Of all the dogs I have spent time with, Bruno, the first German Shepherd I got, was the best. He came to my house on a cold rainy day of September 2nd exactly 30 days after he was born at my aunt's. Received with warm milk and a warm blanket, he became a part of my family right from that moment. Even though, I have had few other dogs earlier, and that I have heard of the breed, I was not prepared for a commitment to a German. But seeing the most beautiful black silky soft cuddly ball of fur play in circles, we knew, this is it, he is the one we have been searching all this life. Yes, literally won our hearts. And I believe, he too knew that.
His first days at my home was a change of schedule for us all but, he never made a fuss/mess. Maybe because, he grew up without his siblings, he grew out of his puppyhood pretty fast and was learning quickly, learning the ways to please. We never gave him a proper training, but he was extraordinarily well behaved. Catches up fast and is always ready for a game. A new kennel was built, and, I still remember the way he held his head high and proud the day he was ushered into his new kennel.
my mate, a friend, and a true companion. . .
[Aug 2, 2007 - July 24, 2009]
Bruno was with us for just less than 2 years. And all those days, I have seen people scanning my place to get a look of the best dog they have ever seen with their eyes. As it is a very busy highway that runs in front of my house, and we are used to the people looking when they ride past our place. If he senses that someone on the road is watching, he used to put up a show that would please the onlookers and make them wish they had one like him. In the evenings, when I would be waiting on the porch for my ma to come home from work, he would sit beside me beaming and watching people go by (the one thing he loved to do besides playing in the water). Those days, I was a proud owner, and I loved people looking at my dog and then, me, and think, ĎWhat a gorgeous dog, and what a proud master. He must be **** lucky!!!í. Yes, I was. My neighbors came to be identified as those near the house with the German. And after a year and a half, they still are, and I still receive calls from unknowns asking whether I am willing to sell him. It hurts deeply when they say, ĎOh! Sorryí after I tell them that he has passed away.
The morning of July 24th 2009 is still fresh in my memory as yesterday. His day began when his sleep was stirred at quarter past three in the morning when I returned from Bangalore and jumped our wall. Sensing it was me, he quieted down and came to me. Since my house was locked, I slept on the porch with Bruno beside me, feeling his warmth. When my parents woke up and opened the door at about 6.30, they tell me that he was wide awake alert and in a protective stance and they had wondered why. The danger was lurking around the corner it seems, as a cobra was poising itself for an attack. Within seconds after I went inside, I heard shuffling outside, flowerpots breaking and the distinctive growling of Bruno. When I rushed outside, I saw for the first time in my life, a cobra, but sadly, it was in two pieces, and the damage done. 10 minutes is all it took between a perfect dog and a dead friend. Apparently, he was watching the snake all the while he was with me, and attacked it when I went inside. My parents say it was a life sacrificed to spare mine. But was my life worth it? Iím still not sure. It should have been the vice versa. 2 years of glory. He came in cold, he made us warm, he died young, he left in pain and he left us heartbroken. His death made me feel utterly helpless because I could not do a single thing that would ease his pain let alone save him. That guilt will never leave me.
I went into a state of mental depression so severe that I believe I would have gone mad if not for another German Shepherd puppy we bought in a hurry. I've heard that winning the loyalty of a German is no silly matter, but once it has been given, itís a commitment for life. Itís said that we do not possess a German, he possesses us. And yes, Germans are a one-master dog.
When I was in college, I used to call ma every single day just to ask how Bruno is. Yes, I remember, not a single day has passed without me asking about him. Fridays are always looked forward to. Because on Fridays, I came home to be greeted by the best mate a man could ever ask for. Sure, parents looked forward to seeing me, but my doggy gets excited and makes me feel special. He gets slobbery. Jumps upon me and licks my face till I drip. His excitement made me feel wanted. If a third person was to be watching that, he too would definitely have felt the love.
He has got used to a distinctive whistle I blow, that even in the darkest of the hour, even in the deepest of the sleep, once he hears that, he is awake and alert and active. I was too careful and protective about Bruno. I knew his movements, his breathing, his panting, and could sense the slightest variation in his moods. If I am at home, food is secondary. All he needed was to stay close to me, touching.
Itís in our family to spend the evenings together in the porch sipping coffee and talking about the day and morrow. He too would join in calmly at my feet. When the conversation turns to Bruno, Iíve always felt that he understood every word we said. And when we look, he will be smiling or laughing.
We used to celebrate his birthday on Aug 2nd with a cake and icecream. He would be the star of the day, and would get the largest bite even though I've wondered why give him so much when he is going to swallow it in a second. He just loves ice cream and plain ice cubes.
Watering the plants or washing the car or Frisbee was the most loved time pass. He loved a long good bath complete with shampoo and conditioners. Contrary to any human child, he always wanted to stay clean.
He was so healthy and well built that he could go on and on and on, and on. We had to take turns playing with him or else he would come tugging at our sleeves. Jumping over our 5ft compound wall is a childsplay. And Iíve scolded him on a few occasions for going out of sight on the streets.
Once I was a proud owner of my dog. Now that he is gone, all I am left with is a heap of memories. I never stop thinking of him. I feel his warmth and his misty breath. I feel emptiness as I look into the now empty kennel.
Iíve always thought, was I worth all this? Why did He send him to me if he was to be taken back after just 2 years? Maybe that I needed a lesson on trust and bonding.
Pets are a reflection of their owners. If dogs are not the man's best friend, I donít know who else can be. And if I had any powers at all, I would bring my doggy back to life.
I can still feel his warmth.. I can still feel his super silky coat.. I can still feel him beside me.. I really like to think he never left me..
Best things in the world are short lived. Its we humans who live a staggering 75+ yr lives