Brawly32 mins 35.8K 32 mins 35.8K
It took Samantha and Samuel 5 long years to make their parents agree on adding a canine member to their family. When he came the little guy was immediately given a name that encapsulated the half-long decade of struggle that had preceded his arrival into his new home - Brawly. Brawly was a pure bred Alsatian. He would grow up to be a fierce looking fellow one-day. Samantha and Samuel loved him to bits. There was not a moment in the day when one of them was not with him. They ate together, slept together, played together, went for walks, taught him tricks, potty-trained him, registered him with the nearby veterinarian and successfully took care of all the responsibilities that came along with having a pet. Both parents were quite surprised by the active approach the kids had adopted to the newest member of the family. “I told you they weren’t a lazy lot Christina.’ Frank, the father, told his wife at the dinner table. Christina nodded in agreement. “They seem to be doing a fine job of taking care of the fellow. I only worry how long their perfected system will continue once summer ends and school begins.” She was right of course, as mothers usually are.
Once school began, the status quo changed drastically. The kids were at school from early morning till mid-noon which meant the burden of looking after the energetic and never-tiring puppy came upon mother Christina. Thankfully over the summer the kids had managed to potty-train him successfully so anytime he had to go; he would grab his leash, enter the kitchen, set it down on the marble floor in plain sight of the nearest pair of human eyes and wait for a reaction as he sat wagging his tail. The trick usually worked. More because it was hard to ignore something so cute than because of the task at hand. Once the kids returned, the reigns of responsibility were duly passed over. In turns they supervised Brawly’s movements throughout the day. The happiest time of the day for both was the outdoor visit in the evening. Samantha usually preferred walking and playing on the swings, while Samuel joined his friends for a game of football. They would leave Brawly free to roam about the park while always keeping an eye on the other dogs nearby and the exits. As soon as Brawly went too far Samantha would blow the whistle and he would return running back. It wasn’t long though before they realized Brawly liked to occasionally indulge in a spat with the other dogs of the colony. Oddly enough, he preferred challenging the dogs bigger than him in size and proportion than the opposite. “Bit of an over-reacher you got there Sam” remarked Matty; Sam’s close friend. “He seems to enjoy bating the big fish rather than compete with his own!” “With a name like Brawly, what did you except him to be - a peacemaker?” Samuel remarked sarcastically. “He’s not exactly Gandhi’s favourite pupil!” the boys laughed watching Brawly engage in yet another duel with a St. Bernard. Samuel chased after them in order to prevent it from going too far. While the boys usually enjoyed watching Brawly’s tactics at work, Samantha worried about her lovely’s pet’s unusual habit. “He’s been raised in an environment of love and care, why must he irk the other dogs and want to fight?” she often asked herself. For Brawly however, a physical engagement was more a playful activity than a test of might. He enjoyed being chased by the other dogs and hence picked on the bigger ones. That’s where lay the challenge. On the rare occasion that the other dog did catch up, Brawly’s evasive maneuvers usually tired him out than result in any injury for either party.
Things got out of hand one day when the newest member of the circuit; a boxer named Sparky entered the playground. Unaware of Brawly’s tendencies, Sparky quickly expressed his lack of sportsmanship for Brawly’s game and began chasing him with the intent to hurt. Brawly was caught off guard and the two ended up in a fierce battle. Both dogs ended up limping home that night. One with an injured ear and tail bitten off and the other with a scratch above his right eye and a deep cut on his hind leg. Neither was seen in the park for a week. The next time Brawly came back to the ground, his leash was tightly secured to his neck. His opponent’s owner decided to find another park, less violent in nature for his dog’s well being.
