In Pune India, about 160 kilometers southeast of the state capital, Mumbai, Suman, a widowed wife and a mother of three children, supports herself and her family by working as house help and also works in a bricklin (a place that bakes bricks).
About 25 years back her brother got her a little brown puppy to keep away thieves. The entry of the little puppy brought so much joy into their lives. They named him ”Jackey”.
Jackey Had Great Responsibility
Jackey was a puppy with a lot of responsibility. Every morning he used to follow Suman’s children to school; escort them to the gate and also escort them back from school. The children say he used to come and wait near the school gate at 6pm and time to go back home. They wonder how he knew the correct time; Jackey never came by the school at odd hours.
This was his regular duty inspite of being troubled by the stray dogs in that locality. Jackey also knew the time Suman left from the bricklin, he call on her too. Everybody there including Suman’s master used to say ”Your joker has come to call on you.” After his dinner he used to go and wait for the arrival of Suman’s brother.
Home Cooking Feeds The Soul
He used to eat one big brown home-cooked bread with a bowl of milk and on days when Suman could not afford milk she used to give him water with sugar; he never complained. She says he ate only once during the day and if you try to feed him more, he would not eat.
Next he comes by around 6.30 for his fill and he needs to eat hot food always. As soon as he listens to the ice cream man ringing the bells he’ll pull Suman towards the van to eat ice-cream his favourite treat. Everytime he got hungry he use to open his mouth indicating that he was hungry.
Laughter: The Best Medicine
At the end of the day Suman and her kids used to sit down to watch movies; Jackey was right there watching movies with them sitting on Suman ‘s lap. When they laugh he laughs with them and doesn’t miss a single scene. He also had an adventurous streak in him; once on his usual rounds to the playground he tried jumping into the bonfire of dried twig and branches. While his fur burnt a little he ran back home to Suman’s youngest son who nursed him well and took care of him.
He also used to trouble Suman’s neighbors by defecating near their houses and everytime they come to argue with Suman, she would ask pardon and say he’s an animal how does he know what is supposed to be done.
Far, Far Away
One day out of anger Suman’s brother left him far off and returned home without Jackey. When Suman’s son came back home he realized what had happened. He went off in search of Jackey with his four friends. they reached the spot and asked people close by if they had seen a dog. They said he was there for a longtime but as he couldn’t bear the heat he started walking ahead and disappeared. As soon as Suman’s son blew a whistle Jackey ran towards his little master. On his way back home he ate two ice creams. As soon as he reached home he sniffed everything there and then had a good dinner and went off to sleep.
Jackey grew up with them and one fine day it was time for Suman’s eldest daughter to get married. Suman bought wheat and paid money to one of her kind neighbours who took the responsibilty to feed Jackey in their absence. The place for the wedding was far off. However, Jackey never used to go for food to the neighbour and became thin and weary. He howled and cried for his family in front of the house.
After they were back from the wedding Jackey used to search for Suman’s daughter who went off to her new home.
Suman’s neighbour was working as a watchman in another area, once he was talking to Jackey and took him along. Suman says she doesnt know what he fed him or what happened to him but he never returned back. Maybe he was caught by the dog catcher or he is dead..no one knows. Every single time she talks about him she has to say is he was a very dear pet, a part of the family.