No One’s Dog


A bustling street almost emptied itself up in the late evening with a passer-by or two partially stirring up the lane. A lone street light sheds white around the vicinity and reminds one of a full moon night. A cold wind cloaked in mist seems to surround the lamppost but in reality beats through as per the direction of the wind.

A onetime mother dog tucked itself in a shallow pit beside a wall that acts as a fortress against wintry night to live yet another day despite harsh realities of a stray’s life. The dog with black and white patches resembles a distant cousin of a Dalmatian though their lives are worlds apart. This is an untold tale of a dog that dares to live without a pack. 

A.G. Gardiner’s, “All about a Dog” is reminiscent of the lack of kindness to a Pekinese dog by a bus conductor who insists on rules rather than following in spirit. In contrast, the mother dog lacks adoption and is exposed to cruel and harsh situations: loneliness, hunger, fatigue and cold. Moreover oblivious to the physical pain and numbed by twists and turns of life, it strives to snooze off in a warm mud ditch though in vain. Even a slight sound hardly goes unnoticed. With her excellent sense of smell, she could detect an impending danger that trespasses her territory. 

The most overwhelming factor is loneliness rather than the fear of the unknown. To make matters worse, she is already limping and her starving stomach is a living testimony to a heart wrenching saga: a lone mother that has lost her pups or perhaps couldn’t conceive for reasons unknown. She may be even exiled by the pack that brought her up and nurtured in the past but the inevitable ‘but’ has made her a miserable wretch. However she puts up a brave front and continues the battles of life with instinctive poise. While it hasn’t been proven that dogs die by suicide unlike mortals in the face of adversity, they refuse to eat in times of grief or stress like human beings. Her uneventful life remains an enigma to a few passersby who frequent the street and may have exhibited some acts of kindness whenever such situations warranted. 

She instinctively opens her eyelids now and then like blinking lights to stay agile. A pedestrian on an errand catches her attention just then. A cursory glance at her condition has deeply moved him. Therefore he wasted no time to buy a packet of biscuits at a nearby shop. Nothing can help the dog’s pathetic situation slightly better and it turned out to be a topsy-turvy as the Samaritan inches forward and towards the dog. With eyebrows wide open, a scary glance revives her toes but she isn’t as quick as she was, due to weak limbs. She somehow garnered her strength to elude her intruder by standing upright and plunges sideways with crippled leaps. She intermittently struggles to hold her balance with hind limbs by gaping at the stranger. Her eyes sunk in sockets bear witness to a dog’s life. Her drooping eyelids reflect insecurity and hardship like a mirror. She stares at him as one who has spoiled her slumber from a few yards away. 

An unexpected surprise clearly enlivened her face as she pricked her ears in anticipation of a gentle throw of a biscuit from the magnanimous hand. Even the very smell of it reignited a great appetite. The whole act of the cheerful dog plunging to catch pieces of each biscuit though failed to snap few is likened to a ring throw game. She had her fill though not quite bellyful in no time. Suffice for the night, the unexpected host has quietly moved away as the dog has stood still gazing at him with a sense of gratitude until the end of the street while loneliness returns to become her strange but constant companion.


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