By Dr. Kuhu Roy
Mamu was a month old in March 2009 when he came under Maa’s care along with his siblings and a scabies ridden mom (later named Nani). All of them were sterilised except for one of his siblings, who escaped catching multiple times. In due course, she delivered and passed away a month later due to milk fever and left behind orphan pups who were raised by us. Mamu was an uncle to those orphan pups and Nani was a grandmother to them and that is how they had earned their respective names. The family was of frugal eaters and all of them had a lean structure. None of them put on weight despite sterilisation. The clan would run half a kilometre to see off Maa or me and we would close our eyes. I used to tell them, “If anyone of you get hit, I am not going to take you to the vet.” Perhaps the daily ritual was a way of showing their gratitude.
On 22nd August, 2021, Nani died and Mamu was left all to himself. He had grown old and was vulnerable because he was the last member of a pack of sixteen dogs who used to live in that area. That is the magic of animal birth control. One day, Mamu got himself locked in an abandoned house. He had managed to sneak in from a whole and I could never have managed to follow his footsteps to pull him out. That is how I did the first door break of my life, rescued, rushed him to the vet and brought him home thereafter.
With home coming, Mamu discovered the joy of bed and enjoyed the winters basking in the sun for as long as he wanted to. I began to feed him five times a day but he never put on weight. The best part was, that he found a family that was not related to him by blood, but loved him as one of their own. That is the beauty of our home.
An involuntary dance with lanky legs and an itch behind the ear just out of habit meant everything was normal with him. Then one day it stopped and he bled from the nose. A series of tests later, on the 13th of July this year, malignancy was suspected. I have no idea where the time flew. He was a habit, a constant at home. His bed is empty and I have got up umpteen times during the night just out of habit to check on him. To Maa, Mamu will always be that tiny kid she had met on the streets.
Mamu’s last hour was brutal and then the home fell silent. From the chocolate colour eyes that only had love, to his helplessness in the end, it will take sometime to get over it. I remember telling him this March when I removed his pull over, “Be there for the next winter, ok?”
A major chapter of our life has come to end.
Mamu: March 2009 (a month old when he came under our care on the streets) – 30th August 2023