“Look at his beautiful coat. He’s growing into a handsome healthy young Alsatian I say!” Frank expressed his admiration for Brawly’s growing figure. “You kids have done well looking after his well-being.” His eyes still on the canine who sat peacefully on his rugged square seat. “Mom’s fantastic cooking plays a hand as well dad!” Samantha added. “She only gets the finest meat for him to eat hearty.” Christina smiled acknowledging her youngest ones praise. “I know he’s especially been a blessing to you young man” the spotlight moved to Samuel. “What a comfort he has been during these past few weeks when you have been under pressure to perform in your exams.” Samuel nodded in agreement. “Indeed. They say the greatest therapist is one with four legs and a wagging tail. No charge too!” A small laugh circulated as they looked at Brawly whose eyes were now open; gently becoming aware of his surroundings. “Yes you are; aren’t you?” Frank spoke to Brawly in the tone of an excited youth “Our wonderful little philanthropic family therapist.” He had never been more right in his life.
Kids have a nasty habit of growing up. No one even gives you a warning or a heads-up! You’re just expected to know that it’s going to happen and that’s that. How inconvenient isn’t it? Thought Brawly as he struggled adjusting in the new regime of things. Colonel Puberty had invaded the household and brought his generals; ‘Commander Texting’ and ‘Captain Facebook’ with him. His investments in the children were maturing beautifully much to the dismay of Brawly. The kids were entering teenage hood; the hours on end they once spent with their furry friend were now reduced to a few minutes at a stretch in the entire day. New hobbies such as chatting, going to the movies, planning the next party, visits to the mall now took up their time. Even the visits to the playground were reduced. Christina who had once felt a stern dislike to Brawly now took kindly towards him out of pity. So many times while the kids were not there during the day it was she who would take him for his walks around the neighbourhood. Frank too contributed as many at times the kids would be too tired after their long day. Brawly was not happy with the change of attitude the kids were showing him. The poor creature wondered what he was doing wrong. He tried harder at first to grab their attention. He would grip Samantha’s sock as she returned home and not let her go until she gave him at least half an hour of her time. Otherwise a silent fellow he would bark loudly when someone came home to meet them demanding their attention. When these tactics did not yield suitable success rates he resorted to harsher measures. He bit of the wires that extended from the computer monitor to the power outlet so that they would spend less time staring at the screen. Initially the children did not notice the extent of sabotage the smart fellow had gone through to keep them around longer. From burying cell phones to chewing up shoelaces, he deferred their plans a great deal and the preoccupied children only noticed it too late. But when Samuel and his friends came home to find their movie tickets all torn up and the paper trail leading to Brawly; things had crossed a line. Samuel lost his cool and for the first time in his life raised his hand on Brawly. He rolled up a newspaper and using it as a baton assaulted the dog. Brawly was horrified. A scolding he would’ve anticipated but never a physical rebuke. This was a human not a fellow canine to react in such a barbaric fashion. Brawly sadly learnt the hard way that even humans had a breaking point beyond which they behaved no different from animals. Suddenly he felt like he had never known Samuel at all. Samuels’s friends took him away and tried calming him down while Brawly was left alone to lick his wounds. He sat solitary resting on his side trying to take it all in. Physically he wasn’t seriously injured but something in him changed. It was as if his faith had been shaken.
