“Man’s best friend”.
There’s absolutely no need for extensive descriptions to elaborate on those few words of simple truth. Dominant and mainstream research shows that the origin and evolution of this human-canine bond dates back to around 15,000 years or longer and that our canine companions were most likely the first animals to have lived side by side with humans. Well, that would explain their uncanny ability to understand us; the comforting lick just when we need it, that makes us feel better every time. Ever wondered why the phrase “doggy eyes” or “puppy eyes” exists and not, let’s say, “kitten eyes”? If you search up Puss in Boots when he makes those big, round and sad eyes there is a good chance it might be captioned “puppy-dog” eyes. The irony! Besides, we know exactly what that beseeching look means. That’s right, it’s beseeching! We don’t need to know it because we feel it. It’s a long-standing emotional attachment that makes us smitten by their capacity to love and trust, give companionship and protection expecting little in return. It’s no surprise that they win a foremost place in a person’s life.
Such was the place that my own canine friend achieved in my heart, and still continues to thrive there despite her physical disappearance from my world, five years ago to this day.
Different people had different opinions to express on how she could have suddenly disappeared off the face of the earth. Maybe she could have gone wandering off and been adopted by someone else. Well, in my opinion, that certainly could not have happened. I was fiercely convinced of her loyalty. Maybe she could have died accidently in the process of the sterilization program conducted by the government authorities. Or worse, she may have faced a more unfortunate fate. All these horrible thoughts just trickled down to one fact. That she was gone forever, still missing to this very day.
Her name was Brownie. Certainly not a pedigree but a light brown stray. She came into my world when her mother gave birth to her in our lane and since then, she was the last survivor of a litter of six puppies. Roaming freely on the roads alongside her mother, the protection and the love that she offered us and our neighbors, cannot be valued.
I remember to this day when she was just a naughty little puppy fighting amongst her sisters and brothers for her portion of milk. I remember the way she used to wag her short stubby tail furiously when our vehicle would arrive home. I remember all the days that she accompanied me to my school bus, and back home. Similarly, I also recall the sheer panic and immense pain that I felt when she went missing.
She didn’t belong to us, she was just a stray, but the loyalty and the affection that she showed us made me aware of just how much value she placed in our love and care for her. I would laugh when visitors always mistook her for our dog because she was so well groomed and good-looking. An incident that I cherish and will never forget during her time with us was when she waited, in the drizzling rain, at the doorstep of my Sinhala tuition class in our lane, waiting for me to come out and cuddle her. She sat there patiently for four hours straight, just because she noticed me sitting inside! And then, when I eventually came out, the ecstasy she displayed in her jubilation was certainly proved by my muddy clothes when I arrived home!
The countless memories and all the good times we shared are what makes this the most unfortunate incident that I ever experienced. She was still young, and had she survived somehow, the fact that she would have been with me to this day is what makes her absence the more harder to digest. I remember the effort we took to find her and the rising expectation in my heart that the next dog I might see on the road would be her; that she would come running to embrace me with her wet licks and joyful welcome. The disappointment still stings.
I don’t know where she is. All I know is that the gap she left in my life can never be filled by another canine friend, and that I will always expect to meet her somewhere around the corner, waiting to greet me. When man’s best friend goes missing, and is nowhere to be found, all man can do is to watch and wait, patiently.
– Rtr Senadie De Alwis
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