A dog and a learning curve

By Sheila Kumar
A pet can be an entertainer and sometimes it can also teach us life’s valuable lessons

We had a Golden Retriever called Boss for seven years — a stunner with his sandy coat, brilliant black eyes and handsome muzzle. However, it was his good humoured demeanour that set him apart from other dogs. Boss didn’t leave any pups, but has left us with lessons we would absorb into our lives. The first lesson is a very basic one: grooming. Boss was rather a dandy. He did enjoy walking through puddles or scratching at wet mud. But the moment he’d return home, he’d come and ask for his evening brushing.

The second one is a not-to-do: getting in the way. Because Boss always did that. He’d be in the maid’s way when she swept the house; in my way as I brought out steaming dishes from the kitchen to the dining table. He’d be lying just outside the bathroom as someone would step out.

Boss was both aware and observant. He’d mostly lie around resting his heavy muzzle on his front paws, but his eyes and ears were alert. He’d caution us against people just before they arrived at our door, roaches trying to creep behind cupboards, even a stray dust ball spinning around. Unconditional love was the next thing; Boss loved us all. He filled the rooms with an aura of love; it was so infectious, we caught it in no time. And now I know that unconditional love strengthens you in some indefinable way.

Cutting loose was another lesson. Boss would be absorbed in something only up to a point, beyond which he'd let go. He'd play with a toy, and then walk away without a backward glance. He’d suddenly slacken his hold on the rope during a game of tug- of- war or drop it. He’d become upset every time we packed to leave on a journey without him. He'd sniff the bags, mope, heave deep sighs, and suddenly rediscover his sunny side, come up and deliver a loving lick on our face. 

That is how I'm coping with his loss: trying to cut loose like he did and be happy with my store of treasured memories.


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