When Samantha came home and heard of the happenings of the evening she was furious with Samuel. Both engaged in a verbal spat in which Christina had to intervene sending both to their respective rooms. Samuels’s friends went home just as Frank entered the house. He sensed an air of discomfort and was about to ask his wife what was going on when he saw her distressed face. His wisdom had taught him to subdue his curiosity in such situations and let events unfold themselves. “Sit my dear, I’ll get you a glass of water.” She did as told and he comforted her. As they sat talking about each other’s day, Frank found the answers he was intrigued about a few moments earlier. Sympathetic Samantha walked over to Brawly’s enclosure and moved closer with the intent to know how he was doing. Half asleep Brawly was started by the sudden sound of her footsteps and reacted with a growl. Frightened, Samantha stepped back and Brawly realised it was her but din’t care much about her presence. She sat near him and petted him apologetically as if on her brother’s behalf for she had anticipated the impact of the evening upon the regal creature. It was only after a few strokes that Brawly got up, walked away and sat elsewhere. Samantha got the message. She stood up and was beginning to leave when she turned to him and spoke “You know, its your fault too Brawly! Why did you rip up those tickets? You knew exactly what they were; yet you still did it anyway! You haven’t been behaving like yourself these past few weeks; creating all sorts of trouble in the house and disrupting so many of our plans. This was going to happen sooner or later with that kind of behaviour. Why did you do it uh? Why?” “Because he wanted your attention.” came the voice from behind her. Samantha turned around to find Frank standing in the doorway. “Your time, your love is all he’s ever wanted Samantha. But your brother and you barely seem to have any these days. You say his behaviour has changed for the past few weeks, what about your behaviour towards him? You both are barely at home and its we who are looking after his needs. He can’t speak my dear, so he’s been doing what he’s doing to draw you both closer. But after what has happened today its seems you both are more distant than ever.” Samantha turned around to look at Brawly and saw tears trickling down his eyes. Confused and emotional she ran back to her room hurt by what she had heard. Brawly slept leaving his dinner untouched that night. Samuel and Samantha also received some food for the thought.
A few more years passed and the kids were no longer kids anymore. The incident of the beating had long been forgotten and Brawly had not created any more reasons for trouble in the house. Samantha now lived on campus at college and came to visit her family on the weekends. Samuel had gone abroad for his further studies and interacted with them via Skype every now & then. Brawly often wondered how the bright metal screen spoke Samuel’s voice. The first time it happened he got the scare of his life thinking the screen had eaten his master alive! For the next few days Brawly was very observant of the screen’s movements but it always stayed in the same place unless a human moved it. One often got to see him growling at it. The more they skyped, the more suspicious he became of the electronic devil. It was only when Samuel visited the household the next winter did he breathe an air of peace of his masters mortality. The parents had grown closer to Brawly in the absence of the children. They had hired a helper to assist with the duties of the house, as both were now growing old. Christina who would once cook the most sumptuous meals now only supervised in the kitchen. Frank was semi-retired and went to his workplace only every alternate day. Due to lack of activity at home Brawly had taken to socialising with the other dogs in the neighbourhood. His habit to indulge in physical foreplay had reduced considerably and now he often went on long sniffing trails with the other dogs in and around the compounds. They would go together and sniff out food from different garbage disposals of the colony, chase away rogue cats and keep the place free and clear of security threats.
One night a robbery was occurring in one of the houses. The owner’s pet Terrier was a small but clever dog. He ran to Brawlys house and began barking loudly to attract his attention. Brawly awoke but was unable to come to the aid of his friend as all the doors were locked up. Both dogs then began barking loudly alarming the other dogs who followed suit. The noise woke up the residents and ultimately the criminals were caught. Upon capture, the police realised how significant a role the canines had played and the story was covered in the local newspaper with a picture of Brawly and Paulie, the Terrier. The newfound fame encouraged a small fan following for Brawly and Paulie who enjoyed free treats and a dozen belly rubs from many residents all summer.
Brawly began spending more and more time outside the house. Apart from meal times, sleeping & weekends when Samantha came over it became increasingly rare to see him at home. One day Frank saw him just as he was leaving the house through his self-created hole in the wall and shouted ‘Brawly!’ The dog turned around surprised and looked at Frank. ‘Come here and sit down.’ Brawly obeyed. He wondered if he had done something wrong. ‘I see you have become quite popular in the colony amongst your own. Now while I’m happy for you Brawly, you must not forget you’re first and foremost a member of this house. Don’t make this a hotel. We like seeing you too big fella.’ Frank spoke benevolently. Brawlys tail began wagging. He arose and jumped up on Frank licking his face. Overwhelmed Frank laughed out loud and nudged him gently to stop. Brawly barked an excited ‘Woof!’ as he got off Frank and walked away. ‘Haha. Majestic creature.’ Frank spoke as he opened his newspaper to read the days headlines.
