How do you write about death? Is it because it is so painful that people avoid writing about it? Every time I sit down to write about it, I am overcome with emotions and I am unable to do anything. It has been more than 2 months since she left us and I just can’t get to writing about it since it is so painful.
But it really doesn’t seem fair if I don’t write about her. For a person who can literally write about anything, it is crucial that I write about her. She was such an important part of our lives (mine for the past few months) and it has become important to me to keep her memories alive through us. It is going to be the most difficult post I have written to date but I feel that I owe it to her.
Remembering Beauty/Miss B
Do you feel that I am rambling too much? Obviously I am. It has been such a myriad of emotions over the past few months and sometimes I don’t know where the tears come from. If you see my social media feeds, you will feel that we have moved on. After all, why wouldn’t you feel that way? You must have seen me frolicking around Europe, every day in a new place. But what if I told you that I cried myself to sleep almost every night I was traveling solo? Grief has that effect on you. It strikes you when you least expect it to.
As a person who hides her emotions from almost everyone, it is difficult to lay myself so bare. But my only hope is that by acknowledging the fact that she is gone and writing about it will assuage my pain a little bit. Hopefully, it will allow me to finally start the healing process.
You might think that she was only a pet and why is it so difficult to move on? I would have asked the same question a year ago before I got to know her. But she was more like a child to us and that is why it has been so difficult. Sometimes it feels so surreal that she is gone.
Meeting Beauty for the first time
My brain goes back to the day I first met her last October. We have been dating for a while and the parents are anxious to get a commitment from both of us. We meet each other’s parents for the first time. But Tharun (my husband) wants me to meet Beauty. I am nervous too. I know how much she means to him and I silently hope that she likes me. She is intimidating. After all, she was a 60+ kg Rottweiler. She doesn’t like the fact that I tried to pet her without her permission and she barks at me. Suffice to say that our first meeting didn’t go well.
Moving in together after marriage
But she eventually warmed up to me. She was extremely confused when I moved in with them. Initially, I was a nobody to her but eventually, she was my self appointed guardian.
Tharun got a job in Bangalore just before we got married. Which meant that he had to move to Bangalore from Chennai. Both of them have been inseparable since he first got her almost 7 years ago. Which meant that she also shifted to Bangalore. She was initially really terrified. It was a new house, a new place. But as long as she had Tharun around, she was fine. I used to jokingly call her his tail since she followed him almost everywhere. She used to patiently wait for him to come out of the toilet. Initially, she used to refuse to eat till he got back from the office (He used to work from home most days since his team was any way in a different location and he only had to go on days when there was a client meeting). She didn’t eat for the first two days when we went on our honeymoon.
She was the star everywhere and she knew it
She was a sight to behold. Most people were terrified of her and did their best to stay out of her way. When we used to go out, she used to get a lot of stares. All the street dogs would be standing at a distance barking at her and madam would walk unperturbed without a care in the world. Anyone who met her was smitten with her. But she refused to let anyone she didn’t know pet her. It took me a few months for her to let me pet her.
Warming up to me
By the time we got married, she was definitely used to me. She was still wary of me but all that slowly started to disperse once we started living together. She finally realised that she had to come to me if she wanted to have food on time. She loved her Badam milk and Paneer. In between all this, she self-appointed herself as my protector. She would come running if both of us were fighting. As two individuals who were too independent till then, we had our share of fights initially. She was our calming force during those days.
Even when we used to playfully fight, she would come and stand as a barrier between me and Tharun. Initially, even though she used to come to the defence of Tharun, all that changed within a few months. Tharun used to jokingly tell her that all the females in the house have ganged up against him.
What happened to her?
She had been limping since June 2019. Initially, we thought she had rolled off the bed (Our bed is quite high) and fractured her leg. We took her to 2-3 vets in Bangalore and no one could diagnose what was wrong with her. Most doctors we took her to thought she had early-onset arthritis (She was heavy for most dogs her age and that is why they came to this conclusion). And most of them asked us to restrict her food and reduce her weight.
