I still remember the day so vividly. It was nearly 15 years ago. You came to me in a cane basket, carefully wrapped with a red and white polka dot cloth. There were balloons on one side, and you, sitting there looking at me. You came with an instruction manual and I remember you liked curd rice.
I have never felt any emotion purer than my need to protect you. I was barely 10 but I felt like I had to shield you from the world. I remember standing on the balcony of my fathers home and crying by myself because you wouldn't eat the curd rice that mom said you so loved. I remember begging you to eat. I remember feeling so relieved when you did.
Your first few days with us were very heartbreaking. Having to leave you home alone for the first time, watching you cry like a baby and sense your calm when I came near you. Within a few days, you had given me memories for a lifetime. Your peeing on the bed and Angad and my turning the Dunlop around so our father wouldn't find out. How could you have known the impact your tiny presence was going to have on our life.
My little fighter, I would like to believe that you fought on, despite all the times that life almost took you out, only for me. As a puppy, you almost died a few times, but each time you would surprise us by springing back to life. Your body may have been tiny, but your spirit was so large. You took on every dog on the street, and even turned timid Xavier into a fighter. You never gave up.
So today when I saw you give up, I almost hoped that this was one more of your cruel jokes. That you would soon get up, bark like crazy, jump off the doctors table, because jumping was always your thing, and bow in front of me, begging me to play with you. I saw you like you were for many years, fierce and loyal, and oh so loving.
There is no way to fill the hole that you have left in my heart.
There is no one else that could be my silent companion, never judging, only sitting, watching, egging me to get up, kick the dust and play instead.
There is no one else who knew my secrets the way you did, who almost licked my tears, who almost felt my pain while silently curling up in my lap, a thousand times over.
I don't know what's next for you, but you make me hope in a life after. That someday, I will be able to run behind you as you run free, that someday my heart will skip one more beat as I watch you jump off the roof and land squarely on your paws. That someday, I will be able to feel your fast heartbeat with my palm. That someday you will look at me, stop in in your tracks and madly wag your tail, as I call out Muffin.