* * * * * *
“I tell you mother, it’s so competitive now. All our hard work for the last three years boils down to these final exams. It’s a make or break as far as the aggregate is concerned which is the basis for the selection of candidates. We spend such long stretches of time at the library, we literally feel we should start paying rent to the college!” Samantha exaggerated speaking with Christina. “Well my dear, I’m sure you’ll do well. You have been so regular with your work, there won’t be anything stopping you from achieving your desired target.” Christina encouraged her daughter as always. “I hope your right mom, but enough about me, what’s happening at home? When I come next it’ll be a whole month since I last came. Brawly will be so excited to see me again, he’ll probably jump on me soon as I enter! Please tell papa to have his nails checked uh mom?” Samantha continued.
“Oh his nails can wait. Its you who have to cut your nails first my dear when you meet the puppies.” Christina replied. “Puppies?” came the curious response. “Yes my dear! Brawlys become a father!”
True as an encyclopedia fact it was, Brawlys popularity in the community was not in vain for a pretty young Collie had taken a liking to him. Over the winter both consummated, giving birth to a small litter of 4 puppies. The owners of the Collie named Skyla were an Immigrant family and the idea of puppies did not really appeal to them. So they agreed to giving the puppies away once the initial nursing period was over. They had since become the highlight of the household. The mother was fiercely protective about them. Even after they left, she would come to Brawly’s house and spend long hours mothering them. Brawly on the other hand disliked anything to do with mollycoddling the pups. He handled the aspect of ‘toughening them up’; taking them on long exhausting trails, making them wrestle each other and occasionally take on a beaver or a mongoose of similar size, running, jumping and other forms of reckless activity. When a pup came home bruised or limping, the mother would run to lick his wound while Brawly would upon him with pride. For him a scar was a bold statement that said ‘I made my ancestors proud.’
It was around this time that Samuel returned home. Brawly was overjoyed. He went crazy with excitement and completely mauled Samuel with love and affection almost as if he had been reported missing a year ago and had now miraculously surfaced out of nowhere. Samuel was overwhelmed of course and could not evade the big dogs tumultuous efforts so affectionately succumbed to them. Brawly showed off his young proudly introducing Samuel to them one at a time nudging them forward with his muzzle. Skyla joined in a short while later and was immediately on the back foot upon her first encounter with the young man. She would continue to maintain her reserve with him in the months to come. While Brawly was overjoyed to see his half-master back home, something seemed amiss about Samuel’s return. Christy welcomed her son with open arms, hugging him tightly and making him feel right at home. Frank did not speak a word and would not have anything to do with him at all. Something was very wrong. The philanthropic family therapist got curious. Frank was not a man who held grudges and the family was not one which was easily torn apart. Frank went into his room and closed the door. The tension in the air was palpable. Brawly sensed the silence before the storm.
Samuel woke up to either Brawly liking his face or one of the pups making a racket. Brawly din’t leave him alone for one second. The dog was obsessed in keeping him occupied. The puppies further added to the father’s efforts. However with their level of cuteness, it was difficult to ignore them at all. Samuel was reminded of when Brawly was little and also had a moment of reminiscing when he noticed how far along Brawly had come now. Skyla would come by every day as usual but would not indulge in entertaining Samuel. If he pet her however she did not behave antagonistically either. But Samuel rarely got a chance to do so because Brawly rarely gave him a break. The dog had reached a level of canine cloud no. 9 wanting to do so many things with him as if making up for lost time; so happy was he to get Samuel’s attention. His social life in the community suffering was the least of his concerns. Samuel din’t really have much on his plate either considering his (now evident) surprise return. His friends were all at university and there were no real meetings or agendas he had. He did however seem a little low. It was reserved Skyla who noticed that in the activities of master and pet, it was Brawly pushing Samuel on. Samuel was half-heartedly carrying on after the initial period. Brawly was too blinded to see it.
