"Life is like a drop of water at the end of a leaf in the morning."
A blogger friend passed on this thought to me (thank you, Georgia's human). In a strange way it helped.
But I don't want to depress people with this post. I want to tell everyone how we're coping.
Before we lost Lalee, Kimaya had been off her food for two weeks, most probably because of the summer heat. She wasn't finishing her meals, and she skipped some meals altogether, though she was playful and normal in every other way.
After Lalee died, she stopped playing and her appetite almost disappeared. She didn't eat at all some days; on an average she ate one meal in three days. She slept a lot and was quiet and depressed.
This went on for twelve days.
So I pulled myself together so I could pull her out. I took her to an excellent canine behaviour consultant, a very inspiring lady called Shirin. Shirin has advised me in the past about my dogs, and I've always found her advice practical and useful.
She told me Kimaya was picking up my mood. Nothing seemed wrong with her health - the vet had already told me that. She told me some steps I could take to get her back to normal, and also to handle some other problems like mild separation anxiety.
I felt a lot more cheerful after this meeting. And like a mirror, my little dog cheered up too!
I started taking Kimaya to friends' homes, and out shopping with me, though of course on shopping trips she had to stay in the car with the driver. She used to be timid with strangers, but her confidence improved with all these new interactions.
My mother, brother and sister came to visit in June, so she had a month of pampering and non-stop attention that did her a lot of good.
Kimaya clicked by my brother
Then we started obedience training with a behaviour consultant trained and recommended by Shirin. Kimaya's two years of living in Nagaon had made her very independent and completely disobedient, in ways that could put her in danger. The worst problems were: not coming when called on the beach, eating absolutely disgusting things (poop, rotting fish!), and running out of the front door of our Mumbai apartment.
Kimaya took to her trainer immediately, and after the first lesson she bounced back to her normal mood and started eating properly again! Her training sessions were like games and she just loved the focussed attention, being treated and told she was a good girl every few minutes (she doesn't get called that a lot, normally).
She's not an early riser at all, but she'd bounce out of bed for her training sessions at 8 in the morning.
By the end of a month she had made a huge amount of progress. Friends have noticed her improved behaviour; she walks nicely on her leash instead of pulling, and though she still isn't obedient on the beach, she is definitely better than before and returns to us instead of behaving as though we don't exist.
We went to Nagaon in early July, but it wasn't as much fun as usual, because there were no other dogs to play with.
For the first time Kimaya and I were alone on the vast grey beach.
We hadn't gone there all of June; and Brownie's visits, from being a daily affair, had become increasingly infrequent. He must have thought Kimaya wasn't coming back. So he "adopted" a family living down our lane, because their dogs were his friends already. More about that in the next post.
With the pragmatism of all dogs, Kimaya has adapted to the new situation and doesn't wait for him like she used to. Life is short, every moment counts and there is a whole lot of running and playing to do!
People (domestic helps, friends, the building watchmen) sometimes call Kimaya "Lalee" by mistake, and then they quickly correct themselves. These things take time.
Above: Kimaya clicked by Kiran - favourite sleeping position
Below: With Kiran
Three months have passed since it happened...
Lalee, wherever you are, if you are indeed anywhere at all; if you are still Lalee or even if you are not -
You were my golden girl and all dogs will forever be compared to you.
Our decade together is over, the best decade of my life. I should let you go in peace instead of hoping you'll come back. I am trying.
Meanwhile, Kimpy and I miss you but we are doing all right, as well as can be expected.
For all the joy, the fun, the new doors we opened, the wonder of new worlds discovered, for the many glimpses into your mysterious doggy mind, for the zillion wags of your doughnut tail, for the funny squeaky noises you made when I came home, for your patience with all other creatures, for the warmth and comfort at my feet, for the afternoon-dreaming in a patch of sunlight, and above all for the deep peace of living with you - thank you, my beautiful red dog.
I love you always, always, more than words can say.