Thursday, March 12, 2009

In the memory of Frisky....

As far as I can remember, we have always had dogs in our house—and somehow one of them has always been black in color. Local kids used to point towards our house and say “Kalo kukur, kalo kukur”… which in Bengali means black dog! Having a dog around, made us feel safe… and also made us feel loved.

So far we have had 5 dogs – Taki I, Taki II, Taki III, (Yes, you guessed right-- We like giving our dogs unique names!!) Chotu and Frisky. Dogs normally reserve their loyalties for only one person – their master, but our Black and Tan Daschund, Frisky, was different. He was Everybody’s dog, and that is what made him unique. This is the story of a dog, who filled our house with love and happiness – and somehow though he is no more today, all that he stood for… still continues.

As a pup, he was no bigger than your palm.. now imagine this little mouse like looking thing running all over the house, with 6 people running behind him, scared that they might step on him and kill him!! That was his first day at home. He was a mischievous little imp, with boundless energy and thus he was christened ‘Frisky’. Over the next 13 years, he continued his funny ways but made sure that each day was filled with lots of smiles and happiness.

It was hilarious seeing him drink milk—his long ears inside the bowl, slowly you could see his black ears turning white-- and when he got too impatient licking the milk, he would put his paw in the bowl and spill all the milk.. somehow it gave him greater pleasure licking the milk off the floor or maybe he just loved seeing the exasperated looks on our faces!!

On his second day at home.. he decided it was time to venture out into the world and conquer it!! And so he barged into our neighbours house… barking his head off at their three year old Labrador (!)… and wait the best is yet to come… this teeny weeny daschund –with sheer courage and guts—scared the Lab outta his skin!! Once the two dogs had decided who was stronger, they became the best of friends. It was funny seeing a Labrador and a Daschund together – their difference in size didn’t seem to matter to them. Frisky went on to greater heights in life… befriending a Doberman and a Dalmatian!!

Frisky loved eating, and he hated wastage. His favourite as a pup was banana peels!! Thankfully he grew out of this liking and developed a more sophisticated taste-bud! Mangoes and Parshaad became his new favourite and also the bait used to give him any medicine when needed. No matter in which part of the house he was, if parshaad was being warmed… his nose would sound alarm bells and he would go ballistic. He could put Pavlov’s dog to shame with his salivation abilities!!

It was his love of eating that once got him terribly sick – so sick that we thought we would lose him. He loved eating ‘Ber’ which had fallen from the trees into our drain, and this was probably how he contracted the deadly ‘Parvo Virus’, when he was merely 6 months of age. All the Vets gave up on him… all except one. That one doctor seemed like Messiah to us – with his broad smile and reassuring voice and we knew that in his care, Frisky would be ok soon – and he was.

The above incident made us realise that we had come to love and adore Frisky in a span of just 6 months. That is Frisky for you – You could not help falling in love with him. One look at his soulful eyes could melt a hardened criminal – they were so full of love and brimming with expression!! But not everything about him was cute and nice… read on!!

One bright sunny day, Frisky decided we weren’t giving him enough food – so he went to the neighbour’s house in search of better tasting food. We didn’t know how much destruction a hungry dog could cause, till we saw it for ourselves… bread, eggs, biscuits strewn all over the place – the only good thing was that frisky seemed satisfied and happy after his meal although we couldn’t have a proper conversation with our neighbours for weeks without feeling embarrassed!!

And then there was the day that he drank 3 and half litres of milk!! Finding the milk vessel unguarded, which was by mistake left on a low lying table – Frisky had a field day. His small little tummy bloated up and we were so scared that it might burst… he couldn’t walk and slept for the whole day in the same place!! Although now we laugh at it... that day we were downright scared and also angry!!

But Frisky had a mind of his own… he always did exactly what he wanted to do… no matter what! When we got Frisky home… we decided that we would train him well and teach him all the commands. We bought books on dog training, read a lot BUT we failed and Frisky succeeded!! All he ever learnt was sit… he would give paw if threatened with a slap (or bribed with food!!) and if he was in an extremely good mood he would oblige us by responding to ‘Down’ too (Although I suspect that this was ‘coz he was to lazy to sit and was just too happy to lie down!!). Having failed miserably in teaching him the basics, we tried teaching him ‘Fetch’. But he was more interested in his version of ‘Fetch’ which did not include bringing the bone/ball back… instead he would sit down and chew at it happily!! Daschunds are generally stubborn by nature, and difficult to train… and that is what we would like to believe rather than accept the fact that we were pathetic trainers!!