“He’s my son! And to make such a bold decision all by himself! Puh! The Arrogance. He was already done with his first year! Now he’s simply thrown his degree into the air and put up his feet!” Frank shouted. High volumes were a rarity in this household. For the first time that anyone could recall, Brawly was scared in his own home. The puppies had never seen their father scared. It was both a dismal yet enchanting sight. “He’s our son Frank. We must support him. Maybe they were ill-treating him there? Maybe he needs some more time? Come now, we mustn’t be so harsh on him. He’s just a child.” Christina attempted to convince her husband. The discussion carried on behind the closed room door for the next half hour. Samuel sat on the dinning table hearing every word. His face hung low as tears trickled down his eyes. The boy truly seemed broken. The fattest pup whom everyone politely called Rusty (because he walked like his knees required oiling) was the one to divert the attention. While the events of the evening were unfolding, Rusty had been napping. The voluble arguments had interrupted his slumber and upon waking he began whining for food. The noise became unbearable when the others joined him. Some were hungry while others were uncomfortable sensing the air of distress and seeing their father gloomy. Christina came to the rescue putting out bowls of milk and calming them down. Brawly sat unmoved; his muzzle and paws glued to the floor. The pups slept after a tired Christina put them to bed and retired as well. But Frank, Samuel and Brawly all lay awake. Eventually Brawly’s eyes became weary he too fell asleep. He awoke next morning to chaos. Samuel had attempted to commit suicide.
They rushed him to the hospital and thankfully he had been clumsy in his suicidal attempt allowing the doctors to save him. Frank was filled with remorse and cried holding his head in his hands. He had driven his own son away and he realised it. Brawly missed all the action at the hospital and only got a chance to meet Samuel upon his return from the facility the next day. What had been so bad that Samuel would want to take away his own life? The issue clearly was deeper than anyone’s knowledge of the situation. The pups played their part in cheering Samuel up being their natural cute selves. Frank eased off on his son, apologising profusely initially and later excusing himself, as he too needed time to come to terms with all that was happening. He had blamed himself of course. It wasn’t easy to get over the guilt. Samantha was away and the family would have to wait until the end of the month for her arrival. As it is in the middle of her final exams, the parents did not want distract her with the news. They decided to let off until her papers ended. Christina was strong but she too was clearly affected. Brawly took charge. He realised the root cause of the scenario was clearly Samuel. If he were to become happy, everything else would be returned to status quo. Brawly decided to spend even more time with Samuel. As it is the boy had been the apple of his eye since his return; now Brawly din’t leave his side. Brawly slept in the same room as Samuel; when he would use the bathroom Brawly would sit alert at the bathroom door as if on guard. Samuel’s recovery period had been deemed 3 weeks so for that duration at least he would have to remain bed-ridden. Lying in bed all he could do was try reading a good book and watch television. Samuel preferred however to just sleep. Brawly was a useful distraction. The dog would often sit next to him allowing Samuel to stroke his fur gently. Samuel responded when spoken too but rarely did he start a conversation by himself. Frank and Christina attempted getting fancy foods cooked at home and inviting relatives over to cheer up the young lad but their efforts were in vain. There was something deeply bothering the boy but he wouldn’t share it with anyone. Finally the exams ended and a horrified Samantha came home. Despite her scared state, things would get a bit better with her being around. Her presence comforted the parents; who had been living in a state of fear and insecurity since Samuel’s incident. Skyla had understood by now that Brawly had forgotten about his own young in order to be with Samuel and his human family. The pups too began becoming independent in the light of things, often going out by themselves in small groups instead of under the supervision of their father. When Samantha returned; Samuel was asleep so she attempted to meet the pups. Skyla growled at her taking her aback. She couldn’t understand what she done to deserve the treatment. But Skyla wasn’t Brawly. So Samantha just waited for Skyla to leave for her own home and then met the pups. ‘Moody Bitch’ she thought to herself. That night, Brawly awoke as he heard Samuel speak in his sleep. ‘I swear I din’t do it.. It was her.. You’re making a mistake.. No!!!’ the initial fumbling broke into a loud screech by the end awaking not just Brawly but the family members as well. Christina and Frank rushed into the room to find the boy screaming in his sleep. They woke him up and made him aware that is was just a bad dream. For unknown reasons Samuel burst into tears and kept on wailing. Frank got him a glass of water while Christina hugged him trying to calm him down. “Oh mother, I can’t take it anymore; it’s all my fault. I’m responsible for it. What have I done.” The boy kept blaming himself and finally exhaustion crept in and he faded off to sleep. Frank naturally assumed he blamed himself for dropping out. Once he was asleep he told Christina ‘He can always go back; its still not too late. I can request the principal to make an exception. Young boys need guidance at this precious age.’ Christina just nodded along as they both returned to their bedroom. Something else played on Brawly’s mind.
