We adopted Dixa Babu, a rescued stray dog, under challenging circumstances in 2021. Our association went back to 2007, when he used to sing-bark to welcome Maa or me every day. It was followed by a tight push from him in an attempt to make us fall. He was brat, a right hand man to Mukhiyaji, the pack leader. Together they threw their weight around to bully Fringy and Socks, the other group members.
A stray dog is often branded dangerous even if he just barks. Our Dixa Babu fell in that category although all he had to offer to mankind was unconditional love. He would rub his head on our clothes for extra attention.
When Dixa Babu lost Mukhiyaji in April 2020 in a road accident, he began to age. Stray dogs mourn and grieve the loss of their pack mates. For two days, he skipped food. He became a silent shadow of his former jovial self.
Dixa Babu started to show signs of vision impairment on the day COVID struck us. I had a private vet pick him up for his safety when Maa and I couldn’t tend to him. As soon our quarantine ended, I rushed to the clinic to get Dixa Babu home. When I put him on my lap, a cleaner said, “People abandon breed dogs in old age and you are taking a blind stray dog home?” I welled up.
With his home-coming, it was our turn to sing lullabies to Dixa Babu. He became a pup who loved to throw tantrums. He snored while I worked. His heart had grown weak and he snuggled up to me when it did not pump well. At one point he totally lost his vision, but his sense of smell and hearing became supremely powerful.
On 1 June, 2021, Dixa Babu left us. It was not easy because tending to him had become a habit. But there was solace knowing he did not die of neglect at a shelter, but had come home to live the last 50 days of his life to the fullest.