Dogs are said to be man’s best friend and companion from time immemorial.
Faithful, loyal and love are the words used to describe any dog. It is mentioned in the Mahabharatha that the Dharma devatha followed Yuthisthir to heaven in the form of a dog. Many stories of bravery of dogs who protected their masters during accidents and wars have found their space in the frontpage of newspapers. Recently, there was news about two street mongrels raised by the migrant construction workers, who worked in the ill-fated building in Moulivakkam, Chennai. Their masters dead inside the debris, the dogs waited without food or water for more than two days. Such heartwrenching stories will bring tears to anybody’s eyes.
But can we attribute these well-known qualities to all dogs in general? I highly doubt this. I was the owner or rather partly an owner of a dog in my childhood. Technically speaking, he was owned by the entire colony we lived in for he was fed by all. He was a street dog with dirty brown skin and unintelligent eyes. We really don’t know where he came from or who named him Chullan. He had the peculiar habit of barking at us, and when he saw a stranger, he would blink as if he has forgotten that he had vocal cords.
The colony people thought that he was a German Shepherd in mufti and entrusted him the security of the colony. Only they forgot to inform him about the posting. A costly mistake indeed. When a house was wiped clean in the middle of the night when the inhabitants were away, no body heard even a murmur. In the morning when the colony people searched for Chullan, he was found asleep behind a bush. Though he was let-off, he was never trusted again.
Even his food habits were peculiar. He never touched anything that did not appeal to him. No amount of cajoling or threatening would make him eat leftovers or cold food. He chose the house for his breakfast, lunch or dinner on any day.
My pious grandmother had the habit of feeding a crow before the meals and a dog after eating. Since Chullan ate only the best of foods, the leftovers from the morning were given to us and hot rice was made especially for him. Observing this for many days, my sister once angrily remarked, “I wish I was born as Chullan.”
He did not possess any general or special quality that can be related to dogs. Of course, except fighting with other street dogs.
Once he was heavily wounded during a fight and couldn’t recover from it. His health faded. He couldn’t go to any house of his choice for his food. He even refused to eat anything offered to him. After his death he was removed with the help of a scavenger and buried in a garden whose owner was kind enough to give him a space. He may have died unsung. But the colony people did care for him. Only he couldn’t reciprocate. He served no master and loved none. I still think that mother nature had made a mistake. Chullan was not meant to be born as a dog at all.