This is from my writings during Sept-Oct,06 :
We are worried and sad .......
Only if you watch him closely, you will find that his legs are thinner, the ribs are showing, the skull is protruding through his still excellent coat. May be his eyes also betray his sinking health and ... his suffering.
Knight is suffering from the deadly disease - Asitis. One or more of his two vital organs...... kidney and liver are not functioning the way they should, robbing our dear Lab of his life force. And, sadly, this degeneration cannot be reversed by medicines. Careful administration of medicines ( mostly homeopathic ) and diet can retard the progress of this killer disease. Ruby , my wife , is determined to see that her Lab lives another two years .... he is 8 1/2 years old now. I shall thank God if he completes nine.
from Pune, summer 2004.
I brought Knight home in an evening of the spring of 1999.He was carried in a small plastic basket. He was 6 weeks old and he drank milk from a plate on his arrival. ( Only now, we have to sometimes administer milk or glucose-water solution by droppers.) I was worried if he was deaf and would clap near his ears to test if he would respond.
He had two encounters with death during the very first year of his life.
The first one was when he was about 13/14 weeks old. While Ruby was preparing breakfast and tiffin for Babai and Pucho before they would go to school , a subdued but sharp groan attracted her notice. She found to her horror that the pup was being carried away by three dogs (of Indian origin) through our Bungalow's backyard . He was rescued and taken to a doctor at Benachitty who administered the 'first aid'. But, the real treatment .... stitching of the gaping wound... was done by Dr Saha . His stitches , done in the morning, would open up in the night. I still recollect that to give relief to Knight, Pucho and Ruby would stay awake and wipe off the blood and puss that would ooze from the wound. It took 6 days and 27 stitches before he was on the recovery path. And , without Dr Saha , Knight would have died.
Knight has been my companion for morning walks since he was a little grown-up. The second brush he had with death was because of my fault. I used to often leave him unleashed during his morning walks . He would often stray into the bushes on the sides of the solitary lanes of our colony and would catch up with me after I have gone a few steps ahead. I heard a muted groan.... and Knight had blood FLOWING out of a gush from his right hind leg. How I brought him back to our Bungalow is a story which we can skip. Again, Dr Saha came as the angel of his life,He arrived within 20 minutes of our phone call . The verandah was full of the dark blood in spite of tying up the wounded leg with cloth . He stitched the gush and ( I remember till date) in a reproaching voice that the dog could have died out of shock of blood loss.
There were two fallouts of these two events. Knight and Bhonde , the street dog who was carrying him away remained enemies throughout their lives. Knight grew up to be a strong and spirited lab.... though we discouraged his being a quarrelsome animal, we taught him to reply back to barks and chases Knight faced during morning and after-noon walks .Knight eventually could put Bhonde on the defensive . Secondly, he was not allowed to walk without leash any more. When he was older, he would sneak away from the compound .... we could not keep 100% check on this , but, Ruby would quickly start calling him back and shut him indoor.
Like all other Labs, Knight was always a very sober dog, rarely thrusting himself on a visitor. Even then, when we used to have a large no of visitors, we used to tie him up in a room adjacent to the sitting room .....from where he could see us. He would groan after a while to call attention and seek release. We noticed that he would not disturb the guests at all when set free from leash.... he would enter the room soberly , sniff around a little and curl up near a person who was not averse to the proximity of a dog , but away from persons who detest dogs. Gradually, he developed habit of not coming near the persons who have aversion for dogs.
Knight with my mother and aunt at our Durgapur Bungalow
Knight at my friend's residence at Tollygunge.
A few fun stories about Knight. When he was a 'kid', he pissed near the leg of the very tall lady. Once he chased a cow without caring about the kicks from her hind legs .The cow was running away and hurt a maid servant during his flight. This part of the story was not 'funny' ..... Ruby had to arrange for this woman's treatment in our Company's dispensary. He used to dislike young boys in shorts, though, we could never understand the reason. He would bark at the young boys who used to visit our residence and once he chased a boy and his parents were quite tense for a while apprehending that the boy would fall down or be bitten by Knight. Neither happened and we were relieved when Knight was put on leash. Another story I remember of Knight charging across the garden and colliding with Pucho . The impact was so severe that Pucho lost control and fell flat on the ground.
