It was in March 2000 that this fellow crawled from under the gate into our house and our hearts. He was about 4 weeks old then and we loved his attitude to life, universe and everything which was expressed with a happy wag of his tail! We used to be in splits watching him handle our other dog, Munni, who was a big bully. Whenever she tried to pick on him, he would simply crawl out under the gate which would make her totally neurotic. She could not catch him as she was too big to follow him under the gate and out!! And whenever Munni had been upto some mischief, which was always, she would run and all we had to tell saba was to "catch Munni" which he would promptly do and hold her down- only he would let her off just as we were about to get her- the idiot!
He was a hit with every teenager ( whom he adored) and every adult who came to our house. Vaish never fails to enquire after saba in every mail from Boston even though she has met him just twice. In his opinion the major threats to society were people shorter than 3 ft ( yes, the children) and anyone who was dressed in rags or carried weapons of mass destruction ( such as crowbars and other digging implements).

He loved eating (a curd rice eating dog which led to anita calling him "Sabapathy Iyer". It was Anita who shot the picture above and to him she was the" pastry aunty" who brought expensive pastries from Sweet Chariot for him mainly and incidentally for us too. No wonder he jumped up to her full height every time he saw her.)
His other passion was drives in cars. He never believed in anti-dog policies about dogs staying back and guarding the house when the humans went out - he was the first to jump into the car. He believed it was his right. Here he is with "his car", wanting to go out barely a few hours before he fell terribly sick and never travelled in the new car which replaced this old one.

This afternoon Saba breathed his last after 36 hours of suffering - his body was continously shaking as a result of a nervous problem which he developed as a side- effect of his medication for epilepsy which we had started for him since March 2004. His epileptic attacks were one of the reasons I had stopped accepting assignments for work so that I could be around and ensure that he doesn't go unattended when he gets these sudden attacks. It has been a tough 33 months with severe attacks but we always hoped he would get better sooner or later which was not to be.
He is gone.
It is going to be scary being alone in this house, without his sensitive ears that monitor every little sound and warn me with a bark. This was a dog who was deluded that he was a detective - it was amusing to watch him scrutinise the plants and leaves every morning and the car tyres everytime they came from outside. Everyone entering the house was throughly sniffed for tell-tale smells of where you had been and what you had done. I dont think he was scared of anything - except diwali crackers which,in his opinion, were a sign of the world coming to an end. He had sound proof spot which he had identified in the house which we called his "bomb Shelter".

It is going to be tough not having his gaze follow me wherever I go - or perhaps he will, unseen, from his new resting place in our garden.
Thanks for giving us so much of your love Saba, I hope we gave you back at least a small proportion of it in return. Not that you would have minded if we fell short for it was you who taught us what "unconditional" love is.
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34 Responses
  1. Usha, I'm so sorry...

  2. i will miss you, chubbawubba. but we'll catch up one day for sure, comrade. until then, be well!

  3. Balaji Says:


    I like dogs, but I am wary of them since I don't know how to act when i am nearby a getting scared is my natural response.

    I definitely want to have a dog as my friend/pet. Don't know how I am going to manage this though

  4. Mahadevan Says:

    Normally not a great lover of dogs, though I minutely watch their movements and try to write about them with a little humour.

    But your piece on "Sabapathy Iyer" is certainly one of the finest.

    "Everyone entering the house was throughly sniffed for tell-tale smells of where you had been and what you had done" - doesn't it remind us of our grannies who would ask questions about where we had been?

    I really do not know whether to marvel at Saba's sagas or at your unkanny ability to put it across in such a pleasant way.

    Plese convey to Anita my appreciation of her ingenious coinage.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    pets are such special creatures and i don't think one can understand it unless one has them. having had a dog while growing up and a cat now, i can understand the vacuum they create when they're gone. even without speaking, they are sometimes better companions than human beings. maybe that's why they're better. but only a pet owner will understand that.

    'sabapathy iyer' was special. his eyes lighting up when he thought i had brought him his dose of pastries will always remain in my memory. it's a small consolation to know that he's in doggie heaven, the place of unlimited pastries and food.

    he will be sorely missed.

  6. i amsorry for your loss the sorrow for which will be too deep i suppose

  7. Prashanth M Says:

    oh! thats sad... Wanted to meet him when Anita told about Saba... sigh!!

  8. Artnavy Says:

    i love animals when they are young but as they grow up - well i am a little wary.

    Very evocative this post of yours

  9. passerby55 Says:

    USha, Extremely sorry to hear ...

  10. Usha Says:

    Priya, anu, balaji,mahadevan, anita, ITW,Prashanth, art,Passerby:
    Thanks for being there.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Terribly sorry to hear that, Usha.

    Though written in the context of romantic love, this Neruda poem, for me, epitomizes the feeling of living in a house where the loved ones are no more:

    Matilde, where are you? Down there I noticed,
    under my necktie and just above the heart,
    a certain pang of grief between the ribs,
    you were gone that quickly.
    I needed the light of your energy,
    I looked around, devouring hope.
    I watched the void without you that is like a house,
    nothing left but tragic windows.

