His teeth remind me of the sharp incision made by the little rabid brat, deep into my tender calf muscles for which I had to get the shots during my preschool days itself. Trying to ignore his misaligned yellowish black teeth and shifting my attention to his eyes, he vividly reminds me of my dad’s personality- I could deeply feel the calmness infused with lethargy. His slow walk and patience suited my dad’s persona.
The sight of dogs was spine chilling and gave me nightmares of all the pain and horrific doctor visits- until I met ‘Vasco’ who was more like a human — a polished one in fact! He was not that-”Awww so cute” types. His coat was not clean and it was heavily shedding. Though his teeth looked very scary his eyes could tell stories. His tail would wag only for us rhythmically in slow motion. His face was droopy, skin all hardened up and fur that was almost not there- this was how our family met him for the first time too! Yet, the aura he carried made us absolutely fall for him; especially my dad who was his ardent fan!
Vasco knew the rules of our house; my dad’s friend that he was. He made sure not to overwhelm anyone; he used to finish his food on time without any hustle & bustle and calmly walk towards our garden for a quick nap post which he swayed in elan and left through the little gate that was kept open only for him. I must admit-he was extremely punctilious! He was our ‘no-nonsense Vasco’- just the way a ‘not so pet-friendly family’ preferred it to be. Even though it looked transactional for many, the meaning of our bond was much beyond imagination. He was the only street dog, my dad, ever entertained as a guest into our backyard every day. Whenever there were special treats kept outside our house we noticed that he was never into a competition with the other street dogs to grab the biggest chunk. His patience never got him to fill his tummy, however, it did fill our hearts with a lot of respect for him.
When I anthropomorphize Vasco, it looked like he was always advising the other street dogs or probably conducting some behavior classes by showcasing them through his own actions like a true mentor. Even though he was an enthusiastic explorer he used to be back on the dot(covered with hay, mud, water, and even bits of leaves or twigs)for his treats and his night’s stay in our portico.
Exploring high and low there were times when he lost the track of time too. Slowly we noticed him getting detached from everything and staring at nothingness like a meditating monk. His exploration too became quite intermittent and the day he never returned my stoic dad seemed quite restless. This made me realize; branding our dad- ‘not so pet-friendly’ was unreasonable!
After many days of futile search and pointless expectations of our senior explorer’s return, my dad declared- “Vasco is lost in exploration and he should have reached the stars.” That moment, we scrapped all our silly stories of his disappearance to firmly believe my dad’s version as we knew the ineffable connect they both shared!