The drum beats from a distant Ganpati pandal wake him up with a start. The whining comes almost instantly. Music blaring out of loudspeakers, crackers going off even at a distance fill Chikoo with fear. I rush to shut every window in the house, but to no avail. I fail to make our home soundproof for my boy. Sigh.
I gather him in my arms as he lies whining and crying in fear. Trying to soothe his nervous heart, I speak to him in whispers, to reassure him that the sound will not enter our home, ever! All the efforts to calm him down fail miserably. I let out a deep breath and sit by his side, fuming and cursing the people who fail to show some consideration towards their fellow beings.
The music dies down only to return with a force that sends Chikoo in another fit of yelping and crying. He tries getting up on all fours - a feat for my arthritic dog - to move to a place where he can find some peace. Alas, standing up is something he hasn't been able to manage independently since months now. He drags himself here and there, all the while crying in pain and fear. His joints have been acting up despite the array of medicines he is being administered, and his hearing, too, shows signs of ageing. Sounds like the knock on the door fail to reach his ears, but the bursting of crackers drives him insane! Finally, I help him onto a sofa and sit by his side - my patience evaporating, my strength giving way.
Life as a pet parent is tough. Your "child" ages before you do, suffers the pain and agony of old-age before you do, finds it difficult to express his feelings vis-a-vis his pain, and withers away silently right in front of your eyes. And, what can you do? Nothing, except watch helplessly. You do your best to keep your fur-baby as comfortable as humanly possible to you, you give him the best of medical care and then, keep waiting for the moment. The moment when he will stop suffering, the moment when he will be gone to a much safer and quieter place, albeit, far far away from you. Tough, isn't it? Caring for a pet dog is not easy.
A week ago, I had this horrid dream where I saw an image of a lifeless Chikoo lying unnoticed in a corner of the house for more than a few days! I awoke frightened, my heart beating wildly, a weird sort of a vacuum in my chest. I kept mum about it, but then shared it with my SIL and frightened her, in turn. Couple days later, a friend of mine informed me how dreams foretell the future. I know what the future holds for my son; it's just that I don't want that future to arrive into the present so soon!
Every day, I cuddle up with Chikoo, click pictures of him, with him, in a bid to make memories for my future. I agree with my optimistic SIL that my son is fine and he still has time, but the pessimist in me argues that time always comes unannounced, therefore make the most of every moment that you have with him, for you know not what the next day will bring along with it!
All I hope for him is that he lives the remaining days of his life free of pain and suffering, if that is possible. I am here to take care of him, but, may he tell me when the time arrives for him to cross over the rainbow bridge. And, yes, may he wait for me to join him there someday and then take me around to show me all his favourite spots!