By Anna Tully
"I have found that when you are deeply troubled, there are things you get from the silent devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source." - Doris Day (actress)
"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace." - Milan Kundera (author, The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
"A lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me." - Barack Obama (former President of the United States)
My mother had a dog named Jokai before my two brothers and I were born. To say we grew up with him wouldn't be accurate. He was there in the same way as my father was there, the tree in the garden was there, school was there and Sundays were there; I liked some of these but not others. I spent my time with horses and did not give enough time to Jokai. I vividly remember the day he died and I knew it was a terrible day for my mother. He was a cocker spaniel and I can remember his silky soft long copper ears and his kind, intelligent face.
Many years later, I began working and was living in Delhi in a very comfortable ground floor apartment surrounding a small green garden. There, residents would take their dogs and themselves for exercise and join the local population of Delhi dogs who hang out at certain times during the day. I noticed that they all get on well; the pedigree American Great Dane and the long term habitue of the street with the chewed ear - both chase the same ball, competitively and yet without anger.
One day, there was a new dog; not a puppy but a young dog. He was very playful and also respectful of the older dogs; there was something about him that drew me. Perhaps it was his independence. He asked for nothing. Time passed and it seemed that he and I like each other's company. Neither of us rushed into a relationship. He definitely did not want to move in with me. He was invited; he came in, walked around every room sniffing, checking it all again and then sauntered out.
We took him to the vet so that he could get all the necessary health certificates. He learned to open the gate and come in if he chose to. He has enormous grace and kindness and gave me an affection I delighted in. He could also open the fridge, but not take anything from it. When I offered him a little treat, his mouth would open in a way that is as delicate as the spinning of jalebi.
However, while he was there being the most perfect dog in the world and giving me a companionship I never knew, if he happened to hear one of his mates barking somewhere outside, he would be gone like a shot. Of course, he used to check that all is fine before he raced out the door.
What name does he have? Jokai, of course. That's his official name on his certificates. When we walked together, I used to tell him that his name is Jokai 2, because my Mum had a dog called Jokai and he is Jokai 2. He understood.
Later, I had to leave Delhi. I could not take Jokai to my new home - an apartment in the middle of a city on the 3rd floor; there was no garden, no people, no space. Before then, he had never spent a day on his own.
It has been three years and ten months since I left. Today, Jokai is living a marvellous life with wonderful people.
I miss him every day.
When I go to Delhi, which is once every 5 months, we see each other. He recognises me and we do a delighted dance which makes me so happy. We make a big fuss, then, at a certain point, I leave. He comes to the gate, we look at each other and I can see that he is fine- in his heart he is fine. I can see that he cares about me, but he is not going to be unhappy when I leave; he will get on with his life.
I so miss him.
Note: In my article I have mentioned animal to refer to situations, that is because these remedies are safe to be used for dogs, cats, horses, etc.
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