Saturday, June 28, 2014

“Empathize with Animals – A Short Story” - Professor M.S.Rao

“There are three faithful friends - an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.” - Benjamin Franklin

I lived in Jodhpur from 1986 to 1991 while serving in Indian Air Force. I was unmarried and would go to mess by cycle along with my friend to take dinner. Sometimes my friend, Adinarayana would cook food and we along with other friends enjoyed taking customized food as per our taste. My friend was an expert cook and he prepared delicious food once a while. Rest of the time, we would go to a mess in the Air Force Station to take food.

It was in 1988, one day evening when we were going by cycle to food by talking in our Telugu language, a street dog followed us on the way by barking. It was wagging its tail. We were worried that it would bite us. We maintained safe distance with dog and talked to each other in our Telugu language. The dog would wait for us at the same point everyday and follow us by barking up to some distance.  It disturbed our conversation. We were unable to continue our conversation in our Telugu language.  It continued for a few days.

One day when we were going to mess for food in the evening, another new Telugu friend, Kishore joined along with us who was coming to mess by his cycle. When we three were talking in our Telugu language, the dog that waited at a particular place started following us by barking. My friend told to Kishore in Telugu, “This dog barks and follows us regularly and we were fed up with it. It became a nuisance to us and we were unable to continue our conversation. We are also worried that it would bite us.”
Kishore responded, “Don’t blame this dog. It is a nice dog. One Telugu man went to his native place – Vijayawada and brought this dog to Jodhpur. He went to New Delhi as he was posted. He left this dog in Jodhpur. Whenever Telugu people talk, this dog would follow them by wagging its tail. Therefore, don’t blame this dog.”
My friend and I were shocked by listening to Kishore. We told them that we mistook dog as a street dog and it would bite us. Hence, we avoided it many times. We felt guilty for misunderstanding the dog. We were surprised to know that even dog also has attachment towards Telugu language. We both took the dog to our room and reared it. It was with us for some time.  Later it died when we were still posted in Jodhpur. I still cannot forget that incident although it happened 26 years ago.

I lived in Hyderabad from 2008 to 2014. It was in May 2014 I was going by walk to meet doctor in a hurry. The distance was around 2 kilometers from my home. I enjoyed walking in Hyderabad as the way I enjoyed cycling when I lived in Jodhpur in late eighties. A baby dog followed me by wagging its style. It was very happy. I did not notice it for sometime as I was busy going in the traffic to meet my doctor. After walking for some time I realized that this baby dog followed me by wagging its tail. Immediately I recalled my experience in Jodhpur. I empathized with this dog. I was worried that some vehicle might hit this baby dog as I was walking through a vehicular traffic. I kept walking further aside from the main road to enable the dog to follow me by maintaining safe distance from the heavy traffic. I was looking at the baby dog and walking. The baby dog was very happy and started looking at me and also was tense at the traffic and running with baby steps. When I was crossing other side of the road, the baby dog also followed along with me. Suddenly a motor cycle hit the baby dog. It started crying. I felt very bad. I arranged some water from the nearby place and poured on the baby dog. There was no blood but it was still crying with pain. Other pedestrians also came to rescue and poured little water. Then I took the baby dog aside started walking slowly. Again it started walking along with me slowly by limping and crying unlike some time back where it was running happily. I decided to take the baby dog to my home. I carried the dog to my home and reared it.  

There are some incidents that people cannot forget. These two incidents changed my perception towards dogs and life. Dogs are also living things but they cannot express their language except through loyalty and physical movements. The lesson I learnt from these two dogs is to empathize with others. People have their own perceptions about others but they must still look at others with an open mind with empathy.  

“The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog.  The man will be there to feed the dog.  The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.” - Warren G. Bennis

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