Why is a dog’s life so short?


You could say that last year was an incredibly wonderful year for me because I managed to overcome one of my many phobias – I managed to decimate “cynophobia”. A huge fear of dogs that started when I was three years old.

His name was John, and every time I watched a movie about werewolves or read about Cerberus, the ferocious, many-headed Greek dog that guarded the entrance to Hades, I remembered him.

A family had just moved into our neighborhood, so my mom baked a cake to welcome them. As we opened the gate and walked towards the door, across the lawn I saw John, an Alsatian.

I ran happily towards him but he rushed forward, threw himself on me as I fell; the agony as he ripped off my denim pants and bit my leg, the painful injections that followed, stayed with me until the day I met Murf (a few months ago).

Overwhelmed by love and ecstasy

You could say we met on Twitter because I met his mom there. We realized we lived in the same gated community so we decided to meet and that’s how our friendship started. When I heard about Murf, heard stories about him, and saw how my son was overwhelmed with love and ecstasy when he first met (in my absence), I prepared to visit the house from my friend.

As I approached the house I heard his loud bark, I rang the doorbell and as my friend opened the door I saw Murf, a beautiful Labrador-Retriever, overjoyed and excited to see me.

The fear in me miraculously dissipated; he hugged me tight and licked my face. It had been ages since anyone had shown such affection for me. After the first ten minutes of the effervescent reception, he calmed down and sat on my legs. His soft, warm fur filled me with an inexplicable blur.

He is playing a game with his entourage in which he comes towards you with a tennis ball in his mouth which you have to extract with immense force as he playfully holds it, once you have the ball you have to throw it as he tries to grab it and bring it back.

With me, he kind of knows he has to be gentle, because he lets me easily pull the ball out of his mouth. My husband and son just couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw me stroking the huge bundle of “(p)awesomeness” and love. This encounter with the most adorable of dogs made my phobia go away and I could feel the tears rolling down my cheeks like that. Murf has now become a member of our family and my son’s best friend.

Unconditional affection for the animal

As I have read of Lord Byron’s unconditional affection for his pet and companion Boatswain, a Newfoundland dog who died of rabies; the way Byron would wipe the boatswain’s slaver with his own hands, suckling the dog until sickness engulfed him; I could relate to this innate ability that dogs have to win love in abundance.

So much so that Byron composed the lines – ‘Epitaph to a Dog’, engraved on the boatswain’s tomb at Newstead Abbey, the poet’s estate: ‘Near this place / are laid the remains of him / who possessed beauty without vanity, / Strength without insolence, / Courage without Ferocity, / and all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.

Recently I wondered why a dog’s life is so short and was devastated to hear from a vet what a little boy had to say when his dog died and he remained unfazed “People come into the world to learn how to live a good life, like loving others all the time and being a good person.

Well, since dogs are already born knowing how to do all that, they don’t have to stick around as long as we do. And I couldn’t agree more.

Navanita Varadpande is a writer based in Gurgaon, India. Twitter: @VpNavanita


Comments are closed.