|Photo belongs to rightful owner|
I have a train to catch in next three hours. Instead of fearing the heat I am going to face tomorrow, my thoughts are stuck on a particular dog eating leftover from our dinner on the wet pavement outside my home. She has lost all her fur, her body is crafted with infection and scars. Once she was glorious but at present she is in terrible pain because of the incurable skin disease she caught.
For last ten days, she has been part of our conversation on dinner table and before sleep talk. My mom had tried to stop her itching with talcum powder for pets. Another household tried to stop the infection with turmeric powder while another person used vermilion to kill the pest in her body. In honesty I would say she would better be dead. A nice, adorable and friendly dog like her deserves better life, but more important a pain free death.
Thrice I had planned to be the psychopomp for her, thrice the plan remained executed in my head. I have thought of feeding her rat poison available in market to free her of her misery. Yet every afternoon when I whistle to feed her my heart tells me I can’t kill her. Her biddy eyes on that long narrow face scare me. I am not scared of sin, never have, nor I will ever fear sin. But all of us who feed her have thought of killing her at least once. A thought is scary itself, in various situations and imaginations I have killed her.
The question my mom asks 'who has the guts to take away life?' True, I don’t have the guts to take her life away and free her of this painful condition. I am good, but I am not kind enough to live with the guilt. The infant kitten that died two years back in my palm still walks my sleep saying I did my best. But no, I did not, if I had fed her more milk from the beginning maybe I could have saved that golden fur crossbreed.
To kill is not easy, no I am not concerned about the morality, spirituality or psychology. I am talking about our nature to let other do the killing. When a butcher kills the hen for me I can enjoy my leg piece happily. But on a day I accidentally killed an earthworm I was brooding whole day in sadness and failed to eat my vegetarian lunch. I can kill, I can mercilessly drown cockroaches, kill frogs with one blow from rolled newspaper. Again I am a person who feeds a rat and has turned it into a cute fat little monster and saves a lizard in my sink. Yet deep down I was waiting for my street pet to die out naturally or someone to feed her rat poison. I am like others, ordinary, coward one who stands behind the lines and waits for other to do the kill. No I am not the protagonist from Orwell's To Shoot An Elephant. Even if I had the rifle I could never kill the the grass eating elephant.
Before leaving home tonight, I have fed her again. But I sigh I couldn’t kill her, may be it’s her trust on me or my genuine affection for dogs. I just couldn’t ask for rat poison in the shop.
P.S- no this is not a metaphorical piece disguising the complex discourse around euthanasia. Its just a post about a dog called Tommy, I deeply care about.
thanking you to bear with me