Giving Frisky medicines was a nightmare for us. We devised many ways to camouflage the tablets… and thought we were clever but soon realised he was much cleverer than us. He would gobble up the rasgulla but spit out the tablet and then look at us as though mocking us and saying “Haha.. Better luck next time!!”.

Over the span of 13 years, we gave Frisky many names… Filly, Billy Boy (from the famous song Billy boy), Bluey, Mousey and Pitter Patter!! One may wonder how you can name your dog pitter patter, well this is how – Frisky had really long nails (and I mean REALLY long!)… so when he walked, his nails hit the floor and that sounded like ‘Pitter patter’ !! Simple, Isn’t it??
It was a real task cutting his nails… we had bought anaesthetic gel, doggie nail cutter and still we could never cut his nails… we were just so scared he would get hurt J
The only person who could cut his nails was my sister, who used to come home once in 2 years… and every time she came home from the US, the first thing we would tell her was “Please cut Frisky’s nails before leaving!!”

Like I said before, frisky was everybody’s dog… he took food only from mom, went for a walk only with my uncle, slept only with me, got his nails cut only by my sister… but he gave love to everyone. My dad used to hate dogs, but even he had to change his ways when frisky sat before him waiting to be petted.

Frisky was always there, to listen, to talk and to just be there. No body felt alone as long as Frisky was around. A day before my Grandmother died, frisky cried and cried – without any reason, as though signalling to the heavens to open their gates to let her in. He too understood the grief and shared it with us… as he always did.

But old age was catching up with him and slowly we all realised that one day we would have to bid this bundle of joy farewell. Frisky breathed his last on 6th march 2009, but his story doesn’t end here!!

In a city like Kolkata, where every third house has a dog, it is surprising that there is no proper place where a dog can be laid to rest with dignity. There is however, one organisation name ‘Karuna Kunj’ which has set up a shelter for dogs and cats some 30 kms aways from kolkata and these people also provide a burial ground for your loving pet (And God Bless them for this). Anyone who has ever lost a pet, would realise the importance of a proper resting place for their pet. Frisky too was laid to rest here, and the receipt that they give for their services is as follows… it confirmed my belief that Frisky would live forever J

My dearest Master,

I am lucky to have had a Master who loved me enough to see that I was laid to rest with dignity. The word "interweb" has become fashionable these days. There is, however, a Cosmic Interweb of Souls which cuts across the barriers of this world, and this is what brought me into your home & heart ; and this is what made you bring me to Karuna Kunj....

I lived to bring you joy, to get your love and give you all I had, in my own funny way. Now, I am gone and you live on. For the love I bore you, and for the love you have for me and for the interweb which binds all beings, I am making this parting plea

"Live for those who love you,
For those that think you true,
For the heaven that is above you,
And the hope that you have in view,
For the cause that needs resistance,
For the future in the distance,
And the good that you can do.

Your loving pet


  1. You did a great job capturing his essence...and eccentricities!!! I bawled like a baby while I was reading your post.

  2. Blessed are the masters who had such a dog fr company (or the other way round).. I don't know about women, but DOGS are known to be a man's best friend.
    I fondly remem my dear dog (Astro a black GSD)who was so cute so cute wen he ws a pup, ki i had to have him b4 my eyes at all times!! I remem i used to rush out of my chemistry tutions as soon possible coz my teacher used to write his 'K' in such a way that it resembled the drooping ears of my little pooch... haah... No wondr i cuddn't crack my JEE..

    I knw its tuff to lose a loved one, but as all stories... the last page of the novels are most juciest.. i juss loved the way u ppl bade a final farewell to Frisky!!
    The poem really touched my heart, and hope it wraps up ur pooch's feelings towards ur loving caring family!!

  3. :'-(
    i have a pet dog too.. 'sweetie'.
    Simple n beautifully written, amar..
    and that last bit was just an amazing bit of info.
    With lots of love to my dear
    Thanks amar..

  4. I too had a dog named Astro..
    it was damn fun wen he was arnd us and as u told we tried training him too but it was no good, al we got was a hand shake on exchange of puffed lotus seeds..lolz

    Simple yet beautifully written..