Chatting with friends last evening and sharing stories on our four footed friends, I was reminded of the incredible story of Khalua as he breathed his last.
Khalua – or ‘the black one’ in Sinhalese – was a road dog.
I noticed him hanging around when I moved into my new home and thought he belonged to one of the other eight homes on a private street – but soon realised no one ‘claimed’ him as their own. I found out he had been adopted by the workers on our construction site and left behind when then moved on. Our street was his home and he would patrol the neighbourhood. Everyone fed him. There was no routine and no regular diet but he was sturdy (around 17 kg) and tough.
He was also an excellent watchdog. Every time I reached home, he would come bounding in from wherever he was, jump over the boundary wall and carry out a recky (reconnoitre) of the premises, giving me a sort of ‘thumbs up, its safe for you to enter’. I would open the gate and drive in but he never took the easy walk out but leaped over the wall again after I had closed the gate. It was very comforting to have him around, especially when I drove home alone, late at night.
I grew to love my security guard. Others with evil intent did not.
They tried to poison him once and physically injured him another time. I called the vet – and he recovered from both incidents. Then, the ‘would be intruders’ – I can’t imagine any other reason for wanting to injure the dog – had thrown something causing serious burns. It was bad.
My living room was turned into a ward as the vet visited daily to administer a drip. Dad took over as Matron in charge whilst I went to work.
One day, I had just reached office when Dad called to say Khalua had taken a turn for the worse. Dad figured correctly that I would want to be there. I attended to some urgent work and left for home. I was half way there when Dad called again to say there was no need to rush as Khalua had breathed his last. Since I was in no mood to go back to work I decided I would continue as planned. I drove slowly for there was no rush. It may have taken me about 20 minutes to reach home … and this is the incredible part that is seared in my memory.
When I entered the living room, the drip was off and Dad was standing by Khalua lying inert on the floor. Dad simply looked at me. He loved animals and he loved Khalua; there was no need for words. I waited a few seconds to collect myself and then knelt by Khalua’s side, and Khalua .. that beloved loyal dog that graced my life … lifted his head, licked my hand and then closed his eyes .. this time for good.
Again words failed us. For twenty minutes or more, he had held on to his last breath to say “Thank you”. Khalu beautiful loving dog, it is I who have to say thank you to YOU, for caring for me and taking over the job of security guard; for making me feel safe when I returned home alone late at night; for loving me.
I love you too Khalu … enjoy eternal bliss with your Creator.
And to all the dogs who have always loved unconditionally and who have gone ahead : Family dogs Spotty, Prince, Charky (Charcoal), Biscuit, Zippy, Chico , and my own dogs Scampy, Elsa, Misty, Rocky and Monster – King of the Road (whom I’ve written about) – thank you for loving me and caring for me. I thank God for the blessings of all of you and am sorry for any neglect and lack of appreciation. You loved more than you were loved. May you be loved un-endingly and snuggled and live happy in your heavenly abode
Image Credit : http://www.allthingsclipart.com/06/loving.dog.clipart.htm