The next morning; well before the household awoke, Brawly entered Samantha’s bedroom. Using his teeth he pulled away her blanket - a cruel but effective technique. Samantha awoke and Brawly wagging his tail barked an excited ‘Woof!’. “Dear lord, what is it Brawly.” Samantha shuddered under the full speed of the room fan. Brawly nudged her shoes forward and signaled her to come with him. A lazy Samantha obliged. She had slept through the happenings of the night but had vaguely heard some ruckus in a half-asleep state which she had chosen to ignore. Upon Brawlys persistence she had reluctantly gotten out of bed to see what the fellow had in mind. He brought her to Samuel’s room and then from under the bed pushed forward Samuel shoes as if saying ‘C’mon lets take him out.’ Samantha rubbed her eyes as she put two and two together. “The doctor’s told him to be bed-ridden Brawly” She whispered. “We can’t take him out; he’s still weak.” Brawly’s excited face grew sour. He whined. But Samantha was right so he had to obey. Samantha smiled at him. Petting him with love and then excusing herself to return to bed. Brawly searched his mind for ideas. The Samantha route had failed. What could he try now? That’s when it occurred to him.
It takes a child to understand a child or in this case a pup to help get through to a young man. Samuel was awoken by a pup winning near his pillow; scratching at the door as if wanting out. Samuel wondered when and how the little fellow had managed to enter the room to begin with. He looked to Brawly but Brawly it seemed was in dreamland so Samuel had to get out of the bed. He opened the door and pup scrambled out. Samuel returned to go back to bed but just as he was about to; he heard another whine. Upon going out he saw the little pup looking at the large dinning room door wondering how to move beyond this hurdle. The pup raised his hind-leg and simultaneously raised Samuel’s eyebrows who ran to get a hold of the little guy and take him outside before he answered nature’s call in the house. Brawly peeked from one eye and smiled to himself. The trick had worked. Samuel was out in the open, breathing fresh non air-conditioned natural air. Upon taking him out, Samuel despite being in slippers allowed the little guy to roam about a little in case he needed to go again. Upon having a look around Samuel noticed the bright sun. It was a beautiful sunrise he had stumbled upon. Suddenly it occurred to Samuel how long he had been lying in his bed in the room; isolated and depressed. He took in a deep breath and felt alive. He returned a short while later. When Frank and Christina awoke they were pleasantly surprised to find their son out of bed and on the dinning table eating a toast and an omelet. Samuel became a lot better over the next few weeks. Although he still din’t reveal what had been bothering him. Brawly engineered more plans to get the boy active and outside usually reaping a good success rate. Samuel began smiling again. He slowly began engaging in conversation too and once again the house was restored to its amicable state. It had been a three months since Samuel’s return and it was safe to say that the boy who had come and the boy who stood before everyone now were two different people. His depression days were over and Samuel took a bold decision to go back and finish his studies. With Frank accompanying him to meet the principal; both father and son set off to university. Before departing though, Samuel did hug Brawly goodbye. He had an idea of his well-wisher’s efforts in this time of need and was grateful for it. “I’ll miss you buddy.” Samuel said as he took a mental picture of the canine. As time passed, the pups too became bigger. It was time to move them out of the house as their little enclosure wasn’t suitable enough for them any longer. Skyla felt her duty fulfilled and visited less often. Some of the dogs found owners that accepted them in while others were sent to a farm where they were breed by an NGO whose business was taking care of such creatures. With the leaving of the dogs, the house once again fell silent. Christina and Frank enjoyed the peace for a change. Samuel had been accepted back and his only punishment was that his second chance meant he was under strict supervision for the next 6 months. Samantha returned the following week as her time at uni was over. With Samuel back to his rightful place and Samantha back at home, the parents decided it was the perfect time for them to take a short holiday. They decided to visit Barbados and Frank termed it their much needed ‘second honeymoon’.
