the dressing was over, I was called inside. With red puffy eyes, I walked in. Butter was at the examination table with her leg complete bandaged. “The vet says she needs a safe space so that her wound remains clean.” “A shelter is a definite no.” “Then, what do we do?” Suddenly, the devil inside me popped with the idea, “Why not take her home for recovery? It will be easier for us to get her to the clinic also as it is close by.” “Sounds good. But please remember she cannot live with us forever. Once healed, she needs to go back. She has her family. We are working and your studies, so…” “Ofcourse.”
We had cared for dogs on the streets but never had one at home for obvious reasons. But, ten minutes later, at quarter to noon, the dream I had seen all in my eighteen years of life then, became a reality. We stepped inside home with Butter. The curious pup, who had some relief with the injectable and dressing by then, began wagging her tail. Maa left for office, leaving the two of us at home. As the door closed, I picked up Butter on my lap, shoved my books aside and we looked into each other’s eyes. “You know, Butter, someone spoke inside me when we left the Bank, saying that you will not go back there.” She wagged her tail vigorously and her naughty honey coloured eyes glowed. That day, Butter, my and my family’s life changed forever as we found an angel to return home to.