It was a rainy day and the little puppy was trying to find a shelter on a busy street. Nobody knew its name because it is a stray. Nobody on the street cared about the little puppy because neither it looked like high-breed puppy nor it had eye-catchy features. The only noticeable thing about puppy was that it was brown(the color of mud). The helpless whining of puppy went ignored as vehicles on street sounded louder. Somehow the puppy managed to find a small shelter— a closed shop. The sunshades of the closed shop acted like an umbrella that helped the puppy to endure the heavy rain. The little puppy decided to stay there for a day. At night, the puppy was shivering and hardly closed its eyes to sleep. The sounds of crickets and owls far away became the lullaby for the puppy.
The next day, the puppy resumed its schedule: wandering for food, exploring the world, running away from bad dogs and bad people. It was a very hot day and the puppy started wandering. It had been afternoon and all it could eat was the smoke from vehicles. It tried its best to impress the people and shopkeepers for food by rolling on the floor, barking with its cute voice but failed miserably. Tired and dehydrated, the puppy decided to move away from town and find a shade. After struggling a lot crossing the road and avoiding other obstacles, it reached a place full of trees and small houses. The puppy fell unconscious under a tree, inching towards death.
Johnny, a poor farmer, was walking towards his farmland after lunch from his home, saw the puppy dying. Though he never cared about animals, he felt sad about the puppy and took it to his home. His wife, Cicily, was surprised to see her husband coming back with a puppy. He fed the puppy with leftover food and water, offered it a small space in the front yard to rest and left for work hoping that the puppy would be alright by evening.
“Yaayyy… a puppy,” exulted Johnny’s beautiful daughter, Arya, who reached home from school in the evening. She was so excited that she rushed into her room, threw her torn, old schoolbag on her bed and ran to the front yard to meet the new puppy. The puppy opened its eyes after a nap and saw Arya. Johnny also reached home and the puppy was happy to see his benevolent savior. Johnny thought of avoiding this puppy as it is fine now.
Johnny said,”Our home is small and the puppy will be a nuisance. We have to bath it, feed it every day. Why taking such responsibilities when we already have other works to do.”
“Please, Dad…pleeeeeaseeeeee,” pleaded Arya.
Johnny loved his daughter so much that he finally agreed.
Arya looked at the puppy and cooed, “You are such a cute puppy! You look like chocolate so I name you ‘Brownie’.”
Puppy wagged its tail as it may have loved its name, its only name.
A few days passed by, Brownie became an indispensable part of Johnny’s family. It became the ‘alarm clock’ of the family by waking up early and signaling the family to wake up by his bark. The school was almost 2kms away from home and Brownie accompanied Arya to and from school every day, like a bodyguard. Johnny felt happy seeing the loyalty of puppy. Cicily was also happy as she felt less lonely because of Brownie’s presence in the daytime. The high breed dogs that Brownie sees on his way to school, mocks him that he is a local breed and about the poor food he eats. Brownie never felt sad about that and was always grateful for what he had— a family.
One day Brownie followed his master on his way to farmland. Johnny started rubber tapping(cutting the bark of rubber tree for sap). There were 100s of rubber trees and Johnny started tapping each of them. Brownie was carefully looking at what his master was doing with wonder. “A tree that gives milk..wow”, he wondered. Johnny was rubber-tapping, from one tree to another and he heard his puppy barking in a different tone. He stopped what he was doing and saw his puppy coming closer to him, resisting him to move further. He looked around carefully and saw a cobra on timber spreading its hood and hissing. Johnny was so shocked to witness this sight but immediately took a stick from the ground and killed the cobra by hitting right on its head. Johnny found a pit near timber with eggs of the cobra. Johnny didn’t think twice and destroyed all of them. Brownie felt sad about the eggs but was happy as his master was safe. He licked on Johnny’s feet with affection and Johnny looked at him thankfully. That day was a feast for Brownie as Johnny bought chicken from shop and Cicily cooked a delicious chicken curry, especially for Brownie. For the first time, Brownie got what a local-breed stray dog could ever dream — fresh and cooked meat.
Years passed by, the little puppy Brownie became a dog with own collar with his name. Arya had completed her school life with good marks and joined a college for Bsc. Nursing. Poor Brownie, all he could do was wag his tail and bark when she bid bye for her journey to College in North India. Brownie missed Arya very much and life felt a little lonely for him. Johnny’s thick black mustache and hair became grey. Cicily suffered from frequent back pain which made her life difficult. Apart from grey hair and back pain problem, the family was financially sound. thanks to the surging rates of rubber products. Johnny made a lot of money from rubber trees and his new home is under construction. He already booked a silver-colored new car. Johnny joined the list of rich people of that area and he started to give loans to poor people, with interest rate far higher than that of banks. Thus he made more money and his greed became insatiable.
