The Betrayal - Never Meant To Be
She was terminally sick. Her breathing was quite shallow and irregular. She was unable to respond or move her body parts. She was just lying there like a log of wood. I do not know if she felt any pain, irritation or frustration over her suffering. She was not in a situation to express it. Either extreme pain or suffering has numbed her senses or maybe she did not feel anything anymore. I do not know. But I knew she recognized me. She moved her eye balls every time I was anywhere near her. I could see a lot of hope and faith in her eyes every time I was close to her and this increased the sinking sensation in my heart; a feeling which I felt for the first time in my life. I still do not know whether I took a firm decision for her sake or mine, whether it reduced her sufferings or mine; I decided to end all miseries by becoming her angel of death or demon whichever seemed appropriate to her at the moment. My Dad gave me his consent, my brother assented by staying silent, but my mother openly demonstrated her objection to my deadly resolve and refused to play any role in such a ‘heinous, inhuman and selfish act ‘ and to top it all she wept profusely. I turned a blind eye to her protest and went ahead with my mission of terminating her sufferings. My mother was right. I was selfish, heinous and inhuman. I did not have the nerve or atleast the decency to be with her during her last moment. After she was lethally injected, she lifted her head with herculean efforts to just look at me but I was not brave enough to meet her eye. I just left and did not even turn back to say a last goodbye. She who never ever left my side, who was always faithful and righteous was killed and was left to DIE all alone. She definitely did not deserve or desire such a lonely death. In spite of knowing this, I betrayed her.
I am an emotional cripple, so love is not an emotion which I feel or express. I had never any interest towards pets. To the contrary my brother, who is four years elder to me, has emotions which are poles apart from mine. He has an unconditional love towards pet animals and he always desired to get a dog as a pet. His wish got fulfilled when he picked a stray puppy from the road side and managed to get my dad’s permission to tend and raise it at home. She was black in color and had a very pretty face. She was loved by my parents and brother. She was the perfect dog with great instincts, good sense of smell and hearing, great respect and fear for her master; all in all she had all the qualities which made her a well respected dog in our household. She had a few vices to her account such as losing her cool and bravado when she sees a crowd, not concerned of dirtying the place around her, escaping her restraints, not coming back for hours together all of which are negligible. She was the quintessential modern dog who placed a lot of significance to her freedom. We called her Jin.
Exactly an year later my brother got home another puppy. She was just a month old and so small that he had actually carried her home in his hands. I would not call her pretty or beautiful but she was cute like a teddy bear. She had large brown eyes, black furry hair, curved black tail with a tuft of white in it, her paws were brown in colour which looked as if she was wearing socks or mittens and she had a tuft of white and black on her forehead. Her behavior was totally contrary to Jin. Both our dogs were made to sleep in the porch of our house. This new puppy was given a box with lot of soft cloth placed in it, to make her feel cozy. But she blatantly refused to sleep in it. She whimpered the entire night, silenced only when my mom or brother came and spoke to her. Once they went back to sleep she would start all over again. She was so adamant that she was finally silenced, only when she was let to the bedroom. The moment she was allowed in, she curled next to my mother and dozed off.
We did not bother to train both our dogs. Inspite of it, since day one, our new dog showed all signs of discipline. She would not eat even when her food was placed in her plate, unless she was politely requested to eat. She would never eat when outsiders gave her food. She could not even imagine eating from Jin’s plate. She would never dirty the place around where she sat. Even in case she had an urge to defecate or urinate or vomit, she would give us enough warnings so that she could do so outside the house. Even when she was left free, she would just go around outside the house, heed to the calls of nature, come back and sit in her usual position as if she were chained. She was never scared of anything or anybody and guarded the house quite well. It was her discipline and love for us which probably made her dearer to us, though she never demonstrated the discretion, intuition or the level of intelligence which Jin had. As she reminded me of a Teddy Bear, I lovingly called her ‘Teddy’ and the name stuck.
