In loving memory of toby

Toby our annoying pug does so many things he’s not supposed to. Urinates in the laundry room, begs during all meals, and cries when the maids leave to go back home. Today he’s been laid to rest, and I wish he would annoy us one last time. Come back and whine by the bedroom door to be let in, and in 7 seconds whine to go out, and repeat the process again. We were all his personal doormen in the house, and thats how he saw us. We used to think he’s an unusual dog to drink so much water, what we didn’t realise, was that his kidneys were failing.
This has been a year of loss. My grandfather left us in June, and toby hurried to join him soon after. Dadaji gave him the best cuts of fruit every morning, and those were the juiciest sweetest fruit bits in Kolkata, because dadaji really knew how to choose his fruits right. We were no match, and he’s gone to get his morning papaya and cucumber from the master of fruits, my grandfather.
We are burying him in farmhouse and planting a big tree on the burial ground, so toby remains immortal forever.
One of the difficult things about coping with death is that you worry that their memory might fade. I’d like to write down some things here so my fear gets alleviated.
He was such a naughty pup when he arrived, would love to climb on to everything he could, including us. Bursting with curiosity and full of ticks. The energy levels declined, but the ticks never left him till the end, the bloody parasites, even though he hardly had any blood left. Although there were years that he was tick free, we recently realised that they were hiding in the house, and proliferating in corners, cornices and under furniture. Towards the middle of this life, he was like an old man who didn’t like change in the house. He grumbled quite a bit when the gardener would take buckets from the washrooms to the balcony, or when the cleaners would come to sweep and swop. As a pup he would often latch on to the mop, and be swung around along with the mop but refuse to let go. Pugs seem to have such human expressions, it provided never-ending amusement to us. Between confusion, curiosity, being indignant and sleepy summed up a majority of his day. He would eat flowers off guests shoes, stole a piece of chicken from my brother’s plate, all in a days work. It would be hard to eat eggs or papaya without giving him a piece of it, and when I went away to hostel, eating papaya never felt the same again. I’m certain that it became sweeter when we shared it with him. Papayas without you toby, will forever be flavor-less.
I held him in my arms while the anaesthesia was administered to him, and it felt like it was the right thing, the only thing to do. My friends told me that they could never do it to their dogs, but looking at him in last few days, it felt like we couldn’t not do it. Earlier today, he sensed that he was going to go, and he didn’t let any of us leave his side at all, until the point the anaesthesia men arrived. At that point he climbed on our laps, and then went back down and became aloof.
I don’t know how much language dogs understand, but they must have a part of brain that we don’t, as their ability to sense situations, and give love is unparalleled.


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