The river was calm and pink petals fell from the branches overhead. The little wooden boat drifted along the creek, silent upon the dark, still water. My wife Rosemary smiled at me, holding our beautiful baby Tamara in her arms as I gazed at them and then to the luscious fruit that filled the boat.
The floor between our feet was stocked with bunches of fresh, sweet grapes and bountiful, bright bananas, gleaming under the sun as we sailed gently down the backwater.
Suddenly, the boat felt heavy and I realized water was seeping in – we were sinking!
Panicking, I asked my wife to throw the fruit out – we were overloaded and the boat was going down fast! Together, we fought our way to safety. Rosemary frantically threw water and fruit from the boat as I paddled furiously towards the riverbank…
My eyes opened and I saw my wife and baby lying beside me in bed. We were far away from sinking boats and backwaters and I breathed with relief, realizing it was just a nightmare. The morning sun crept into the bedroom. It was 6am; time for another beautiful day in Goa.
Our short vacation at the beachside cottage was over and we had to drive home that afternoon. With our bags already packed, the three of us decided to enjoy a long walk along the beach with Rosch, our four-year-old Labrador. Rosch had once been a sick, feeble puppy, but with our love and belief, he recovered to become part of our family. Watching him spring towards us, his tail wagging and eyes gleaming, I could see how happy Rosch was to be with us. There is truth in the saying that dogs love you more than you love yourself. That morning on the beach was a great way to finish the vacation and we set off for home in high spirits.
Unfortunately, the blissful mood did not last and darkness gripped our family on the journey. As we travelled through the mountain roads, we came frighteningly close to having an accident. We survived the encounter but all of us were unsettled, especially Rosch.
Soon, it was obvious Rosch was not alright. Tired and breathing heavy, his distress became weakness. All of a sudden, Rosch was like the sick, little puppy once again. Stopping the car on the roadside, we nursed him until the heavy breathing eased. Within minutes, we had to stop again.
By the third time we stopped the car, the heavy breathing was no more. Rosch had gone and there was nothing we could do this time. The vet would later inform us that our beloved dog had died from a heart attack.
After the burial, returning to a home without Rosch was a difficult experience. My baby girl Tamara searched for her “bhau-bhau” everywhere but he was nowhere to be found.
My dream became clear to me and I understood the meaning of throwing fruit from the boat. We were not throwing fruits from the boat, it was Rosch, we threw away. Our family had faced danger and to move forward to our future we would have to lose something so very precious to us.
Some say dogs take your worries when they die and since Rosch left us for his eternal sleep, our lives have changed remarkably and I thank Rosch for that. We could never replace Rosch with another dog and so we have never tried to. Rosch left us with one last beautiful memory of the sunny morning on the beach in Goa and golden moments like this help us live on with him in our hearts and minds.
My personal & sincere message to all dog owners:
“Please be as good as possible to your dogs because they love you more than you love yourself”.