Previous articleA FRESH START

Love comes in all sizes, shapes and forms. I had yet to witness something as spectacular as this to believe in this simple truth.

They came to check the house, they were going to stay in. I had a brief interaction with them as I was standing on my balcony watering my plants. She looked up and smiled at me. I smiled back. She was going to occupy the house downstairs, she said. We chatted for a few minutes and I was thrilled to know that they had a dog. It was a male, golden labrador while we had the same breed, golden coloured bitch. We were happy to find something in common. Little did I know we would never see their baby.

Before they shifted, Shweta and Shankar lost their five-year-old dog, Simba to tick fever. Till then we were unaware that such a malignant disease existed in that particular area. Our bitch Coco also had a narrow escape.

The couple was devastated. We, being dog lovers could relate to their pain but we were helpless in giving them any kind of solace. Shweta seemed to be stronger but Shankar took it to his heart and remained indisposed for a long time.

It was more than a month after the incident when I saw Shweta looking for something in thick vegetation. In front of our house, we had an open compound that was ill-maintained. Wild grass and few Gulmohar trees occupied that piece of land. Stray dogs were often found taking refuge under the trees. My curiosity was piqued. I called her name and as a friendly gesture reached the spot where she was sitting.

I stood there, loss at words. There were three puppies, very young, not more than a month old. Shweta was applying medicine on them to remove ticks. She disclosed that she found them by chance. She was feeding them and would be getting them vaccinated.  What I saw on her face was sheer joy. She was mothering them as her own and I was touched by her dedication.

After that evening, we became friends. During one of the conversations, she revealed that Shankar had not recovered from Simba’s loss. He still had not accepted it but she had found comfort in taking care of these pups. I could see, Shankar did not participate in Shweta’s help out sessions but no one knew of the twist of fate that was to follow.

Sometimes I marvel at how miracles happen. If someone calls them coincidences then why and how are they placed so accurately and precisely.

One evening, it was almost twilight when Shweta heard the incessant barking of dogs just outside her gate. Her concern for the pups brought her out. She couldn’t see anything alarming but the barking wouldn’t stop. She decided to check the thicket. As she was about to enter, she saw a silhouette of a dog, standing in shadows. She stood still for it was no stray dog. As she looked ahead, her eyes met a huge Doberman looking at her. Doberman is a breed of guard dogs. They are ferocious and fierce.

Shweta, by some stroke of luck, had brought her phone along. Without taking her eyes off the danger ahead, she called Shankar. The urgency in her voice was not to be missed and Shankar came out immediately. Surprisingly, the dog had not moved, nor growled at them. It seemed he was scared.

As Shankar went closer, he saw the collar around his neck. It was clear now that it must be either abandoned or lost.

The guard at the gate had no inkling of this full-grown hound’s entry. It was clear, he used some other passage. Shweta refused to handle him. Shankar reluctantly took him in. He turned out to be the most well-trained dog, who very helplessly stood for his fate to be decided by this human being. Shankar fed him and put him to sleep.

The next morning, the entire neighbourhood was asked if they knew anything about this Doberman. No one responded. He was taken to veterinary care. Being a small town, the only hope was that the doctor might be aware of his master or handler. The doctor had never seen him before. It was becoming more and more intriguing.

Shweta expressed her incapacity in devoting her time and attention to this new uninvited member. Her plea was that she had got her hands full. Shankar’s wounds had still not healed. He was not ready to be hurt again but is there a choice when destiny plays its masterstroke?

He is now called Leo, the same Doberman who entered their lives from nowhere. Shankar found his love rekindled. He couldn’t ignore Leo’s love gazes for long. It was revived, the old camaraderie and affection. Shweta has found her Simba back. She confided in me that she was sure Simba had reincarnated as one of these pups. Her love was back in a new form and so was Shankar’s. Their new love stories found many episodes of laughter and happiness blossoming downstairs for me to wonder at.

Love does find its way. All we have to do is to open our arms to accept it.

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