Tommie, my beloved dog of childhood days.

madathil mhanian By madathil mhanian, 23rd Sep 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>True Stories

A pet can make the humdrum of old age lively. Even the thought is enough to kindle the memoirs to give you enough warmth in the old age where the husband and wife are dependent more than ever in life.

Tommie, my bveloved dog of childhood days.

“Shall we have a pet dog for us?” At first I was not sure I heard my wife properly. There was little din of the television, this is the Champions League season you know! I reduced the volume and looked at her enquiringly with a shake of my head. Then my wife repeated the question. “Shall we have a pet dog for us? When I fathomed the question I was little puzzled, because she used to veto (always on this issue, and sometimes on others as well) my request for the same at least six or seven times whenever I raised the question of getting ourselves a pet dog. But I could understand the reason behind the request when I thought about that in detail.

Our only son was married recently and shifted to another city. We sold our 3BHK flat in town and moved to the home town where I bought an independent house for us. It is almost a month now and the humdrum of looking at each other in the serenity of the new house is slowly getting to us, except when we are glued to the television. The only contact with our son is the webcam chat at a prefixed time each week and an occasional call from my wife to him or the new daughter-in-law. So in order to put some life back in our day to day and vent her feelings she would have thought about adopting a pet.

Earlier, I used to raise this issue back in the city flat, wherein she will cite the reason for her rejecting the idea as objection from the other flat owners and no provision for earmarking a place for the pet. Now that we have an independent house, it is not difficult to make a kennel for the dog. Well, if she wants to have a pet now, that is it.
But later when I went to bed that night, with a happy note because the team I cheered for won the game, my thought went back several years when I had my one and only pet, Tommie, back in my hometown. I named him Tommie, due to my adoration of British Soldiers, especially as they are referred by German army. A light brown mixed breed of Alsatian with a country one. I still remember the winter morning when Tommie came to my life.

I was up and looking through the window that December morning, when I noticed a brown ball like shape near the gate of our ancestral house. I rushed out, mainly because if it is the ball, I should keep it out of sight of my father, who has a dictum that there is a place for everything in the house. But when I reached the gate, I heard a faint whimper arising from the ball shaped object for it was the protest about the chill form a puppy. Somebody has dumped it nearby, who had more puppies than they can handle from the other side of the river. The legend being when you dump a puppy across the river, it cannot trace back to its old home.

I ran back to the kitchen and requested my mother about keeping the dog, who in turn placed the request with my father. He should have been in a pleasant mood, he gave his Okay and from that day till death separated us apart Tommie was my companion for nine good years. I made a makeshift bowl for him out of a biscuit tin which I fished out of the dump in the back yard. And it became his permanent eating bowl for years to come.

Tommie was not an ordinary dog; I could say that from the day two. One reason is that he can spot me out of the nine brothers and sister lived in that ancestral house from the very first day of his arrival. Second was that he had a squint in the left eye. Some curious kid in his original birthplace would have force opened the eye little early. The soft ball I got from the gate that morning became my companion soon following me everywhere, except to school and later to early years of college. His bed was an empty cement gunny bag folded in two at the doorstep during the night and the little burrow formed by the flowing water between two exposed roots of the mango tree near the front gate. Only in rainy days he will rest in his usual bed during day time.

He was very selective whom he will allow through our main gate, day in and day out. The postman, an occasional telegram bearer, monthly visit of the Pandit for conducting the religious rituals, the veterinary doctor and those living nearby who buy milk regularly from us (we had a “cattle stock” of three cows and one buffalo”) were allowed just after a glance from him, by lifting his head from the resting place. If it is a stranger, there will be Grrrrr first and a loud bow-bow a split second later, if the party is advancing despite hearing after his Grrrr. I still remember how much he terrified the new postman who came in place of the retired one.

He will follow my footsteps from the very moment I cross that door, except when I am off to school and college. Even then he will accompany me till I reach the main road and give him a command “Back to Home Tommie”. Be it to give milk to the hotel nearby in the morning, an evening trip to the grocery shop or to bathe in the river he will be with me. People watch with much awe to hear my command and his return journey to home when I am off to school and college. He will be ready at the mango tree looking through the gate when I am back in the evening. He will jump, lick and run around me till he gets his evening share or milk.

We being strict vegetarians, he was deprived of his favorite dishes on a daily basis. But at times he use to compensate with a binge by chasing a wildfowl successfully when he feel like having a variety for his lunch. Sometimes mother was forced to settle the price of the hen of a nearby house, from the milk account that month, if he settles for a hen instead of a wildfowl.

I got my first ‘own’ cycle when I passed Tenth and off to college. He will make big strides in his run, to keep up with me on my rides. Only when I am whistling down the hillock he will have trouble in keeping pace with me. Even then he will be my side within second once I reach the plains.

As anybody of greatness having a little flaw, Tommie also had one. His ‘little flaw’ was fear of crackers. For the annual festival marking the beginning the ground work for crops, religious custom is to burst crackers. For that whole week, he will find a safe abode in the shed which is in one corner of our backyard where we dumped things. The annual festival in the temple also was a testing time for him as we have spectacular fireworks for three days.

Third year into college I noticed his movements are slow and he lost interest in following me after the gate. But the burrow near the mango tree was his resting place even then. Then on a summer morning mother called me from bed to say that our beloved Tommie is no more. I buried him with the bowl (the same old biscuit tin) in a corner of our backyard. After that I never had a pet for all these years. Somebody in Tommie’s place, I was not able to digest the idea.

But now my wife, after all these years is asking for a pet. Well, I will buy one for us tomorrow and I don’t have to think about another name. Thoughts about Tommie took away the sleep from me. I got up from the bed and headed towards the garage, let me take out the tool box and see if I have all that I require to build a kennel. Tomorrow will be a busy day.


Adoption, Childhood Memories, Dog, Oldage, Pets And Happiness, Pets Animals

Meet the author

author avatar madathil mhanian
from Coimbatore, worked as a Zonal Sales Manager for a Pharma company. At present earns as a Freelance Trainer for Pharma companies.

Share this page

moderator Peter B. Giblett moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


Add a comment
Can't login?