Post that we made another visit to the hospital in the middle of the night because she was totally uneasy and pacing around the house. The doctors thought it was a bad reaction to some of the medicines she was having for her leg.
Sometime during the mid of September, I woke up to a splashing noise and a bad stench. On switching on the lights, I realised that she was vomiting. She spent the entire night puking. We took her to the hospital in the morning and none of the doctors had a clue on what was wrong with her. Everyone thought that she had caught some kind of infection.
Post that night, she refused to eat anything solid. Which meant that she had to be given IV twice a day. We tried to do it at the hospital but she was ferocious with anyone who came close to her other than us. So we started doing it at home.
We must have taken her to all the reputed vets in the city. All her reports were normal except for her blood work which was worrisome to them.
Bone Cancer and the aftermath
I was not there when they finally figured out what was wrong with her. I was in Kerala for a function and my inlaws had come in to help my husband.
It was actually by fluke that they discovered that she had bone cancer. Even though we had taken an Xray of her paw many times, no one had checked the shoulder. They were trying to Xray her paw and when she suddenly moved during the Xray, they found an anomaly and saw that it had spread to other parts of the body. But it could only be confirmed with a biopsy of the bone.
This was on a Sunday morning. I reached on Sunday evening and my mom in law was the one who relayed the news to me. By then she was having trouble breathing and she was crying throughout the nights in pain.
She breathed her last around 12 PM on Tuesday, October 1st 2019. Just like that, she was gone. We had given the bone for biopsy but she was gone even before the results came out.
Getting out of Bangalore after she passed away
We ended up taking off the next day. The idea was to do her last rituals in Gokarna and then go on a spiritual journey around Karnataka.
Coming back was the most difficult part of it all. We didn’t want to come to the house where she passed away. But we had our life and work to get back to. It was the Indian holiday season by the time we got back. Spending time with our friends and family did help us in a small way. Since it was our first Diwali after marriage, the celebrations were grand and Tharun wanted it to be a big celebration as a tribute to her. She loved seeing the fireworks.
So what is next?
I miss her. I miss her a lot. I miss her snuggling on my legs in the morning. I miss seeing someone excited to see me come back home every day. I miss seeing her walk like a queen among her peers. I miss cooking for her (I cried for a few days about this because she was the only one who would eat food I prepared without any fuss). I miss showing her off. I miss her acting like my self appointed guardian. I miss her waiting for me to finish my work so that we can go to sleep. I miss going on drives with her.
No one tells you that you miss the little things. The things that you thought were irrelevant. And the thing that worries me the most is how Tharun must be feeling. I lived with her for only 6 months. If I was feeling like this, how was he feeling? He had been looking after her for the past 7 years since she was two months old.
Another thing is the guilt. The guilt that we could have done something for her if we had known earlier. We have the utmost respect for all her vets. But in most cases when it comes to cancer in a pet in India, there is not much they can do when it comes to treatment plans or even a diagnosis. Also the guilt of ‘What if we end forgetting her day by day?’.
In an instant, she was gone. She was supposed to grow old with us, take care of our kid(s) whenever we decided to have kids. And I see reminders of her almost every day. Anytime I see someone walking their dog, it reminds me of the fact that she is no more. This week our wedding video came and she is there in it. She was part of our story and hopefully, she will continue to be in it.
We moved last weekend out of the house. The house was becoming unbearable without her in it. So when Tharun got a chance to work in Mexico for a few months, we decided to take it. He left a few weeks ago and I am joining him this week. Right now both of us need a change of place and this temporary move was actually a blessing in disguise.
Saying Goodbye to Beauty
People ask me all the time if we are going to get another pet. We don’t know. The wounds and heartbreaks are still too new. But till then we will always have memories of her. Quoting Tharun to say goodbye to the one who brought us closer
“You have my eternal gratitude, rest my sweet baby.”