Sunday June 24, 2012
As ‘told to’ JENNY WILLIAMS
MAMA liked the song From A Jack To A King, and I suppose it fits my life so well. I went from being a vagrant wandering the streets of Kelana Jaya, Selangor, to a princess. This is my story.
I remember walking aimlessly, searching for any scraps that would fill my belly. Even discarded durian skin looked tempting! I thought to myself: Is this my destiny? Why was no one willing to take me in? Was it my matted fur and bad odour?
I was so caught up in my despair that I failed to notice the bus – and I would have met an early death if not for my rescuer who pulled me away by the scruff of my neck.
Seeing that I was starving and uncared for, she took me home. As she placed me down I immediately stood on my back legs and clasped my paws together (just like I would see Mama do later, when she prayed) and ran around the garden, hoping for a miracle.
My prayers were answered. I was taken to the vet the next morning for a thorough check-up and grooming. In a few short months I could hardly recognise myself. I was no longer a dirty stray to be pelted with stones ... I had become Snowy!
I spent many Christmases and happy times with Mama and Papa. I was extremely pampered, to the envy even of humans – you name it, I had it all.
Time went by and the years caught up with me. My vision blurred but the cataracts could not be taken out because of my age. Mama said, “It’s OK, I will be your eyes. Don’t worry, you can use your nose to move around too.”
I tried that, but soon my legs started to give out. Papa would massage them daily as advised by Dr Prem, my most caring vet. Eventually I could not even stand up, and Mama never left me alone especially at night. She would clean me up as soon as she came home from work. I was her priority above all else.
There were those who advised Mama to have me put to sleep to end what they presumed was my suffering. Mama always sought advice from Dr Prem, who believed it was necessary only when there is extreme suffering and the choice would not be hers any more.
Dear Dr Prem patiently taught Mama the finer points of being a caregiver. She was my eyes, my legs, my all.
Just as Mama thought everything was fine I took a turn for the worse. I lost my appetite. Poor Mama cooked all my favourite foods but I turned them all down. Panic and fear gripped her heart and I could see the tears welling up in her eyes.
Dr Prem did a test and the results confirmed it: my kidneys were failing fast and I was in bad shape. Mama asked if I was in pain and dying. His reply brought more tears to her eyes. He gave me more medication and a jab for my pain.
Mama took me home.
My final hours
She stays by my side, trying to feed me with a syringe, wetting my lips with drops of water. I respond just to make her a little happy. I give a sudden yelp and throw up and both of us realise the time has come.
Dr Prem tells her over the telephone to keep me comfortable so that I can go peacefully, as was her wish. She is up the whole night, changing my bedding whenever I throw up. I hear her gently speaking all the names of the family, saying how much they love me, but I know I must leave them soon.
11.15am: I am finding it hard to breathe though I know Mama is still there. I want to wait for Papa to return, Papa who was with me in the mornings and afternoons when Mama went to work, but I cannot hang on.
Mama, please thank my rescuer, my sister Sharon; and my cousin Georgie who stayed with us through the night. Remember what Dr Prem said: “In sickness and in health, till death do us part; there is no difference between man and animal.”
11.20am: Thank you, Mama, for the wonderful life and the unflagging love you showed to this stray. Goodbye.
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