It is almost two years since Lal Mohan died. She died of a snake bite, aged a little over two and a half years. We’re still not quite over the shock. But this post is not to dwell on the sadness; it is to celebrate the life of the most amazing dog ever.
The first time we saw Lal Mohan, she must have been about two and a half months old. My husband had left for work, but came rushing back in a minute to call me out: this cute red pup was foraging near the dustbin with a big grin on its face. That picture is engraved in our hearts.
The same night, and the next night, Big-Chief-who-can-hear-a-fly-cough kept saying he could hear something crying. So we started trying to trace the source of sound. There is a rainwater drain behind our house. There were open concrete pits, three feet deep, on either side of the road (one of which was filled with water), connected by a large pipe running under the road. After a whole day of watching and listening, we realized that the pup had fallen into the pit and was trapped there, possibly injured as well. We jumped into the dry pit and tried to lure her out, but she was more scared of us than of starving to death. She yowled some more that night, and in the morning we were desperate. So we put a plank over the pit with water, which would let her walk out of the underground pipe into the ditch that it led to. We put food along the plank to make it more attractive. And then we waited and waited and waited. At last, on the third day, the pup came out and collapsed in the ditch. We managed to pick her up, wrap her in a towel and take her home. She was limping but not badly hurt. The fall must have hurt her hind legs, so they were always a bit bandy afterwards, though the vet said there was nothing wrong. More than anything, she was terrified, and it took a couple of days for her to get used to us and to Topshe. These are pictures of Lal Mohan soon after she was rescued.In a short time, she became the spice of our lives. She was so full of energy, and had an idea a minute. We would often enter a room to find a dog walking around at eye-level, on the study table or the bookshelves. Jumping onto a table and then eating all its contents was the most natural thing in the world to Lal Mohan. She was also an escape artist. She could wriggle through any gap, crawl under a fence, jump over it, and be off within minutes. Every other day, there would be a ring at the door and when we opened it, there would be Lal Mohan, escorted home by a neighbour, the flower seller, a gardener, or the campus guard! She never went far, it was just that she couldn’t stay in a confined space. Nor could she let anything whole stay whole. Every cushion, pillow, bed, sheet, chair and toy had to be worried to death. Playing tug of war with Lal Mohan was like playing tug of war with a tiger. She wasn’t even full grown when she wrenched my wrist so badly in a game I had to go round in a sling for months. She harassed Topshe, by now a sedate four year old, and made her run like a puppy. Sometimes, though, Lal Mohan would suddenly lose her temper and attack Topshe ferociously, and that used to scare us to death. It got worse when she grew bigger than Topshe, and we had to spent quite a bit of thought and energy – and worry – keeping Topshe safe. I guess that was the last evidence of the trauma she had been through. Though apparently this is not uncommon when you have two females. Or it could be that she bought Topshe’s story of being a cat.She played like a maniac and slept like a baby. She was the most loving dog I’ve ever had; as well as the most ferocious. She was passionate and elemental. She could be a total pest, and yet was so eager to please. Sometimes, she would just melt with love, especially when she woke up in the morning and discovered your existence. It was something to be loved like that. She was the most adventurous dog you could ever find. Sometimes she would disappear for hours at the farm and, just when we were frantic with worry, come trotting back, tired out with god knows what adventures. She would jump into the centre of any water body she saw, never looking before she leapt. It made you laugh just to look at her. She terrorized Topshe, but she dragged her into all kinds of mischief and made her life exciting. I swear Topshe used to laugh at her antics. She was ungainly and yet utterly beautiful. She was the most extraordinary dog. We were so lucky to have her, even if it was just for two years and a bit. Dear Lal Mohan, we will love you forever!