Yesterday, Anna found out that Lemongrass died while we were in India.
Lemongrass was a tiny, frail puppy who I met at a cafe. She was drunkenly stumbling around the cafe’s lawn, her small body unable to carry her full weight. When Anna and I moved to pet her, though, her tail wagged and she gradually flipped to expose her belly. She whimpered every so often and at first Anna and I were afraid we were hurting her, but when we stood up to move back to our table, Lemongrass heaved her body up and followed us. Anna picked her up and she laid in Anna’s arms, her eyes gently closing. We passed her back and forth when our arms got tired or we had to do something, and Lemongrass was utterly content with the love and scratches.
We returned to the cafe often and saw her, giving her peanut butter and crackers when she would accept them. She became more sick, though. Anna found her sleeping under a cardboard box in the awning of a monastery, and found out through a monk that she slept there each night. The monk told Anna that she was very sick ~ although we knew this, hearing it affirmed was hard.
When we returned from India, she was gone.
I cannot express this feeling. I thought, when I was petting Lemongrass, that perhaps I could take her home. I knew I held a life which wouldn’t last long on the streets of Boudha, but didn’t know if I had the right to take her out of her environment and even if I had the ability to.
Now I wish I did something but still, what could I have done? There are so many street dogs, many with gashes or missing legs from cars, other dogs, or humans. I have witnessed cruel treatment by people, and I have seen dogs starving, mothers refusing to allow their puppies to milk because they are far too skinny themselves. But also I have seen a man, passing by, dropping crackers for a street dog trailing behind him. I have watched street dogs treated by a local NGO each Saturday, the dogs’ wounds being bound, injections given, and the dogs leaving freely afterward. I’ve watched my Amala each night giving extra food to the street dogs, and I saw a young boy playing with a dog, scratching behind his ears and hugging him. And I have met so many street dogs, their tails wagging and refusing food, only wanting love.
These are souls. Regardless of what form, they are living beings with wishes and the ability to feel pain… and the ability to feel joy.
I am writing to say thank you to a soul who gave me joy. I am utterly sorry that I could do nothing more for you, but I hope you knew that you were loved.