    Out of sheer taciturnity the ceiling listens
    to the fall of the ancient leafless rain,
    to feathers, to whatever the night imprisoned:

    so I wait for you like a lonely house
    till you will see me again and live in me.
    Till then my windows ache.


  12. Usha Says:

    That was lovely. Brought tears to my eyes - who else but our pablo can give words to every deep emotion that we can only feel.

  13. really sorry to hear about your loss...its really a very touching and evocative post about your companion

  14. Alapana Says:

    I wouldn be wrong if i would say that i will miss my two dogs the most after mom if i leave this city,they are such sweethearts and so selfless.
    I am sorry Ushaji,i read this post the moment you posted but couldn come back and look at the pictures once more and not feel bad that he is no more. And your post made me travel 40km and give a hug to my two little fur brats and tell them i miss them in my life. I AM SO SORRY,Hope he is doing fine there where he wont have any pain.

  15. A.R.Malik Says:

    ((((((((((((((((((( ))))))))))))))))

    So so sorry.

  16. Unknown Says:

    Usha, thanks for sharing the life of sabapathy made him live on our heart for ever via this post...sorry for the great loss, and thanks for making us his friends despite his absence there, he will continue to be onlie with this memorial.

  17. Visithra Says:

    I'm not sure what to say but i remember you fondly writing about how u used to share your thoughts with him - it always seemed like he understood

    god bless his soul - n take care usha

  18. Divs Says:

    so sorry to hear that Usha.. somehow i had seen Saba (first pic) in a post on Anita's blog a year back.. this post brought back those fond memories.. may his soul rest in peace..

  19. Usha Says:

    STS:Thanks. He was an adorable companion.
    Aalap:That is so sweet. Thank you.

    Vaish: Thanks and hugs back to you. Thanks a million for the flowers. You do know how to reach out and be there at all times. God bless you.

    Abhilash:Thanks buddy.

    Rajesh:Thank you.I am sure Saba would have loved knowing you.

    Visi: yes, the canine companion. Thank you.

    Divs:Thank you young friend. yes, he would have fallen for your smile.

  20. Oh my God! I am so sorry for this loss, Usha.. only a dog-lover knows what it is to lose someone so important.. Hope he rests in peace!
    And the vaccuum that he created will stay forever..
    (the problem u described looks something similar to the one our baby also had before she expired!)a

  21. Usha,
    Surprised that my old comment does not show up. Here is another attempt. I just wanted to say even though I personally cannot comprehend the depth of your loss..I understand that there can be an unexplained emptiness. I see hubby miss his dogs even now although it has been a few years since.

  22. GuNs Says:


    I could never understand people's love for their pets until a friend's dog died when we were in the 5th standard, I think. Poor guy was crying all day and he didnt come out to play cricket with us.


  23. Anonymous Says:

    Oh Usha - I'm so sorry to read this. Dogs can be such lovely creatures. It's never easy loosing them.

    I have 10 myself - and it would be hard even losing one.

    In the first picture - he looks so majestic, and I can tell that he was a lovely fellow in his temperament. I just wanted to say, I understand.

  24. Aqua Says:

    so sorry to hear about this. anita told me last nite.

    take care!

  25. Hip Grandma Says:

    I'm so sorry.I could relate to all that you said about him.My father was a dog lover and we always had one as long as he was alive.they are adorable creatures.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    Hi Tho a irrelevant comment,i jus hope tat u answer to it.
    I am a new resident of Blore .Let me know where the french classes are being conducted (I went thru the FEB archive of urs).

  27. Bijesh Says:

    I can only imagine how it feels. i can see that saba meant the world to you. god bless his soul.

  28. Usha Says:

    SG,Orchid,Guns,Shankar,Hipgran, Aqua, Biju:
    Thanks for the support. I have accepted the loss.He will be missed forever. All your kind words helped to overcome the feeling of loneliness.
    Shankar: 10 of them? I am jealous! please post their pictures on your blog sometime!

    Anon: The french classes are conducted in the alliance francaise at Vasantnagar and also in Suchitra film society premises in Banashankari and and few other places like Koramangala and Indiranagar for beginners. All details can be obtained from the alliance francaise.Phone number: 080- 41231340/ 44/ 45

  29. Deeps Says:

    So sorry about Saba :(. First I thought the post is just about him and only realized in the last paragraph that its about his death. Very touching post..

    Is Munni still with you? If so, how is she reacting to Saba not being there?

  30. Usha Says:

    Deeps: Thank you. No, Munni had developed a spinal problem and had to be left in the care of CUPA as she needed constant medical attention.
    Now there are no dogs in the house.

  31. Anonymous Says:

    Well now there's only 9 - one of the pups died yesterday - she was ill. Poor girl. When I found her so, I remembered this post of yours.

    I did intend to post all of their individual (group photos with ten dogs is NOT happening anytime soon) pictures on my blog with a little write-up on them :) ...I shall do it soon. I hope you're holding up well.

  32. I am SO very sorry. Having lost one of my own, know how much the loss means...

  33. Usha Says:

    JLT: And each is unique and you never feel they can be replaced!