Un­con­di­tional love

Sav­ing a dog’s life made a world of dif­fer­ence to this fam­ily.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - STAR SEARCH - By VANITHA LO­GANATHAN

IWILL never for­get Feb 3. It was on this day a year ago that I found her. Well, ac­tu­ally, she found me. Had she not growled at me, I wouldn’t have no­ticed the lit­tle frag­ile body with very lit­tle fur and red­dish skin, nes­tled near a brick next to a big drain. It was a pa­thetic sight.

As I ap­proached her, she growled and showed her teeth, try­ing to pro­tect her­self. Clearly, she was afraid of this stranger as she didn’t know my in­ten­tions. Look­ing closer at this poor puppy, I re­alised that she was trem­bling in fear. She didn’t let me ap­proach her as she thought I was go­ing to harm her. My heart ached to see her like that.

De­spite lur­ing her with food and coax­ing her, she was still very de­fen­sive. I had al­ready gone home when it be­gan rain­ing heav­ily. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I thought about the puppy. I had to do some­thing.

Af­ter see­ing me in tears, Appa re­lented. You see, we al­ready have two dogs, and bring­ing an­other one home would be more than a hand­ful. I could un­der­stand that as my par­ents were the ones tak­ing care of the dogs when I am away at work. They take care of our dogs’ ev­ery need and treat them like their own chil­dren.

I promised Appa that I would look for a lov­ing home for the puppy. Once he gave the green light, I rushed to the drain. She was still there, trem­bling in the cold.

I was drenched, but even­tu­ally, the puppy let me touch her. I car­ried her thin body which was cov­ered with mud and dirt, and took her into my car. Once I put her down on the car porch, she started walk­ing around hap­pily, wag­ging her al­most fur­less tail.

What a trans­for­ma­tion! I gave her a warm bath. Af­ter gulp­ing down some food hun­grily, she slept un­der my bed, but not with­out some ad­mon­ish­ment from Amma. The next day, Appa and I took her to the vet who gave her a jab for her skin prob­lem. He said that she was too weak to be vac­ci­nated, so this took place only a month later.

She trans­formed into a beau­ti­ful puppy, and be­came ex­actly how a nor­mal pup should look like. Her fur had grown back fully and she be­gan putting on weight.

For the next three months, not a day passed by with­out Appa and Amma ask­ing me if I had found her a new home.

I did try, with a heavy heart, but she was des­tined to live with us – her very own fam­ily. Appa told me that we would send her to a new home only af­ter get­ting spayed. But there­after, my par­ents didn’t bring up the is­sue about find­ing her a new home at all.

It was Appa who named her Lassie. By the time I had calls from those in­ter­ested in adopt­ing her, I told them that we had de­cided to keep her. But, I never told my par­ents about it un­til Lassie’s cute an­tics and play­ful na­ture had clearly won over their hearts.

She is a real bun­dle of joy. She al­ways has a way to grab our at­ten- tion, en­ter­tain­ing us with her mis­chievous ways, and get­ting away with all her naughty an­tics. She’s al­ways run­ning around the house, jump­ing up and down. We won­der where she gets all the en­ergy from! She knows how to break a tense mo­ment and never fail to put a smile on our faces.

She has be­come Julie and Puppy’s ideal play­mates. It’s a real joy watch­ing them play to­gether so hap­pily. The only time she is quiet is when she is in slumberland. She sleeps only when we are sleep­ing; be it day or night. She has been sleep­ing with me ever since I took her home, but now, she’s on my bed next to me. She has her own small bed be­side mine, but she snug­gles be­side me in the mid­dle of the night.

Lassie’s daily sched­ule is al­ways hec­tic. From the mo­ment she wakes up in the morn­ing, she takes turns to fol­low each one of us around. When Amma is work­ing in the kitchen, she is there watch­ing her. When Appa is read­ing the news­pa­per, she is there walk­ing around the chair.

When my sis­ter is watch­ing TV, she is there nib­bling her toes. When my par­ents are gar­den­ing, she runs around, pick­ing up things, try­ing to get their at­ten­tion. When I’m do­ing my home­work, she snug­gles next to my feet or brings some­thing to me, call­ing me to play.

She en­sures that she spends “qual­ity time” with ev­ery­one. When I ar­rive home af­ter work, she is the first one to greet me (be­cause Julie and Puppy can’t go through the grill of the in­side gate) and jump onto my lap while I’m still seated in my car.

Amma al­ways says that she be­comes more ac­tive and play­ful af­ter I come home! She of­ten dis­turbs Julie and Puppy, and never gives up till they play with her. She bul­lies them, even though she is the small­est!

How­ever, she strug­gles with in­se­cu­rity and feels un­safe in the pres­ence of other people. She barks at them and then, flees to safety, with her tail tucked in be­tween her hind legs. She is also ter­ri­fied of cer­tain sounds like the wash­ing ma­chine, vac­uum cleaner and hair-dryer. Even the sound of a small lorry pass­ing by sends her scrur­ry­ing for cover.

Though this story is mainly about Lassie, Julie and Puppy have been bring­ing joy to our home for the past 14 and 10 years, re­spec­tively. We adopted Julie as a puppy from a friend, and my par­ents res­cued Puppy from the mar­ket.

She had an in­fec­tion and the vet said that she had a slim chance of sur­vival, but with lots of ten­der lov­ing care, she sur­vived af­ter a strug­gle.

I’m so glad that I was able to bring Lassie home that day, even though my par­ents were ini­tially not re­cep­tive to the idea. She is the ap­ple of their eyes now, es­pe­cially Amma’s.

If only we can look into a dog’s eyes ... They have so much un­con­di­tional love to give us. To you, he may be just a dog, but to him, you are his ev­ery­thing.

While sav­ing the life of one dog does not change the world, it def­i­nitely changes the world for the one you save. With Lassie, not only her world changed, but so did ours.

Do you have any real-life, heart­warm­ing sto­ries to share with read­ers? E-mail them to star2@thes­tar. com.my. We’d love to hear from you.

Chill­ing out: The writer’s fam­ily pets

(from left) Julie, Lassie and Puppy.

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