Brawly had grown old now. The once adventurous dog who loved the outdoors, now seemed more domesticated than ever. Human company around him seemed to be more apt than his own kind. Earlier he would go out and mix with the other dogs for entertainment. Now he would get tired quickly and preferred to lie in one place for hours on end. His food intake decreased and slowly it became apparent that the ageing process had caught up with him. Samantha was quick to notice the change. Now that she was home all day, she had more time to spend with the fellow. She would stroke Brawly’s fur gently and comfort him. Brawly would enjoy the affection and usually drift off to sleep. Brawly’s old friend Paulie the Terrier would occasionally come by and bark at the doorstep signaling his friend of his presence. Brawly would first look at Samantha as if asking permission to leave the household and upon her nod of approval, would reciprocate his friend’s bark and descend downstairs. The two roamed about the colony for a short while and then would rest making themselves comfortable. Their walking time gradually reduced with the sitting together time gradually increasing. They were like two explorers who had seen all the land and had now settled down in the very land they once were eager to explore. There was nothing more to be done. Nothing to be achieved. No wish fulfillment or chore or responsibility. So they sat together, just enjoying each other’s company, reminiscing old memories and having a laugh.
Brawly lived for another 3 months before the fateful day came that he was laid to rest. He slept one night and din’t awake the next morning. It was a peaceful end. The family was heart broken but had to accept the inevitable. Samantha, Christina and Frank buried him with a short prayer in a cemetery near by and marked the grave with the epitaph - ‘Brawly: Our wonderful furry family philanthropist whose paws now ascend onto heaven; may you rest in peace’. Samuel unfortunately could not attend the ceremony as he was away and his probation period at college was continuing which prevented him from taking suitable leave. Apart from the death of an immediate family member, he wasn’t permitted even the shortest leave. The death of the faithful family pet did not qualify. So sadly, he remained at university, drudging away on his assignments. Samuel had made a few friends, they helped console him and divert his attention from the sad topic. The success of the distraction yielded limited results. Later on that night, Samuel broke down. He was on his table, writing the last couple of sentences for his submission when the overbearing feeling hit him and he burst into tears. Woken up by the sobbing, his roommate Sandy, awoke and gave him a tight hug. Sandy was a boy who knew his strengthens and weaknesses well. Consoling people was not his strength. For such situations he had a back-up plan. He reached out under his bed and opened a small tin-box. From inside it he took out a key. That key would unlock yet another tin box which then unlocked the safe in his cupboard. From inside the safe, emerged two bottles of beer. The activity had made the depressed Samuel curious but upon Sandy’s findings a small expression of surprise replaced the previous sad countenance. “If the admin found out about that, you’ll be in some serious trouble.” he cautioned. “Well that’s why I make sure they never do!” Sandy replied smilingly. “Go on, it’ll help take the edge of”. Sandy urged Samuel to drink. Samuel put the bottle to his lips and took a few big gulps. His nerves calmed down tiny bit. In his mind, the image of a smiling Brawly kept emerging. “At least he had a peaceful end ol chap.” Sandy reassured his friend. “You can be grateful for that. He lived a long full life and you all loved him dearly.” Samuel broke into tears again. He shoved his face into Sandy’s shoulder and howled. After a few moments he recovered. “Do you know why I dropped out Sandy?” Samuel asked in a change of demeanour. “We all do Sam, and anyone in your position would’ve been hurt. When your girlfriend commits suicide, it isn’t a happy occasion. But I wish you hadn’t blamed yourself the way you did. That messed you up.” Sandy spoke frankly. “When Taliya killed herself; the morning before it happened, She