Monday, June 25, 2012


Following Bimbo's death, and the grief it brought with it, we were rather unwilling to have another dog...apart from Bingo of course. Life went on like this for a couple of years, until our neighbour whisked my sister and I off for a drive one evening in 1996. He told us he just wanted us to get some fresh air. But what he actually wanted us to get was far from that.  

Halting in front of a quaint cottage in a village neighbouring ours, he led us through the gate and into the garden. What we saw there was nothing short of amazing. Eight adorable Labrador puppies were busy on the lawn...chasing small balls, tugging at each other's tails and trampling on top of one another to get a feed from their mother. It was truly a sight to behold. But our joy knew no bounds when we were told that we could choose one of the puppies as our pet! That was how I chose Major.

STANDING STATELY: Major on guard
I knew that Labradors were a pretty expensive breed, but I didn't care. Mom and dad would handle the finance. All I knew was that I wanted to have a pet dog again and Major, a jet black Lab pup, caught my eye instantly. And so we drove back home, him on my lap, the wind in his ears and a huge smile on my face.

Oh, coming to his name. You see, we were bent on calling him Max. But our neighbour - who seemed to have a penchant for naming his pets after dictators or politicians (his own dogs were called Saddam and Mussolini!) - told us that Max was a common name and suggested that we name our pup Major (after UK's John Major). Looking back, I really can't fathom how I agreed to that, but the excitement of having a pup again transcended all other hunting for a name perhaps?

And so Major grew...from a carefree pup to a terrific watchdog, from mischief to obedience, from a playmate to a companion. In fact, we were so fond of him that we considered him to be our little brother. We did almost everything together. I particularly remember reading my lessons aloud to him during exam prep, like as if he would correct me if I went wrong anywhere. To him, I was most surely an imbecile, but for me, he was a support system like no other. He would patiently sit with me through all my revisions and then plant a big, wet kiss on my face and lead me towards the garden for a run. 

I have many, many happy memories of Major, but the saddest one is of his death. Major was almost three years old when he fell prey to distemper and hepatitis. He had lost his appetite, developed a high fever and had poor motor coordination. Repeated trips to the vet and several hours of glucose administration worked only for a couple of days. At one point we thought he was fine again, but he relapsed the very next day and went into an epileptic fit. We knew that there was no point holding on and decided to put him to sleep. But it was a Sunday. The vets were closed. And Major suffered. Helplessly watching my best buddy in the throes of death was by far one of the worst feelings of my life.

After hours of seizures and frothing from his mouth, my Major breathed his last. We mourned for him like we'd mourn for a family member. My mother was inconsolable...Major was as good as her son, and in her words, "my darling".

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