Now I walk freely in my balcony and talk on my phone. We don’t shut the main door of our house while watching our favorite TV shows. We don’t have to come two floors down to receive our friends and guests, they can directly come over and surprise us anytime. Everything mentioned above used to happen before, but our hearts are mourning today because Rusty, my Gepherd, is no more.
I don’t know how many German Shepherds we’ve had as our pets, but when Rusty left, the house felt like a haunted place. It is a void, complete silence. Earlier every outsider had to think twice before entering our house and someone from family had to come down to receive them and put Rusty in his Kennel where he used to bark his throat out. Every kid in our locality knew that Rusty was the king of this place. If anyone used to drive at high speed or run while Rusty was taking a walk they would shout at him, ‘Drive slow, Rusty won’t harm you.’ I never called my friends at home as they were scared of dogs and few others called me before coming so that I check beforehand and ask Rusty to go and relax in his house. Friends of my sisters used to wait on the other side of the lane and make a call if they find him roaming out like a lion in the Jungle. He totally was one. After dinner when I used to gaze at the moon and Rusty was on his pre-dinner walk I always called him, Russ, waved at him and gave a flying kiss. I loved throwing chicken bones at him for dinner and saw him eating and looking at me with so much affection. He used to wag his tail when he used to see my sisters who used to video call from US only to see him doing that. It was since my birth that this milkman used to come to our home to deliver milk but he always barked at him. We have changed so many maids since then but he eventually recognized them all, but never our milkman. He used to accompany one of us to the market if he sensed something was not right. And we had to come back empty-handed just to make him stay in his house and to go back to wherever we were headed. It always felt safe with him around.
Since a week when he was keeping unwell and was being treated by his doctor. We all were low to see him like never before. It was my little Niece’s birthday and the next day my sister was leaving for her masters. I was having a hectic week already. The day started off with a nightmare. I’ve always seen the impact of my dreams but this time it was Rusty’s death. I prayed that he gets well soon and slowly but steadily he recovers. The last I saw him hearing me was at 6 PM. The motionless state in which I saw him bought tears in my eyes and reminded me of my dream. I still hoped that he’ll get better but at around 7:30 PM, we heard this sad news. Our hero left us. My niece’s birthday celebration got cancelled and the reason we gave her, made her believe that he was a great member of our family. “Rusty had to go to get her the best birthday gift.” My niece cuts everyone’s birthday cake. She never wished anyone with a ‘Happy Birthday’ but she just said ‘I’ll cut the Happa.’ Cake and Aeroplane are the two things she loves the most at present. So, Rusty has boarded the flight to get her the biggest birthday cake that she’ll cut.’ She never questioned why we were crying but she understood that her cake will come. That’s how kids are. Innocent.
We buried you where we buried our other pets. I hope when you meet your ancestors, you share a lot of stories of your home and stay happy. Remember us Russ. To mourn with us came a pigeon who sat on the tubelight of our kitchen all night. He came in, stayed calm and flew in the morning when we opened the gates. Shadows are the illusion which sometimes made him a wolf and from another angle he looked fierce as a Lion King. He totally roared and stood tall for his masters. Temporary or permanent, farewells are consuming. Rusty you’ll be missed forever. May your soul rest in peace.