He stood by Sheru’s side with folded hands, his forehead crinkled in concentration as he prayed.
‘This handband that I got, it’s for good luck. May be it’ll help Sheru get well’, he said earnestly.
And then he said something that left me speechless,’ If there isn’t much the vet can do for him, may be his time is up’.
All of seven years, Ricky is wise beyond his years. And so amazingly kind, sensitive and insightful he makes me wonder if the stories of a new emerging breed of evolved humans are actually true…
The day he arrived for his holiday here with us, it was a scorching hot typical June day in Delhi. But Ricky refused to stay indoors.
‘I’d go out even if it’s 46 degrees C outside for a dog,’ he told me. Ever since he arrived, he has been helping me feed Sheru three times a day in addition to his usual walks with Ginger, Buddy and Shadow.
Yes, Sheru is back.
That morning I woke up with a headache. In spite of a very tiring hot day I'd slept fretfully, debating with myself my decision to bring Sheru back from the shelter.
His external wounds are healed but that paw isn't going to be the same ever. He hobbles around slowly, almost painfully, just about tip toeing on it. The bones aren't aligned well. At his age and with his feeble constitution, it would be almost inhuman to subject him to anaesthesia and surgery.
Will he be able to cope? Will he be able to keep away from the cars? Should I let him be at the shelter for the rest of his life? I can't take him home, I can't be around all the time- it wouldn't be fair to him that I ask him to adjust to apartment life at this age and it wouldn't be fair to Gin, Bud and Shadow that I ask them to adjust with Sheru as he is. Am I right in bringing him back?
There was no turning back though once we were at the shelter gate.
There he was, looking so small and forlorn amongst the younger, robust dogs that competed with each other to get at the treats I'd taken and to leave their smells on my dress- I'd always thought it was more of a cat thing!
Sheru looked lost and sad. Over two weeks at this unfamiliar place with so much competition had taken a toll on my boy. His paw has healed well, but at the expense of his spirit.
Most parts of his drive back home, he tried hard to make sense of the moving world outside. When tired, he'd nap on my lap.
The guards were delighted to see him and promised to keep an eye on him.
But I was worried. Terribly worried because Sheru didn’t seem his old self. He’d caught a chest infection, had lost his appetite – probably the meds, the heat and everything new at the shelter - and was far too weak and sad.
He still responded to my touch though, woke up and drank a little milk. That night and the next morning, all he ate was a handful of chicken liver and rice. I’d been lacing his food with meds and vitamins, thankful for each mouthful that he took, hoping and praying I’d know if I need to make a decision.
Till Ricky came along.
‘I don’t like to see Sheru like this,’ he says,’ I don’t want him to die. I’ll get bad nightmares if I think of him dying. I feel a little happy because he’s eating again.’
It must be Ricky’s good luck charm , his deeply earnest prayers and a seven year Old's innocence that has revived Sheru. Today he walked all around the campus, passed potty in two days and ate more than he has eaten in the last three days. For the first time in five days, he wagged when I tousled the fur on his head.
That one moment of joy and of overwhelming gratefulness, I’ll remember for ever….
This evening I found Sheru in front of the lift to our home – does he actually know?