My Own Hachiko

My dog Dampi was one of the most loyal companions I have ever had. In a way, we had something in common because he was usually kind of an ass to common strangers but very loving and very loyal to me and the persons he knew.

After spending many years living in the city to study and work, I moved back to my home for a different start. Dampi was my parents’ pet. When I came back, he was tied on a leash to the mango tree in front of our house (we live beside the highway so dog deaths from vehicular accidents are common) and judging by the way he constantly barked, wanting to get away from it, I knew that he was not raised that way. He probably grew up able to roam freely and this leash was a change that he really disliked.

I became friends with him and I would remove his leash so he could run freely around the house. I could see how he really liked to be free. He would run and jump at me for joy. Needless to say, I became his buddy in the house, always staying beside my desk when I’m working and following me wherever I go in the house. He would be waiting for me in the morning when I get up and he always wanted his head to be stroked before I go to bed. I am not a morning person and I usually don’t like talking with anyone in the morning but with him it wasn’t an issue. Whenever I go out, he would go ahead of my bike to the road and bark as if announcing to strangers to clear out of the way, then he would stay there and wait for me to get back. He would jump and run around when I get back as if I had been gone for a week even if it was only for 5 minutes. When I do leave for a few days to a few weeks when I travel, my mom would call me to say that Dampi had been waiting by the road and would barely eat even if they gave him his favorite grilled chicken.

dampi

During New Year’s Eve when firecrackers are banging loudly, he would be very anxious and shaking with fear. I would spend most of the evening beside him, reassuring him and trying to calm him down. That was okay though since I’m not really a big fan of firecrackers and I could only imagine how scared he felt not understanding why humans would cause all this loud noises.

A couple of weeks ago, he had sniffles and an occasional cough probably because the weather was erratic and he had come home once or twice before that soaking wet from the rain perhaps coming from one of his escapades. It was just another one of those common ailments and I thought he would be well in no time. Unfortunately, I found him one morning with labored breathing and audible wheezing. His condition worsened to become pneumonia. There are no vets in our town so I really didn’t know how to help him other than give him honey and water because he couldn’t eat. When I did find someone (he’s a vet but doesn’t have a clinic and just works from his home), I was relieved that he was able to receive antibiotic. I also started nebulization for his difficulty of breathing. After a week, he showed signs of improvement albeit very gradual. In the morning of March 9th, he breathed his last. He was on his way to slow recovery but exhaustion took its toll on his body.

I dug his grave in our backyard and carried and buried him there with a heavy heart. He was a truly loyal and friendly creature that I have ever had the opportunity of meeting and being friends with. I still watch the last video I took of him and I miss him a lot every single time. I will probably never have another dog who would love me as much as he did.

dampi

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