Though he was bitten by street dogs in his early childhood, he had a liking for some of the dogs and bitches he would meet daily in the neighbouring area. This aspect of his nature was visible even when he came to Calcutta in December,03. The only non-street dog he was comfortable with is Nadubabu, a Golden Retriever.
After quite a few months of his demise :
We lost Knight on 12th October,2007.
His end was painful. Last three days, he could not move downstairs to relieve himself. A local Doctor and a vet-assistant diagnosed this as a problem of worms and injected him with intervenes doses of fluids ( he starved himself to a pathetic figure) and anti-worm drugs. In retrospect, his end was hastened by this treatment. We can understand now that his liver failed and he was never to recover. But, he would have lived a little longer had he been left alone.
Knight's last ride in our car.We took him out for a trip to Brace Bridge on the afternoon of 16/9/2007,as we apprehended his end was approaching.His loss of health is evident from the dents on his skull.
Coming back to his last days, we thought of relieving him of his pain and suffering. He would pass fluid and make pathetic noise calling us to clean him. He used be laid on newspapers and Ruby was constantly cleaning him with water and drying him with hair-dryer. The house smelled of phenyl. Ma came and left after one night as she could not bear to witness Knight's suffering. We vacillated, but, Babai and Pucho put strength in our hearts.
Even then, I fixed up an appointment with Compassionate Crusader Trust and changed it. That was when I dropped Ma to Jamir Lane and asked Ruby how was Knight faring. That morning, at 5am, Knight wagged her tail when Ruby came out of the bedroom and offered him morsels of food. We thought all these medicines were having an effect for good. But, within 2 hours , his heath deteriorated.
I returned with a piece of white cloth and flowers from Lake market and called the expert from CCT .They sent a young man with an ambulance-like set-up. Knight was lying on my lap very quietly since I returned.I believe this kind of animal perhaps can guess that his relief from the pain was round the-corner.(It is 9 months and 10 days since the day Knight left us and my heart is heavy as I recall and write about the morning of 12/10/2007.)
Knight our constant companion :
at Bakreswar, March, 2005
I was sitting in front of the cupboard facing the door. He hardly opened his eyes when the man came in and emitted a loud sound when the injection was given ( I read about such a compound in TOI of 22/7/2008.... this medicine,pentobarbital- a barbiturate commonly known as ,is strong enough to kill a human being. Some people do visit
Mexico where pentobarbital is easily available and buy this medicine to commit suicide ).This man who gave the injection consoled me stating that a pet tells something to the owner when he leaves him.
The rest was quiet and dignified. Ruby and I accompanied Knight in the ambulance of CCT to the graveyard. He was wrapped in the white cloth, we placed flower on his body and he had a dignified exit from Parnasree, never to come back. A rectangular grave was awaiting Knight ... when he was laid there, the person who put him in the grave joined us in admiring the shine of his black coat. The bright sunlight made it clear to us how badly his lever was affected .... his eyes were yellow.
Next morning, in our Western verandah, Ruby noticed a patch as if a dog slept there. I do not believe in this sort of things, a patch on the yellow mosaic is still there which no longer resembles a dog's sleeping posture . No harm in believing, that was the one last night Knight spent in our company.
When Babai came home during December,07-January,08, he did not want see the pictures of Knight which I took when his health was declining. Babai said only once ; "That Knight is not besides me when I am at Parnasree is unthinkable".Babai hugs Knight before he goes
to the USA in August,2005
But, Knight's memory is with us more than any other pets we had because he was such a decent character and understood us so well! Our life-style will not permit us to have another pet for a long time to come.... but, I wonder if we shall ever have another opportunity to have a friendly dog like Knight around !
Resting in peace.