The new cook walked into the living room with my coffee at around 9.30 this morning. Suddenly, I heard a ferocious howl. Bruce Wayne, my little black miniature pug boy, jumped off the sofa and charged at him. It was a hilarious sight because the new cook is a 6ft 2″ swashbuckling fellow from Chennai. (He is called ' Mahalingam" and has helpfully told me that I can call him "Lingam" (although I have declined to comply due to the phallic connotations of this name).
The cook ran for his life. And I teared up.
I remembered the Brucie of two years back, when I adopted him from the shelter. I had gone to the shelter with my sister to have my English cocker spaniel (also adopted, her story for another day) checked by my very fantastic vet. We didn't notice a little black pug sitting quietly on the table near the vet's main one. As we were about to leave, the pug sort of dragged himself to us and laid a paw on my sister's hand.
He was around four to five years old, had a bad skin condition and had hind leg paralysis so he couldn't stand up. Someone saw him on the streets and mercifully got him to the shelter. He had been there for almost a week with no takers. I still don't know whether the pug mistook us for his previous owner, recognised us from some previous birth or simply wanted a permanent home.
We were silent for most of the journey home. I already had four adopted dogs with special needs. "You won't be able to take care of him with your busy schedule, you know. He needs a lot of attention and care," gently remonstrated my sister. Blinded by my tears, I nodded.
Nothing more was said.
However, I took to visiting the shelter every day after work to see the pug (normally I go the shelter on weekends because of a terribly busy work schedule). There was no fixed time for my visit as such, but the pug would be there waiting patiently and would brighten up when he saw me. A very sweet vet's assistant would help me put medicated lotion on him and feed him biscuits and milk. This continued for almost 15 days and life fell into a pattern.
I left for a short trip to London to visit family and my beloved. Somehow, the trip wasn't all that fun.
Back to New Delhi and catching up with work meant that I couldn't go to the shelter for some time.
When I finally did after 20 odd days, I found the pug lying listlessly in a corner with vacant eyes. The food in front of him was untouched. The vet's assistant told me that he was refusing food and sinking gradually despite all their efforts. The fellow perked up a little when he saw me, but with none of his previous enthusiasm.
I came back home. It was a Sunday and plans had been made to have lunch in an expensive restaurant. Some good friends joined us too. Much food, much wine, much laughter. But I felt empty.
I excused myself abruptly. No one thought there was anything amiss. The family and friends are pretty used to my ways.
I went straight to the shelter, gathered up the pug in my arms and never looked back.
I named the pug Bruce Wayne. It was about this time that The Dark Knight Rises was released and playing in the theatres. I love Batman by the way. Dark, strong and tender. Hubba, hubba. But, I digress. I wanted the pug to rise too... in health yes, but most importantly in spirit.
Which he did, eventually. Today he is my little protector. He is fiercely possessive of me and considers himself to be the sole guardian of my home. It's a funny, heart-warming sight when he charges at "strangers", like my new cook!
Bruce's skin infection has been completely cured. His coat is glossy and black. His hind leg paralysis is also 99% cured, with the medicine and advice of my vet. I fed him bone marrow soup for months to strengthen his spine. And massaged his legs with a special Ayurvedic oil that my uncle uses for his arthritis.(It's a horribly expensive oil and I shamelessly stole it.) Because of damage to his spine, Bruce was incontinent for some time. Since we don't get doggy diapers in India I used the ones meant for human babies. The neighbourhood pharmacist must have wondered if I was starving my baby for I kept buying the same size diapers for months. I wonder what his reaction would have been had I told him that the diapers were for the pug. Thankfully, Bruce got cured of this problem as well.
Early days of recovery. He would sit in a box so that my other rowdy dogs wouldn't stomp on him.
Bruce does not and will not need wheels. That's what is beautiful and miraculous about his recovery. His left hind leg drags a bit. But that gives him lots of attitude and style. In fact, he struts around, like Mick Jagger.
Below are some "now" photographs of my Brucie. I love him so much!
Stands on all four legs
Watching CNN-IBN. His favourite news channel. He is a keen follower of politics and a damn good analyst
Gimme Red! Rawwwr!
My appeal to anyone reading this post: Adopt, please. Don't shop!
This post first appeared on The Accidental Sufi.