As I rang the bell, I looked for Spark, who usually pokes his nose through the thin railings of the iron gate. He's always the first one to notice the presence of any stranger outside the gate. I wondered why he had not turned up, even after Roshan (Our Caretaker at Mekhi's Home) turned the gate latch. That was a bit strange! Spark is the most diligent dog we could ever have. He's pretty fast! I assume he could defeat a greyhound if set up for a race. I had always wondered if he would ever slow down. Spark has not learned to just walk. Jumping and sprinting is what Spark's life is all about. Now, why would I tell you a lot about a dog? Well... He's not just any other dog. He's the watchdog at Mekhi's Home. So that counts as an eligible member of JanPragati staff! He takes no pay but is provided with just food and meagre accommodation. He stays all the time outdoors, be it scathing heat or shivering cold!
Spark was brought home as a timid puppy who hardly bothered any intruder entering his zone. To be frank, I still see him as a shy dog; he barely would look into your eyes. I remember him as the only puppy in the litter who showed no remonstrance to the invading hands of a stranger. I then wondered whether he would make a good watchdog. I love native dogs. They are so much like the Australian dingoes. They are easy maintenance and terribly loyal to you. Well, Spark broke all expectations.
He's the most faithful among all of us at JanPragati! Of course, there was a time when he ran away from home and was found lost at a paddy field sheathed in a coat of dirt. Yet, when he saw us, there was joy abounded, jumped into the van (Goodness! Roshan had a tough time cleaning the mess!).
Ah! Now that I remember his joy let me come back to my original story. As I drove into the Premises, I saw him greedily gulping his food! No wonder, I reasoned, he did not hear anyone at the gate. But I called Him out: 'Hi Sparky'. With a bang, he discarded his food and sped to greet me. What dog would leave his meal half hardly eaten? I patted him lovingly and sat on the ground with him for some time. I asked him how he was doing and inquired about the property's safety. I answered his sheer delight, which meant 'All is well". I saw that he had shed some flesh. Roshan told me he's as active as ever and devours his food twice daily. But I couldn't bear the leanness! I could feel the pelvic girdle and the vertebrae! He looked worn down! I kindly chided Roshan: "Roshan, if Spark does not do his job, none of the girls can safely live here. Please don't hesitate to buy him some nutritious dog food from the market. He doesn't have to eat just the leftovers. He needs to look healthy the next time I visit" I spoke like a genuinely concerned HR manager (I should rather say Canine Resource manager!).
While patting the white beauty, whose fur is occasioned with streaks of the well-designed crimson pelt, I thought: Shouldn't I be thankful to God for this beautiful creature? Spark doesn't allow anyone to touch him. To be candid, I have noticed he holds some grudges, particularly towards men! He's a dog who is so comfortable with girls! He will growl and, in fact, even bite any man coming close with the intent to pat him. But he allows me! Yes, I am thankful to God for this beautiful dog.
This year, as part of our goals for 2023, every servitor at JP has to conduct one mindful activity every week. I decided to write down a list of all things I am grateful. I jotted down ten blessings I had never thanked God for. Guess who premiered on my list?
Written by Nithin E. Sam