Wednesday, June 29, 2005


The other day I saw a travel show on television where the presenter was touring an orphanage for baby elephants, based outside of Nairobi in Kenya. As the presenter stood near a little elephant, she took its trunk and started to breathe down it. Apparently, this is sort of like letting the elephant get to know you. Soon enough, the baby started butting the girl with his head. This fascinating ritual really made me wonder again about the mystical connections that we as humans have with other animals.
Those of us who have pets, be it dogs or snakes, are more aware of this. We had a dog at home who was with us for eight years. Last year I returned home after a two year stint abroad, and one of the great joys of coming home was, of course, the welcome that I was anticipating from our resident canine. But there was a strange, vague foreboding in me all through the lonely flight from JKF airport in New York to my little hometown airport. Something made me not ask my parents how my beloved pet was doing, and I talked about everything else.
When we got home, I walked to the porch like I had done a thousand times before, but this time minus the huge, bounding, jumping, noisy welcome that was the norm every single time. Rambo (my father's idea to name our doggy that) was lying on the porch with his head down. As he saw me approaching, his tail thumped a few times and he looked at me in a sort of searching way, but did nothing else.
Then my parents told me that he had been sick for a while, but would get better soon. Well, for me things changed right then. He worsened steadily over the next day, and made one painful trip inside the house to sit near me. The next time he walked over the porch to his favorite spot, he didn't find the energy to get back up again. In the evening I sat with him. I tried to give him water and food, which he sniffed at or sipped sparsely.
Later in the evening, I had the sick realization that my beloved friend was never going to walk again. Only his eyes moved. We all spent a terrible night checking on him and not sleeping. At 5 am, I ran out to look at him and he was still there, but just breathing. His eyes never left mine for a moment; I will never forget the intensity of that gaze on me, as long as I live. I have never seen anything like it, before or since.
That day I went out again and again to hold him. Around 3 in the afternoon, I went to him again. He looked into my eyes with a sort of peace and sadness and his old familiar playfullness all rolled into one unforgettable gaze, and as I sat there cradling him, he died.
My parents and most other people said that he had been holding on, waiting to see me one last time before he went. Somehow, that thought was eerily comforting but deadly painful. This is what I mean by connections.


Rupa said...

Devida, I am sorry about Rambo - I know you miss him. You are still grieving. Humans have a natural 9active) grieving period of 6 months. To combat passive grief or the post 6 month period, you should probably decide on another puppy.

Read this article, this will help you.

Geminian said...

Hey D !

We have to accept the fact that :
For every begining , there is an end Because once set in motion
It cannot Be stopped.. Or can it ?

I agree with your mystical CONNECTIONS that human has with animals. I don't t have precise language to describe what I think the animals sensed. And that is the point. They were able to perceive, and experience, something some of us are dimly aware of and would like to understand, but cannot find words to describe. Animals can teach us to live outside of words, to listen to other forms of consciousness, to tune into other rhythms and they are more attached to us than any other humans and that is what connection is.

Col said...

I think we all share your view about connections.We must all have gone through our losses whether it was our pet or someone more precious..... makes me think about how precious life is and how we treat it?
Hope we think more about it when we are alive and kicking rather than when its too late.
I am sorry about Rambo.... I hope and pray that Tango takes that pain and loss away.

Anonymous said...

Didn't know what to write for I have lost dogs too.
I pass on some rather hilarious and often unstructured lines that masquerade as 'haikus' on DOG.
Found them at a website. Here are three. Rest on the link.

I lie belly-up
In the sunshine, happier than
You ever will be.

How do I love thee?
The ways are numberless as
My hairs on the rug.

I am your best friend,
Now, always, and especially
When you are eating.

Had no idea about this active & passive grief period. Do pass on the source.

dee iyer said...

This might not be connected . I dont know how you'd see it .. I lost my dad exactly month back . on the 4th of June . he passed away in Tanzania . thats where he worked . And well .. maybe you should read my blog.. and read the post Fairy Wings..
I loved the entry and really believe in the connection we share with animals .

devikamenon said...

Thank you all for your comments!

Rupa said...

Anon, I have no handy source - something I read a long time back. However, a google yields the following:

Col said...

You are most welcome...

geminian said...

de nada

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