Three days ago, I was heading to the Goethe Institute in Kampala. She was playing by the roadside, near a home. My heart went out to her immediately, and I knelt down and began to gently play with her. The lady in the house nearby told me that she had rescued this little cute puppy from the road, where she had been abandoned to die.
The little puppy, a few weeks old, did not seem to know that she was no longer needed. She was young and full of energy, a little lovely thing, wagging the tail and licking my fingers and playfully biting me, as if we have been best friends from another lifetime or siblings from another mother. The connection was instant.
When I proceeded towards Goethe Institute, she wanted to follow me, but I had to scare her to go back, and my heart sank. I think she was abandoned because she is a SHE, the Yin.
The whole day, thinking of her melted my heart and took my joy away. The next day, I passed through the same route to see what had happened. She was sleeping sadly in a corner, curled and lonely, and she seemed to have understood that she had been abandoned now. I picked her up, and she did not respond. She was hungry and sad, dying. People around looked at me as if I was a lunatic, with amused, somewhat scorning smiles. I am used to that.
I decided to bring her with me. I bought some milk along the road and made her drink. Her sagged energy returned, but her joy and playfulness was not at the agenda. I spoke to her kindly and gave her some Reiki. Soon, she began to wag her tail and her eyes lit up. She had many ticks and scratched herself incessantly. Now I had to convince the friend I stay with to stay with this little thing for a few days.
The Karaniya Mettā Sutta urges us to spread loving-kindness and compassion to all living beings as a mother would protect her unique, dyingson. I have vowed to try my best to live according to the Tathagata’s instructions, not just to chant them.
So, I bought shampoo and food for puppies and washed her and fed her. I am planning to see a vet. I called her LA VIE, Life. Another name for Life in Buddhism is Suffering, the First Noble Truth. It comes packed with packages of inevitable karmic imprints: rejection, abandon, betrayal, humiliation and injustice. But it is beautiful nonetheless, like this small little puppy.
Life is a gift to be cherished. All children deserve to be loved and protected, just like all puppies. This is an ideal of course. LA VIE is fragile and has a temporary home now. But for how long? I do not know. When I go away in two weeks, I will have to leave her behind. Maybe she will survive or she will be thrown out again to die. LA VIE made me think about desperate, unloved, abandoned children all over the world. We all may have our little concerns and feel as if we the most unlucky persons in the world, but all we have to do is to be a little bit less self-centered and think about those kids in South Sudan who have no shelter, no food, no tomorrow.
In a fortnight, I will go away. I will abandon her. I have no other choice. Maybe the people who abandoned her in the first place had no other choice as well. But yes, c’est la vie, we have to change what needs to be changed and can be changed, and let what cannot be changed alone and be at peace.
May all puppies and little children be safe
May all those who abandon little kids be safe as well
May all sentient beings be well, happy and peaceful.