Since childhood, I’ve been fond of keeping a dog. I used to bring the puppies home. Then I used to take care of them at home. The puppies were dirty. I used to rescue them from the drain as well. The house’s atmosphere cannot stay healthy with a dirty street puppy. My parents were upset with me. The puppies became my friend quickly. They were always behind me wherever I went, whether at school or in the market.
Lucky brought in
So, one day, my father told me to keep a dog of a good breed if I wanted to raise a puppy. My father brought a Fox Terrier puppy from the city of Kanpur. Light brown, she was three months old. Her round-shinny eyes and V-shaped face gave her a distinctly cute look. It was a cold winter in Kanpur. I put her on my side with a blanket and made her sleep. My mother named her Lucky.
Lucky grew up. She was a delight to my family because of her sweet look and cheerfulness. As soon as my mother, I, or anyone used to call her ‘Lucky,’ she would immediately turn her neck to see in response. For example, my mother in Bengali said Lucky Ai, Khabi Ai ((Lucky come, eat food) while serving her food. So she reached out to her designated place near the kitchen.
She loved small children. A two-year-old girl used to sit in front of my house on a rope-woven chair. Lucky used to lurk and sit beside her. The girl caressed ‘Lucky.’ Lucky greeted the girl by waving her tail. The neighborhood’s children were so fondly mixed with Lucky that it often came from their mouths addressing my mom, hey, Lucky ki Mammi.
She loved to eat meat. My mother cooked mutton every Sunday. The aroma of the spices of cooking mutton would make her soul happy at first. When our family members ate mutton, she gave a straight look, presuming when it would be her turn to eat. Even when someone stood in front of her and became a hindrance to her view of our eating mutton, she would get furious and bark loudly.
Lucky’s distinct quality
Lucky had another quality. She scratched the exit door when she had to defecate or urinate. For this, I accompanied her during the day. I often bound her in a chain while taking her out. But I used to leave her open at night for defecation. Again, she scratched the door to come inside.
One thing needs to be said here. The stray dogs on the street had their eyes on Lucky. Maybe they were jealous of her. Lucky was a part of our family. Her living style differed entirely from that of street dogs.
Sometimes a bunch of street dogs tried to pounce on her. But Lucky was a dog of a foreign breed. Her strength was too much. The dog herd took to their heels as soon as she groaned.
Maybe it was the only mistake, and we lost our Lucky. We used to leave Lucky alone late at night for defecation. To some extent, I didn’t particularly appreciate waking up from a deep sleep at night and taking her out.
Lucky went out at night on a fateful day. She didn’t return when in between, I woke. I was sure that something had happened.
My dad and I came out of the house. It shocked us what we saw. There was a gutter on Kalpi road by the side of our home. Dirty water flows through it. Lucky was moaning inside the gutter.
It was suddenly cold in Kanpur that day. In front of the gutter laid small thrones. The thorn was pricking at the foot. But without caring, we rushed. Those miscreant street dogs in a bunch attacked her mercilessly. Although moaning, she was trying with her all might get out of their clutches. Those dogs had bled her by bitting every corner of her body.
I realized that maybe those dogs had already laid a trap. And together, they dragged her into the gutter. My dad and I drove away those dogs and got her out of the gutter. She was bleeding. The dirty water of the gutter shrank her body.
After bringing her to the house, we bathed her with cold water. The necessity of bathing arose as the herd of dogs dipped her in the dirty water.
The stray dogs severely injured her. Besides, in the night’s cold, was it right to bathe her with cold water or not—this doubt still haunts my mind?
Her final days and her tragic end
Lucky stopped walking and wasn’t eating food. She looked desperate, tears in her eyes like a soldier lost in a fiery battle. This incident was in 1974 when Lucky was six years.
The veterinary doctor was hard to find. Finally, a doctor was there in a village named Masiumpur, about ten kilometers from our house. He used to give medicine for dogs’ diseases and carry their checkups.
On asking, he said that he would visit us in the next two days. So no choice but to wait for him at home. But her condition was deteriorating.
On the late-night of September 4, 1974, my sleep got disrupted when I heard my mother cry. My father then disclosed to me that Lucky had passed away. The word fell short; how I was so hurt then..
I was in the seventh standard and was under growing age. So I was hesitant to cry openly.
Lying down, I covered my face with a pillow, and my eyes moistened in grief. The pillow was getting wet. The thought that Lucky was no more was something I could not believe my eyes.
Conclusion and sentiments
The next day was Teacher’s Day (September 5). But I did not go.
When I went to school on September 6, after knowing the reason, one of my friends said, “Oh man, you were so sad after a death of a trivial dog only!!. For this, you took leave, he exclaimed. My emotion for Lucky was so strong that my voice choked. So, I couldn’t reply to my friend.