Blacky and Brownie...'epitome of unconditional love'

Reena Sen

The Call Beyond
15 Jul 2019

Blacky and Browny are two street dogs whom I met outside my husband Manu’s office. I had heard about them from him but it was my experience with them that still continues to amaze me.

These two dogs are sort of unofficial watchdogs with the security personnel manning the entrance of the office where Manu works. So one day when he tried to enter the premises in the absence of the security personnel, these two made sure that he would not be able to enter the gate till the security guards returned. No, they did not bark or bite or do anything to harm him; they simply made sure that he was engaged in petting them by literally putting up their paws onto his chest, with wagging tails. My husband came home that night with the tale of this intelligent twosome. Next day, my husband took along some eatables for them. Of course he was in love with their ingenious way of stalling his entry into his own office! The twosome simply refused to eat anything and again made sure that they got enough cuddling and petting from him for people to start believing that they must be his pets.

The favourite place of sleeping for Blacky is the sofa designated for guests, which she forfeits with a look that would make any human being feel pretty bad about dislodging a queen from her royal throne! Her second best choice is the air conditioned workplace. It appears that Blacky is more vibrant and involved in things around her than Browny who is more of the silent, sensitive and diplomat kind. So on and off I kept on hearing various anecdotes about their antics from my husband and then came the moment of absolute surprise for me.

It was the festive season and my husband was working. So in the evening me and my mom were scheduled to pick him up from his office on our way home from the puja pandal. Once we reached there, I got out of the car, intimated him about our arrival and started to walk around since this was my first visit to his office.

Suddenly I saw one black dog making its way towards me with a grin on its face and a wagging tail. You guessed it right - it was Blacky. I was nowhere near the gate. Till date I don’t know how she recognised me or why she came towards me on her own. I love animals - that’s no secret. But in this particular case, I had not even noticed that she was there. I will never forget the expression in her eyes - full of love and laughter, as if we were long lost friends who were getting reunited. As soon as she saw an answering grin on my face, she simply ran up to me, putting her front paws on my chest, trying her level best to lick me anywhere and everywhere; it felt like a warm homecoming to me. I can recall very few occasions in my life where human beings have given me such genuine, warm and unconditional love or made me feel so welcome.

Following her closely and watching me with eager and soulful eyes was her partner Browny. He did not immediately come up to me but waited patiently for Blacky to shower her exuberance on me. It wagged its tail, a little less vigorously than Blacky but with such a soulful look in its liquid brown eyes that my immediate reaction was to nod my head towards him. That was enough to start an avalanche of affection from him too. Browny is bigger than Blacky, and heavier too. He simply came forward, nudged his nose in-between me and Blacky for his share of petting. Once he realised that Blacky had no intentions of letting him get in between, he went over to the other side and stood up with his front two paws on my chest! I realised that if I did not want to land up on my back on the road, I had better do something about my position! So all three of us shifted to the pavement near the road to continue our non verbal conversation.

For the next few minutes, all three of us were deeply engaged in simply sharing our love for each other. Blacky wanted to have all the attention whereas Browny was sure that such a proposition was not fair. So on one hand I had Blacky licking my hands, my face and my feet to make sure that she had the maximum attention and on the other hand, Browny would simply nudge his wet nose under my elbow to get his share of love and petting. What was amazing was the way both of them would look up at me. I can still feel that choking sensation of the emotions that I had experienced and those tears of absolute bliss and homecoming that I had felt at that moment. The unconditional love that these two bestowed upon me was amazing.

Once Manu arrived on the scene, Blacky continued to stay with me unabashedly. But we discovered that Browny was quite a diplomat! He immediately looked pretty concerned about what my husband would think about their display of affection towards me. He moved towards him with a look of trepidation and an expression which seemed to say that his loyalty towards him was in no way compromised. Once he petted him and said that it was alright with him, Browny waited for a few more seconds before coming back to me for more petting! It was amazing the way these two dogs can communicate with their eyes. They understand what we are saying in words or through our silence and respond immediately to that…

I have gone to meet my husband a couple of times after that day, sometimes with a reason and sometimes just for meeting those two loving creatures! Each time I have come back with so much of unconditional love and affection which I cannot describe and limit in words. It’s an experience, which I hope, I shall continue to have with them for a long long time.

I could not lie anymore, so I started to call my dog ‘God’. First he looked confused, then he started smiling, then he even danced. I kept at it, now he doesn’t even bite, I am wondering if this might work on people.

— Sant Tukaram, Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

(Daniel Ladinsky (2002), Love Poems from God, Penguin, ISBN 978-0142196120, page 333)