The last time I saw that thing was on February 19, 2013. I still distinctly remember how, a girl I’d never seen before, knelt down to look at me and gingerly opened the door for me. I was so glad to be out in the open, I thanked her profusely, offering to be her faithful companion for life. I initially thought she didn’t understand, because she gently put me back in there and closed that door.
But, of course she’d understood. And I’d gone home with her that day. From the time I began living with her, I’ve only known happiness, comfort, love and joy. Well, she did always get super miffed when I soiled the house, but I knew she loved me to bits anyway. I was pampered, treated like a princess, fed the most amazing food, given complete freedom to do what I wanted, wherever I wanted to. I got a doting brother and friend, an entire family. I moved two houses with her, I met many people, I discovered new food, I travelled many places… Long story short, I no longer remembered the horrors of the six years I lived outside of her world. I was no longer “1420”. I had become “Khloe Nayar”. Life was absolute bliss and I knew there was no turning back.
Or so I thought. Until February 2017, when I saw that thing again, in the house, back in my life. I couldn’t believe she would do that. She pointed at it and asked me “Khloe, will you get inside the crate?”
I was heart broken…and of course I refused. And strangely, she didn’t seem to mind. I suppose she wasn’t fully decided then, because the crate just sat there in the house, its door always open, left to my free will of going in and out of it. Not once was I tricked into getting in and locked up. So, as the days and then weeks went by, I let down my guard, I let go of my bad thoughts, I was almost there, convinced that there are other uses for crates in houses than to lock me up in. I say “almost there” because once a while I heard her ask “Do you know where you’re going off to soon!?”
She’d already become a “visitor”, I would only see her every now and then…and at other times, only heard her squeaking undecipherables over the phone. So, I should have expected the time was not too far.
Before I knew it, the wretched day dawned on me. On May 26, 2017, I went back into the confines of a crate. I could not believe it. I did not think she’d do that to me. Ever.
I resigned myself to the thought that at least I had a lovely 4 years to look back on to. More than myself, I felt terrible for poor Pumbaa. He’d never even seen a crate his whole life! And there he was, too, locked up in one, right next to mine. I have to be honest. Even while I knew I was going away, I did not ever think he would be sent off too! I had all along been secretly jealous of how much she loved him, so that was a shocker. But, I am glad he was with me, for if it weren’t for his constant reassurance that “It’ll be OK. I don’t think it’s what we think it is. She can’t live without us…”, I would have collapsed in despair much earlier. Poor boy, though I knew he was wrong, I didn’t want to kill his optimism, so I played along.
It was a nightmare when the time came. It was a horribly loud place. Strange faces kept peering at us even as angry voices kept shouting around us, sometimes even drowning the loud metallic screeches of some machines at work. It was so terrible, I don’t want to even remember it anymore. I would not wish it on my biggest enemy (if I had one)! And yet, Pumbaa was still sure it’d be OK. Just when I thought I should break his bubble and tell him what was going on, we were moved into a large space, which looked much neater. In fact, I think it was air-conditioned. It was just us…and it felt like we were in a crate, within a larger crate. Only, it was silent and cool. And smelled kind of nice and clean.
We almost thought we were in a safe place, but our worlds turned upside down again. Nothing in the world would have prepared us for the deafening roar that erupted in our ears, and went on and on for hours together! I hated every second of it. That nice, silent, cool place had turned into an unbearably loud, wobbly, scary hell. It was so bad, even Pumbaa seemed to lose hope. In between, the roaring and the wobbling stopped, some people appeared out of nowhere and gave us some water and food, both barely enough.
That’s when we realized we were indeed “sent away”. We’d have to get used to tough times. It was a strange land, strange people, strange sounds, strange sights, strange voices and words. And just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, we were moved to another place that soon began to roar and wobble like earlier. I just didn’t know what machine we were in and for what purpose. I constantly kept praying I hadn’t been time-transported to my pre-2013 life!
It took me a lot of time and effort to convince Pumbaa not to cry. He would not stop whining. He kept saying he wanted it all to end so he can go back to her. I had to stop playing along…so I told him she wasn’t coming back. I told him we’re lucky we were still together. I shared my horror stories from the past and told him we’re in a far better place. At least, we weren’t being hurt. It broke my heart to see him in such misery. He’s such a cheery boy otherwise. We spent hours reminiscing the good times we had with her and struggling to come to terms with the unknown ahead of us…and all that while, Pumbaa whined.
Before long, we were back in a loud place, surrounded by strange people. Strange faces kept peering at us even as stranger voices kept shouting around us. The whole place smelled rather strange too. We’d even lost track of time. What it day or night? How many days had passed? How long have we been here? When was the roaring and wobbling going to begin again? And why the heck was it so frikking hot!? Jeeez…was this the place they call Hell?
And then we heard familiar footsteps, familiar words, familiar voices. Faint, but we were definite we heard them. And voila! There she was. We both went Ohhhh Myyyyy Goddddddd — because there she truly was! She hadn’t abandoned us after all. Pumbaa was right. He gleefully said “See…I told you! She cannot live without us!”
She was her usual self and very excited to see us, but we wondered why she wouldn’t take us out of the crates. She fed us, gave us water, poked her finger in through the grill and rubbed our noses…but we stayed in the crate, she outside. Where were we? For some strange reason, she just sat there – us in our crates, she on a bench – for almost 5 hours and before we even could take one last look at her, we got whisked away into another strange place. That had been her final bye-bye. Because, we didn’t see her after that.
Two weeks passed and we were still there. With many other dogs who were there too. That was our new home. I was pretty sure it was THE SHELTER. It had to be…because the people were nice, and there was always a new dog coming in or an old one taken away. There was no crate and we had a cage instead. There was plenty of water and food. We even got bathed a few times. BUT. It wasn’t home. She wasn’t there. Nothing from our lives till two weeks ago was there anymore. We didn’t have our beds, our toys, our food bowls, our treats, our visitors, our couches, our lawn… I was sure the only thing left to do was to wait endlessly…or worse, become mere numbers again.
But on June 10, 2017, we saw her again. There she stood, with a bag full of treats and new bowls and toys (and even a poop scoop!) and a luxury car to take us along home! My my. I will never forget how Pumbaa went completely bonkers and rejoiced like the Lord himself had appeared before him! He told me he kind of understood at that point how I must have felt that day in February 2013, when I first had her arms around me!
She hadn’t abandoned us after all!. We later learnt that the crate was something she was forced to use, that she’d put us both on a plane with a Dubai stop-over (which explained all that roaring and wobbling and strange people) — and taken us across the seas, all the way to Kuwait (where she had to leave us at the fancy IVH boarding for 14 days)!
Simply because…Pumbaa was right: she just could not live without us! ❤
— A guest post based on a true story, by Khloe J Nayar (now a happy, settled-in NRI Beagle)