Johnny’s new friends who were rich advised Johnny, “New home, new car, and still that stray dog? Buy a high-breed dog that reflects your status.”
Deep inside Johnny’s mind, this made an impact. He discussed it with his wife that night and told her that he will abandon Brownie to a far place. Cicily agreed with his decision.
Next day, Johnny took Brownie inside a gunny bag and traveled far away from home in an auto rickshaw. He had reached far away and threw the gunny bag near an empty street and left. Brownie was barking loud as he could not sense his master’s presence. He bit the gunny bag and after 30 minutes of struggle, Brownie managed to escape from the gunny bag. Shocked and shattered, Brownie could not understand why his master left him in an unknown place. Brownie had reached the same phase of his life — life as a stray dog. With wet eyes and broken heart, Brownie howled loud looking at the moon, like a wolf segregated from the pack.
Finally, the day almost arrived after a month-long excitement— The housewarming day. Johnny was busy moving all things from old home to new home. He hired a few workers and were moving heavy boxes that contained dress and other things. Fortunately, the new house was just a few meters away from old home. The golden designs on ceiling fan and lights, the designs on the walls and doors, shiny white marble on floor etc augmented the majestic look of the new home.
Johnny called his daughter on phone to enquire about her journey from college to attend the housewarming.
“Dad, I am on my way. I have just reached Banglore railway station and will reach home by tomorrow morning. I will be coming with a few classmates for the housewarming. The signal is weak, so see you soon Dad. Bye”, Arya replied. The call ended and Johnny heard a bark outside his old home, a bark that sounds so familiar. He rushed towards his old home and he was stunned to see his old dog Brownie! Cicily was also shocked to see Brownie. Brownie was anguished to see a new dog— a new Labrador. Brownie understood that he had been replaced by the new dog.
“How? H.. How is it possible?!” Cicily exclaimed.
Both Johnny and Cicily saw their dog coming closer towards them wagging its tail. There were deep wounds on Brownie’s body, probably the wounds that occurred on his way to home by hitting on a vehicle or bite from other stray dogs.
“What will we do? It is you who brought this stray to home,” Cicily grumbled.
“I have no idea how to deal with this problem. I don’t want this stray anymore. Look it is weak and looks ugly with deep wounds,” Johnny replied.
“Why don’t you kill this dog?” Cicily grunted.
Johnny thought for a few minutes and understood that his wife was right. He decided to do what was necessary for his family— kill the problem he invited. He went shopping and bought a pack of milk and something else for Brownie. He came to his old home, and poured milk on a plate and called Brownie. Brownie was so happy to hear his master calling him that he forgot his wounds and ran towards the master. Master offered him a plate full of milk. Before drinking milk, Brownie thanked his master for the love and care by licking his feet. Johnny stood there with a grumpy face and waited for Brownie to drink milk. Brownie started to drink milk but his nose caught an unusual smell. It was not the smell of just milk but something else. Brownie looked at master and he saw his eyes waiting for something. Brownie stopped thinking and trusted his master wholeheartedly. Brownie licked the milk voraciously and started to feel something strange. After a few minutes, Brownie began to vomit blood.
“What did you mix with milk?” asked Cicily.
“I mixed furadan!” replied Johnny.
Brownie’s mouth started to vomit more and more blood, like an erupting volcano. Brownie tried to maintain his balance but failed. He fell hard on the ground, his whole body felt like burning. Eyes started to lose its focus and his vision got blurred. Next few minutes were a constant struggle for the body to hold life from getting away. Eyelids began to shut like the curtains of life. The fight to hold life against furadan ended after twenty minutes of unimaginable suffering. Brownie met a tragic end. Johnny stood apathetically and instructed his workers to bury this dog in the backyard of the old home.
The next day, Arya came home with her friends. It was a festive mood and everyone was happy. Johnny and his family were staying in the new home, enjoying a new life. Arya forgot Brownie as she was busy playing with new Labrador in the front yard of the new home.
While everyone was celebrating, Brownie’s soul wandered around the abandoned old home, where his body lies deep beneath the ground, as a victim of loyalty.