walked in on me sleeping with Natasha. Natasha had been studying with me the previous night and it got late so she crashed here. But when Taliya walked in the next morning; she thought something had happened between us. That ate her up inside. As it is she was on thin ice when her drug test came positive. This further triggered an already delicate situation. Taliya opened the door, saw us in the same bed; expressed her horror and fled. By the time I could reach the door, she was gone. That was the last time I saw her mate. Next thing I heard was that she had committed suicide. I naturally blamed myself. Furthermore when I realised she had come to share the disastrous results of her reports with me I further riddled myself with guilt. Natasha felt bad too but it was too late to make amends. The more I stayed here the worse I felt. Everything just reminded me of her. I had to get away from it all and the only choice I had was to leave without the thought of ever coming back. Which is what I did. Dad always thought I dropped out because of my dislike of the course; little did he know. When I went back, Samantha wasn’t around, dad was too upset to even speak with me and mom was just trying to keep things peaceful. Brawly was the only one who was overjoyed to see me. He brought back happiness to my life with his drooling face and that silly infectious smile. That dog, saved my life. I only realised it much later. He’s always been my shoulder to lean on. Whether it was during exam time in school or this. He’s always been there for me; even when I din’t ask him to be.” Samuel expressed emotionally. Sandy smiled. “So he was more than a dog, well but of course. Its no wonder you gave him the title of the wonderful family therapist! Haha’. Samuel was too caught up to return the smile. Sandy noticed. This was an awkward moment; not his foray; ‘Time for another gulp buddy.’ He remarked. Samuel sipped.
Samuel was a sensitive chap. Somewhere it bothered him that he could not return the favour for Brawly. Whether it was taking an active interest in raising the cubs or being there upon his demise. When the beers finished, Sandy gave Samuel a hug and called it a night. Samuel struggled to sleep but eventually exhaustion caused him to lose consciousness. That night something wonderful and majestic happened. In his sleep, Samuel had a dream. He saw a figure of light approach his bed. The figure stopped short a few paces away and made a sound; a deep throated ‘Woof’. Samuel arose from his bed to find Brawly’s spirit there. Overwhelmed Samuel hugged Brawly and began to cry; ‘I’m so sorry Brawly, I couldn’t be there for you.’ He wailed. ‘But you were.’ came a sound back. Samuel looked at Brawly. His mouth was not moving but the spirit was telepathically speaking with Samuel. The dog looked at Samuel and began licking his face. The dog only knew love. It was all he had ever known and all he would ever know. No other feeling existed in him for Samuel; almost as if he were unable to possess such ability. Samuel’s heart melted and he hugged Brawly establishing a spiritual connection like no other. Samuel slept as peaceful as a baby that night. He awoke next morning at peace with himself. He looked at the place where he had met Brawly last night in his dream. “From even beyond the grave he’s still continuing my treatment” he laughed to himself. Suddenly a noise came from under his bed, “Woof!” “Ok, that was definitely real.” Samuel thought to himself. He looked under his bed to find a cute little brown/white pup wagging his tail away but to afraid to step out. “Well hello young fella, how’d you get down there?” Samuel arose from his bed to get into the right position to draw him out. Holding him in his arms Samuel played with the little fella. As he was doing so Sandy walked into the room. “So there he is! Man, I’ve been wondering where the fella was.” “Whose is it?” Samuel asked curiously. “Its stray man! The dogs that linger downstairs outside the gates; they must’ve mated and he is one of the results! Why you wanna keep it? The college people usually call some NGO to take them away in order to find suitable owners.” Samuel looked at the cute cuddly innocent face, “I don’t know. I might just.”
Started in January, 2015
Completed on 5th July, 2015.