Undisputed access to the entire apartment complex area, free run of the property, unquestioned right to dig as large and deep a hole as he likes in the manicured garden…Sheru has a good life.
He is all of 12 and half years. He prefers to sleep away most of his days. He hobbles about in the premises on arthritic limbs but is still very alert, smart and serious about his duties as the resident guard of our colony.
We learned from one of the oldest guards that Sheru (his name is an endearing Hindi alternative to ‘Tiger’) was adopted by the builder who was looking after the construction of the complex years ago. He was just a tiny little bundle of fur then. The builder moved away long back and left Sheru behind. We don’t know if the builder had meant this handsome little dog to be the colony dog right from the outset or whether he just abandoned him here but Sheru stayed on. And made this place his home.
Sheru is an old dog now. Probably the oldest resident of our colony. But he isn’t a dog that you can take for granted yet. It was only just the other day that we found he had managed to lay his paws on what has eluded us for so long.
Yes! One of those pestering pigeons. And it wasn’t even a baby!!
This time there was no one around to save the bird (Pls refer to earlier post)and it was long gone by the time Mummy found Sheru looking so smug!
This old boy certainly has a lot left in him!
In the evenings, Sheru prefers to lounge by the huge gates at the entrance, as if he needs to keep an eye on everyone coming in or going out. During the chilly winter days, he would sit with the guards and warm his old achy paws by the wood-fire they invariably light up and then go to sleep with them inside their station.
In the summers, he prefers to dig a large hole in a corner of the garden and sleep away the hot, humid hours in the shade. But only till nightfall when he is to be found at his usual place by the entrance gates.
What is so beautiful about Sheru’s story is that you find so many little instances of kindness and acceptance in it.
Like for example, the guards. There are so many of them working in shifts. Some young, friendly, smart and subtle. Others old, grumpy and loud. But they are all equally kind and tolerant of Sheru. They make sure his water bowl at the gate is full and if you happen to take him some food or milk, they gladly wash his bowl and feed him. A lot of people in our colony do that. Take him food, that is.
Equally tolerant is the poor gardener who works everyday in this scorching summer heat watering and trimming all the grass and plants, straining to keep our lawns green and fresh. And then, when Sheru manages to find the coolest freshly watered spot to dig his bed in he is allowed to!
Sheru understands. And certainly works hard to earn his living.
He isn’t very fond of us or the other dogs in our colony and is very vocal about his displeasure. Understandably so too. For him, we must seem like groomed and pampered pooches that strut about in his territory without a care.
But he is very fond of Mummy. Wagging tail, adorable eyes, old and wise but still shining like an excited puppy’s, paws that are bent by arthritis but that gathers speed from the trust that there’ll always be a treat for him…
He is a beautiful old dog, inside and out.
It is sad that he doesn’t have a proper home. He would have made a lovely companion, brave, loyal and friendly. But we are thankful that he has had a safe life so far. And he belongs.
That is so much to be thankful for when you think of so many other equally brave, loyal and friendly dogs who never have and never will know what it is to belong…
A tad sad,
Ginger, Buddy and Shadow