When she was two years old, she fell seriously sick and mom and brother spent many sleepless nights to nurse Teddy back to health. When Teddy was three years old Jin gave birth to four puppies and it was Teddy who used to play with them and take care of them, more than Jin. Whenever all the family members used to dress up and go out, Teddy used to sulk under a chair and used to refuse to eat, till she was requested and begged to do so. When Teddy was five, we shifted our residence, and Teddy refused to sleep for a few nights. She kept crying until we showed our face to her and then she would stop temporarily and would start all over again, till we spoke to her or showed our face again. It was then, that we realized about the seriousness of her attachment to us.
She never committed a mistake, and she always acknowledged her mistakes by putting her head down in shame. But she was never receptive to our reprimands; she would protest with growls and snarls. There was never an incidence in the history of Teddy’s life where she would have attacked another being which was younger to her. We have seen instances of cats sitting next to her and moreover to our shock and surprise, once we even found a snake curled next to her.
The only desire Jin had in her lifetime was true freedom, which we regretfully could not provide; but the only desire Teddy had was being close and staying near to us. She used to feel happy and jubilated just by our presence and the joy she felt was expressed and was contagious. We never went on long trips as we knew Teddy would feel depressed by our absence. But still there was an instance where we had to stay away for over ten day’s time. We made all the required arrangements by making her get acquainted with a caretaker who agreed to feed our dogs and take them for walks. We presumed she would get adjusted to him as Jin or any other dog does. Our only worry was that she might refuse to eat. But our fears were dispelled when we learnt over phone that Teddy was consuming food, which led us to believe that she has adapted to the situation. Just imagine our shock when we returned back and found that all the hair at the tip of Teddy’s tail missing. She had chewed and pulled the hair in her tail off and she stopped the habit as soon as we returned back. If she could speak maybe she would have told us how depressed she felt during our absence. This incidence expressed her attachment and dependency emotionally to us.
When Teddy turned twelve, Jin became quite sick. She quit eating and despite of forceful feeding and provision of medication, she quietly passed away one rainy night. Since Jin and Teddy were together for over eleven years we expected Teddy to be strongly affected by Jin’s absence. But this did not occur. We did not see any sudden changes in her usual behavior. We consulted a vet, since we wanted Teddy in a fully healthy situation. The vet assured us that Teddy was perfectly healthy and would definitely live for three to four more years. As a precautionary measure he even immunized her against some common canine infections.
The changes were so gradual, we hardly noticed it. She had stopped prancing around. She had begun to walk slowly. I felt that she had put on weight and my mom felt she had lost weight. We saw the small changes as normal but we did not realize the mammoth impact it would have on her life. We were both right. Her body girth had increased while her face had shrunken and looked sick. We took it to be signs of aging and failed to unearth the illness she suffered from. When we realized it was too late.
Her sickness came to light when one fine day as I was taking her for a walk, she felt dizzy, stumbled and took the support of the adjacent wall. After this instance, the deterioration which took place in her was rapid and her suffering was infinite. She stopped walking and eating. Yet she would drag herself to defecate and urinate outside. The sight was heart wrenching. Multiple doctors prescribed numerous medications, which had to be force fed to her, but it was of no avail. Day by day we saw her collapse. She never stopped wagging her tail at our sight. A day arose when she could not wag her tail, could not move her body, could not eat, just moved her eyeballs to acknowledge her presence. Her gums were injured due to the forceful feeding, but she had no strength left to oppose us. We even provided her sub mucosal drips to increase her strength but no improvement was visible. Every time we were anywhere near her she looked at us with a lot of faith. The damage was irreparable. I begged God to either take her away or heal her. It was such a painful sight and since God could not decide, I took the inevitable decision for her. I decided to end her suffering and mine.
Hopefully she would have understood the reason behind my steely resolve inspite of opposition from my mother. For the first time in my life I experienced a feeling of Love. I felt I had a Heart and I could feel it being torn away as my Teddy took her last breath. I realized that she was the first living being whom I loved with all my heart. For the first time ever I cried. I held her in my arms as the tears streamed down my face. I hoped that Teddy would understand that it was extreme love for her dignity of life which made me take this extreme step; not otherwise.
It is Five years since she is dead and gone. The memory still hurts, the scars still remains. Her suffering has ended, but mine has neither ended nor lessened. I am still hoping for the forgiveness which I shall never attain. I am hoping for absolution for the ‘betrayal’ which was committed but was never meant to be.
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