See the fat dog on the left? That’s Gus. He is just one of the many dogs Nisa feeds in Koregaon Park, Pune, every night.
Gus is special – he’s a lot wider than the others and he’s greedy – Oh yes, he really is. He will eat anything at anytime. All the other dogs are disciplined to some extent – they will eat from their bowls only when Nisa says it is okay for them to eat. Gus, however, has never followed the doggy etiquette. He has always been the sly sneaky one in the corner who steals food from all the other dog bowls when they aren’t looking, or intimidate them to walk away and have it all to his own; and very often, this leads to fights. Stealing food from the other dogs is a strict no-no with Nisa.
Basically, Gus causes fights and fights cause Nisa to go wild. And when Nisa realizes it’s Gus’ fault again, she chases him away – and this happens on most days.
“I don’t like that fat dog”, “Ill-mannered-brat”, “stupid fellow” – Nisa has saved these phrases just for Gus. Anyone who has spent a day helping her out can tell you that she does not like him one bit.
I’m extremely fond of the guy though. I think it’s cute how fat he is; and I just love the way he walks. Well, Gus doesn’t really walk so much as he waddles.
His waddle is pretty funny; the story behind it is not. One of Gus’ legs is slightly twisted which causes him to walk weird.
I have sat with Gus, spoken to him and fed him away from the others on many nights that Nisa wasn’t able to handle him. As much as Nisa dislikes him, I really like that fatso….or atleast I did…
Gus died last week…
The vet says he was either poisoned or he ate something that was poisonous by accident. When Nisa told me, she was genuinely upset. I could truly feel the sadness in her voice when she told me she tried rushing to him, but he died when she was just 10 feet away and how she wished she could’ve held him when he was in his last few moments of pain.
She has yelled at him, chased him, cursed him – but has always made sure he was well fed and healthy every single night; and she wanted to be there for him at his moment of death.
She never liked him; but she did love him.
And that was when it hit me – you do not have to like someone to love them. Love is a choice – and it is always going to be one.
What is love after all? Isn’t it wishing and hoping the best for someone – and doing everything in your power to make sure that someone does get the best? Doing it in spite of all the things you dislike about them? Even if it means sacrifice at times?
You could dislike everything about a person but you can still choose to love them; and you can choose to love them with all your heart….
….and I believe that is what we were all called to do.
Goodbye – and thank you for this lesson – my fat friend. You will be missed!
“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful,just as your Father is merciful.”
– Luke 6:35-36