When I think of him, he appears as a little puppy dog in front of my eyes, biting each and everything that comes his way.
He was my very first pet dog, and only dog of my 30-something life. It was six years back, when a family in Shimla was abandoning him. The reason they gave was their kids were spending more time playing with him than focusing on studies.
The kids were not preparing for civil services. But this was a lie. The real reason was his origin. He was not born to the elite parents. He is mix of some breeds that I still don’t know and don’t want to know.
My best friend adopted him and the little furry got a home. It would be really unfair if I don’t mention my best friend, Shikha, who has been a committed mother to Ciggy till date. She got him home and fought against every single person who came in the way of raising him. No one can do what she did for the dove-eyed, nearly white furry soul.
When Ciggy came home, I was not prepared for a pet. However, his mystic charm and innocence made me fall in love with him. Each day he was growing up and his charm was getting magnified. He even surprised me one day when I was feeling really sad. I remember I was crying under a quilt and he came up to me and licked my tears. For the rest of the night he was slept beside me as if checking to see if I was fine. Looking into his eyes, I realized his love and compassion. I learned a lot from him and tried my best to reciprocate.
Ciggy grew up as a very handsome fellow, however, destiny brought about new struggles. A couple of years back, Shikha got engaged. At first, her would be husband when he was in the courtship period, committed to take Ciggy. But later he started ignoring any topic related to Ciggy. It troubled my best friend and time passed rapidly. It was few days before her marriage that she asked me to take Ciggy along with me to Manali where I was moving. I was happy and thankful to her for giving me the opportunity to take care of our baby.
Once we got to Manali, the adventure started. For the first few days, I was so scared of letting him go out of my room, because I feared he will be lost. I was lucky that my Manali cottage had a garden and a lot of space to play, plus another dog that I named, Kayzer. Life with Kayzer was no less than a roller-coaster ride. Each morning I used to chant and pray, so that both of my dogs connect and become friends. It did not happen. Kayzer, being a giant dog used to bully Ciggy every day. They both had fights and that led to several injuries. Soon however, life took me to Dharamshala for a month.
Dharamshala, was no good to both of us. I was staying in Eco Lodge on Jogiwara Road, with Ciggy. My next door neighbor was doing meditation most of the times and she used to complain about my dog, “Is there any problem with this dog. He barks!” she asked. I was really upset and annoyed and I told the dear lady the following, “When a dog barks, there is nothing wrong, but when humans bark, there is a problem. He is a dog and I can’t keep him silent. Moreover, he is not doing any harm to anyone around!” That seemed to keep her quiet. Unfortunately, the owner of eco-lodge also had a dog, but he had breed dog and only liked breed dogs, because of this, I was told to leave every day.
With tears in my eyes, I had to shift Ciggy to a friend’s home in Sukkad for some days. I did not know what to do and I felt so guilty that I called my best friend for help. She had been completely depressed with the separation came and took Ciggy with back her not caring what her husband thought.
Unfortunately, when Shikha took him to Gurgaon to her new home, she found there would be continual struggles with her husband’s family. She also regularly has to deal with the attitude that Ciggy is not a good dog because he is not an expensive breed, but at least he is safe.
The culture of discrimination between expensive breeds and street dogs will never change…but neither will our love for our charming furry, Ciggy. Throughout these six years, he has given us selfless love and taught us compassion. He is much more than a pet dog; he is a friend, a family member and a charming soul.