American humourist Josh Billings had once said: "A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself." A Pomeranian female dog that we brought as a day-old puppy to our new home in June 1999 was a living example.
I carried it home in a paper bag. Delighted to have a pet, my sons, aged 12 and 9, named it Jimmy. My wife was livid that the little one had been separated from its mother. She fed it milk with the help of a cotton wick and put it to sleep with a stuffed toy as decoy mother.
In due course, the puppy opened its eyes and became adjusted to the new place. Jimmy turned out to be playful and the children loved being around the graceful white, fluffy pet with beautiful, shining black eyes. Loyal indeed, Jimmy protected us from snakes and thieves by raising alarm. It considered me its master and followed me to every room; staying at my feet when I was in armchair; and sitting outside wagging its tail when I was in shower.
Jimmy would get up before us and wake us up by pulling the covers off the bed. It was love in return for the care we gave it. Lying on the floor, peeping through the front door, it would wait for me to get back from work, knowing I would feed it a biscuit on stepping in.
Jimmy's 15 years with the family were packed with delight. On the command of "Chew stick," it would jump with joy and start licking its lips. There are so many laughs we shared; that's why we all turned sad as the playful she-dog became sluggish and unwell. Tests and ultrasound scans indicated renal failure. When the liquid intake, too, reduced, my son took Jimmy to an elite veterinary hospital twice a day for drip and injections.
Lying on the hospitable table, Jimmy would gaze at us helplessly. It would chill us to the bone. Jimmy could not be saved but I thank the doctors for trying until the last moment in the early hours of July 31. I talked to Jimmy as it was sinking. When the end came, I told my wife. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she put a sheet over a dear member of the family that was now gone.
She didn't go to office that day. Jimmy was buried in a field near the house. The intense bond that many of us share with our pets, it's hard to let go when they depart. God might have taken Jimmy out of this world but He can't take Jimmy out of our hearts.