Unconditional love


  • Family
  • Saturday, 22 Feb 2014

Lassie when she was first rescued.

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

I WILL 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.

Lassie when she was first rescued.

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 attention, 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, heart-warming stories to share with readers? E-mail them to star2@thestar.com.my. We’d love to hear from you.

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