“You may have many best friends but your dog has only one.” – Unknown
Over a dozen dogs snarled, ready to gnaw into my flesh. They barked
ferociously and I had only my bead bag to protect me. I felt helpless
and suddenly from nowhere, an auto-rickshaw pulled up and I jumped in.
It was a close shave.
I walked early morning to the village temple and was overwhelmed when
the dogs surrounded me. I guess they felt threatened at an intruder.
Or perhaps my appearance in a dhoti and kurta- a rare dress, even in
Indian villages these days, and a tilak mark on my forehead, and my
loud chanting, attracted their wrath.
The following day, I again wished to go to the temple before sunrise.
This time I carried a stick but when I saw the dogs at a distance, I
retreated; I felt unsure of its efficacy to ward off the menacing
A neighbour suggested I carry some biscuits. They were abundantly
available at the roadside shops. I purchased a few packets and the
following morning, braved the journey to the temple again. I was
nervous but the technique worked. The dogs wagged their tails in
approval. I followed the ritual daily and soon the dogs became good
friends. One day I tried another route where earlier, a lone dog would
bark ominously at me. But I was surprised that even before I took out
my biscuits, he ran to me, waggling his tail. Maybe, his friends told
him about me- I was a good man now!
Over a few days, I witnessed another incident that touched my heart
deeply. One of the dogs followed me to my house. I threw a few crumbs
but he wouldn’t nibble them. He kept flapping his tail, rubbing his
face on my body, and jumping up, even as I briskly walked home. I
wondered what he wanted. I threw some morsels again. He gave a cursory
look at the scarps and insisted on walking with me. I never liked dogs
and could never touch them, or allow them to come close to me. But
this was a different experience. I suddenly felt this dog wants me to
pat him. Instantly I did that and he licked me. He put his face up; he
wanted me to love him and caress him. Grateful, he left after some
time. I returned home, humbled and moved by this animal’s love.
Three levels of our relationship with God
Later that night I reflected on the way my relationship evolved with
the street dogs.
To be continued…