Jun 16, 2011

Over the Rainbow

Over The Rainbow, sung by Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole

I seemed to have disappeared from blogging for a while. Too much heartbreaks and work and with a new maid, I was wearing so many hats in a week that I thought I could pull it through.

When my niece Tricia was still in her late teens, her boyfriend, Michael brought her a puppy. It was a long coated Chihuahua.

Tricia stayed with my parents, her parents in the same house. In our family, every new pet that comes into the house is treated as one of the family. We invite them with open arms, tender love and we have parties at home to gather our extended family, our best friends to welcome them(the pets).

Tricia named him Bambi. Because he was adorably cute. Aren't all babies cute?

He grew up in that household, loved and adored..then Tricia went to Australia for 2 years for her studies. Michael would come over and took care of Bambi..to shower him with love and kisses because Bambi missed Tricia terribly. He use to sleep in her room, on her bed, next to her face.

Whenever I visit my parents, I would go and look out for Bambi. And I would call his name " Bambi, Bambi". He would dash out from where he is at...and jump up and down with delight asking for a cuddle. Which I would do all the time. I would hold him, cuddle him for 10 to 15 mins. Sometimes I would talk to him as if I was talking to a child. Because I have never treated him as an animal..but more of an extended family member.

And without fail, all the years that have passed, whenever I visited my parents, I would always do the same thing..after greeting my parents, I would go and seek him out first..then followed by all the other pets in the house. Because Bambi knows his packing order..He was the first pet..followed by the cat..then came Winter, the Bull Mastiff dog which Tricia rescued from the Puppy mill. Winter was used for breeding only. She never saw the lights of things outside her cage. Only saw the handler who took care of her when she was pregnant or when her puppies were born.

Tricia loved animals..all creatures big and small. From the tiniest of insect to the creepy crawlies to the scaly snake and down the furry animals. Even the cat was an abandoned feline..she would bring him home and loved him.

This is Winter, the Bull Mastiff. Also loved and adored in our homes.

This is Summer, the cat that was abandoned and also rehomed with Tricia. Its me carrying Summer.

In the last couple of 2 years on..Bambi became ill. First he went blind. Tricia was working late almost every night and my sister took it upon herself to care for Bambi in his last days. Michael would come and visit and help to tend to Bambi every weekend.

Poor little Bambi, gone blind but tearing each time..so they had to put the cone on him all the time. Even so, being blind, I would still visit him and would still call his name. And he would listen to my voice and navigate his way around and find me. But he could no longer jumped like before but his tail never stop wagging and I know in my heart I just need to hug him, to cuddle him and to show him I am here. And I still loved him all the time.

When his eyes went blind, the vet told my sister that his days are numbered. Through a scan, they found a tumour in his tiny brain. The doctor gave him only 6 months or less..but he survived for a year..completely blind.

Then he became extremely ill, frail and either vomit every other day or had diarrhea. My girls never grew up to like him. Because Bambi is terrorised everyone at home. He doesn't like children or adults. He doesn't like my mom or my dad. He definitely didn't like my brother in law who is Tricia's dad. In his last days being ill, he didn't like Tricia anymore. If she would to come close to him, he will snarl and snap at her.

You may think that Bambi is ungrateful for the love Tricia had for him or doesn't know what is right or wrong. Who feeds you, who loves you, who doesn't?

But if you put yourself in Bambi's eyes and life, you would understand how he felt. When he was well and happy go lucky dog, no one respected him or gave him a pat on his head or cuddled him. Tricia worked day and night..sometimes she would just come home to change, sleep. My mom used to joke to us that although they all lived in the same house, she doesn't know if Tricia is home or not..! much less Bambi.

Then last month, sometime in May 22, my sister sms me to say that Bambi is in the animal hospital at Sunset Way. That's like the other end of Singapore! She said he may not survive the night and she hopes that he dies peacefully in his sleep than for them to give him the jab to end his suffering. He was found to have kidney failure and the kidneys are failing..one dead, the other was also failing. He was unable to eat or drink and was put on a drip for days.

I had to go and see him. Just to say goodbye and to tell him things again. And so I did...I ask the nursing staff at the hospital to take a photo of me holding him...

When I look at this photo, it tears me badly..he was struggling with all that is left in him to sit up..and putting his head resting on my chest.

When I entered the cage, I call his name again : Bambi, Bambi.
And though he was sleeping, he heard me calling him..And he tried so hard to lift up his head and I slided my palm under his chin..

I whispered to his ears and said to him :

Bambi, Wait for everyone to come and see you, then go..Go in peace. And know that I always have a special spot in my heart for you.!

Then I put him back into the cage, I stroked him and planted kisses on him. And I told him I had to go. But my thoughts are always with him.

The next day, he passed away peacefully, in the arms of Michael and Tricia. They wept bitterly for him.

And for a week, I couldn't get things done at home or at work. And started to think..

This is not my dog. He's Tricia's. And he doesn't live with me. And I don't see him often. So why should it tear me just as much as my own pet's dying on me? Then I realised that all these while, all these years, I have given him a part of me. A love from afar.

I shared with a friend of mine..and then she said to me..:

"Gina, even a dog knows you are sincere. You give everyone, human or animal the same kind of respect and the same kind of love. So its only natural that should one leave, the other hurts."

And then I realised that my extended family are like me too..in this context. When my Beauty(shetland sheepdog) was ill and dying, sms was sent out to all. I remembered my cousin ringing me and crying on the phone. I remember my Aunty Aileen sms me and comforting me.

This is FAMILY, this is LOVE.

Treat everyone, every living thing with love, with respect and in return, the world seems a happier place.

Rest in Peace, Bambi..until that day comes, meet me at the gates of Heaven.

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