By Supreet Kaur
Bobby-boy is an adorable, lovable miniature Schnauzer with quite an interesting story to tell.
He used to be in a pitiable situation for much of his life: he was a victim of abject neglect.
I am not sure how it works but there is a system at play that brings like-minded individuals into contact with one another. Thanks to their networking skills, the grapevine makes further connections and they become aware of some little fellows in distress who need to be rescued.
A young girl named Usha alerted this grapevine about Bobby-boy. This drove my daughter to the doorstep of a dog-owner who should never have owned a dog in the first place. She offered to take Bobby off his hands, and the guy readily agreed. She put Bobby-boy in her car and drove him home.
Bobby-boy arrived at our doorstep, unkempt and looking traumatised. He emerged from the car looking clueless, and smelling like a convoy of garbage trucks! How was he living with himself, we wondered. We were told that he was maybe 14 years old.
My daughter gave him a good bath and scrub, took a closer look at his condition, and found that his eyes were badly infected. Bobby was unable to open one eye because the fur surrounding it was matted due to the thick layers of discharge that had dried up and formed a stubborn crust, sealing the eyelid completely. Bobby-boy could not see nor hear too well.
Even the bath did not help much; he still stank to high heaven. After looking him up and down one more time, I felt he had come to our home to die – he looked that bad. The stench coming from him was quite unbearable.
We called him Bobby-boy, and considered what we could do to improve his condition. Appointments with the vet and pet groomer were fixed for the next morning. The vet managed to clean up the mess surrounding his eye, so he could open it. He started his vaccination schedule and began treating Bobby-boy’s eye infection and skin rash.
The groomer gave him a crew-cut in a bid to resolve the putrid smell that followed him everywhere, pervading our home and car as well.
Bobby-boy paced the floor non-stop for the first couple of days. He was probably puzzled by what was happening to him. He was no trouble at mealtimes, and ate well. He was very docile and hardly ever barked – must be the result of long years of neglect and circumstances. He was never allowed indoors but lived all his life in a section of the veranda enclosed by a grille. What did he do when it rained heavily or the hot midday sun beat down on him?
Only God knows. He is a voiceless creature, which is why I decided to give a voice to his feelings and sufferings.
We took Bobby-boy to see the vet regularly, and the staff at the clinic grew quite fond of him. The vet observed his improved condition as time passed, and said Bobby-boy wasn’t 14 years old but most likely between eight and 10.
His eyes would require long-term attention, but otherwise he was progressing very well. The groomer, meanwhile, took pride in handling Bobby-boy with extra care, saying that he had never been groomed before and all this attention was very new to him.
After he had been with us for a few months, we grew attached to him. We never wanted to give him away but we did not have a garden for him to run and play in, which he deserved.
He lived with us indoors. He did not even know what furniture was, or that he could sit in a chair. He never climbed on one. In contrast, my son’s fur-kid, Toffee, is a cuddlesome furball that happily jumps into bed with us and snuggles up to whoever she chooses.
Bobby-boy was more than happy to occupy the special “den” he had created beside the dining table, with the old bedcover we gave him. He used his lovely long Schnauzer snout to spread or tuck the bedcover in whichever way he pleased.
The distinguishing silky smooth fur on his face and ears started to grow and frame his distinctive Schnauzer silhouette. He was now a joy to behold – no more foul odour.
Then we started to look for a family who would adopt him and love him even more than we could. A family of four came enthusiastically and took him away. Bobby-boy was so trusting, and so were we, that we let him go.
When my daughter paid them a visit a few weeks later, she found that their enthusiasm had waned considerably (read: evaporated) and Bobby-boy was in a deplorable state. She took him back and headed home, much displeased. Her network of friends advised her to be more cautious in dealing with any prospective “forever families” in future.
The second time around, she found a family with a rescue furkid of their own. They seemed genuinely interested, and even allowed my daughter to view their home and surroundings before making a decision. It was this family who would be his Forever Family.
My daughter has since paid a visit to this family and come back amply reassured that Bobby-boy is in a really good place. He now has a family, a home and a garden, a companion, and most important of all, he has found much love, and all of this I believe are components of a Really Good Life.
We can’t get him out of our thoughts. though, but constantly think of him at any time of the day or night. When he was with us, at mealtimes he would come and wait at the kitchen door, head tilted to one side, as if asking how much longer it would be before lunch/dinner was served.
He had a long list of favourite foods. He was adventurous and tried Chinese takeaway, fast food and Indian breakfast delights, with gusto. He loved warm milk and buttered toast, too. But he was delighted with paratha and poorian chholey as well.
This endeared him to me, and he was promptly given the monikers Panjabi Puttar and Panjabi Munda, among a string of other names. Oftentimes I even called him Smokey as the name matched his pretty grey coat.
On cold nights, he was happy to wear a T-shirt to keep him warm. He never responded when you called Schnauzerout his name because he was supposed to be hard of hearing. But the moment the utensils in the kitchen created some sounds, he was alerted to the many possibilities those sounds meant, and was at the kitchen door in an instant.
Was he hard of hearing or was he bluffing all of us? No, but when the fire crackers made a thunderous racket at midnight on Chinese New Year’s Eve, he happily slept through it. But when there was a clap of thunder in the distant sky, he would come bounding up the stairs to us, looking for comfort. And we thought all along that he didn’t know how to climb the stairs!
He was a real joy for as long as we had him in our midst. He had obviously never possessed a ball or a soft toy even as a puppy because when we offered him a few toys, he showed no interest. He did not know how to play! But who cares; he needs no toys now. He is as happy as a lark in his new environment.
We miss him with much affection and we wish him every happiness. He deserves it.