I had been observing this gentleman for the last week or two and the strange part was every time he was out with a different dog! How many did he have? I had counted at least 8 different breeds. Seeing him with a Dachshund today I just couldn’t control myself. ‘How many dogs do you have?’ I asked. He laughed and pointing to his dog he said, ‘He is not mine. He belongs to a neighbour. I am just walking him.’
On further talking I came to know that this gentleman is a retired bank employee, his kids are in another town, he lives with his asthmatic wife in one of the by lanes of my colony. He loves dogs he says. But unfortunately since his wife is asthmatic and hence allergic he could never have one at home. Plus there never was space in his flat for all the dogs he wanted to have. Now that he is free with all the time in the world, he spends it by offering to walk the dogs of all his neighbours. He says he offers to walk the pets of his neighbours as most of them didn’t seem to have the time to take them out for walks. He says time to time he extends his services to giving them weekly baths on a rotation basis and also takes them to vets for their vaccinations or if they are unwell. He does all of this happily and willingly and without charging a pie! With what time he has left he volunteers at Blue Cross and helps by cleaning the enclosures and feeding the strays.
At this point although on one side I couldn’t help wonder why people had dogs if they had no time to even take them for walks, on the other I couldn’t but help feel happy for the dogs who had found someone like him. I can see how much he enjoys what he does and how passionate he is about dogs. There is nothing he doesn’t know about them - their food, diet, exercise, medication, shiny coat, twisted leg, injections and infections. You name it and he’d tell you what to do! It is amazing how people find a passionate purpose in life. Some would call him a nut for going down on all fours instead of relaxing and taking it easy in the twilight years. But I would say he is indeed enjoying and relaxing. It is evident in his smile, in the twinkle of his eye and in the way he does what he does. Kudos to such people! I came back home feeling I need to remember to do something useful in my twilight years.