No one knows when he came. He came and intruded. With love. He was weak, small; and as usual us humans treated him with contempt and stones. Ram, Lakshman my children became friendly with him; as they are with all the community dogs here. Since he jumped a lot, they named him Jumpy. Amongst stones and contempt, Jumpy found loving angels, Ram Lakshman and their gang. He became their companion. Out of our home, whether in play field or to the colony shop or anywhere, he would always accompany them.
People began to consider him a nuisance. Since many hated him, he seemed to become fearful and would bark at strangers some times. This behaviour of his earned him more enemies, and thanks to WhatsApp, everyone started exaggerating stories of his terror. I became known and friendly to him much later: earlier i would just bank on the good will of Ram Lakshman so that he didn’t bother me. But his love was so profound that he would not leave us anytime. Taking my pet dog for walk became difficult because he would linger around. The colony people began to shout at us and our children, saying ‘अपना कुत्ता बाँध के रखो ‘. There were threats to beat the hell out of him. There were few dog lovers in the colony, too, one of whom (perhaps rightly) said ‘i find some humans here in the colony perhaps much more dangerous than Jumpy! ‘.
We got him sterilised, thinking that would reduce his aggression. May be, it did. May be it would be wrong to call it aggression. Dogs are territorial, and Jumpy had his territory. Very small one. Around our Block K. We also began to feed him, thinking that a fed dog would be less ‘disturbing’ to others. That brought him up on the 4th floor where we live. Visitors to our home – phoolwalla, doodhwalla, dhobin, telephonewalla – he would bark at them. They began to threaten quitting/ express unhappiness. Simultaneously, there were news of Jumpy being beaten, stoned off and on by his haters. Even our neighbours complained. Every now and then, there was barking outside our home, and we feared the awful – that Jumpy bit someone. Although perhaps he never did bite. He just barked to may be protect himself.
Amongst this background, i called up MCD Vet doctor to take his advice. He mentioned that in case Jumpy is a real nuisance, a reputed NGO can take him to a dog shelter. I remembered in Australia there are no stray dogs because they would be kept in dog shelters. I checked about the dog shelter conditions – i was assured that dogs are not kept caged there; however they have to live and adjust with other dogs there : different dogs take different time to adjust. They are well fed, and are provided medical care if required. It was also mentioned that though safe and comfortable, the dog there may not be as happy as the colony where he is.
This made me feel uncomfortable and i returned the NGO van that had come to pick him up. Just could not give him. He had so much love for us in his eyes – more than our pet dog. He would now walk with me and pet dog even outside his territory – staying close to me, as if telling other dogs : i’m theirs, i’m safe, don’t mess with me.
The next day Jumpy ate up the sofa set of neighbours that they had kept outside for repair. They again pleaded to send him off. Complaints, news of someone having hit him, people shouting at Ram Lakshman continued.
I called the NGO Van again. Earlier we sent off Jumpy in the same van for steriliaation. He recognised the neck loop, the van. We thought we would feed him and take him in a leash to the van. Ram, my 10 year old, who has a strange amazing bond with animals felt uncomfortable. A few days ago only he had remarked, “Papa, जब कोई बच्चे मुझे कुत्ता बोलते हैं तो i tell them, thanks for the compliment. Papa, i really thing dogs are more amazing than humans”. We gave Jumpy bone to eat. After that we put him a collar and leash and with another chicken stick in hand, lured him close to the van. He became suspicious and wanted to run. His neck collar came off and he was free. He could have run – if he runs, no one can catch him. But he stayed, looked around, came to me. He trusted me. I again put a collar around his neck, and handed him to the van.
Ram wept for an hour. I am sad. The doodhwalla, dhobin, guards would all be happy. May be, Jumpy would be better there – in one sense – at least he would not be hit there. But he would also miss this place. I am not sure if he will trust me again. Or may be, if we go to meet him, he will again wag his tail and jump lovingly on us. Afterall, he is not a human.