On the evening of 7th November 2013, Coyote, the stray that became our guard dog for the whole month of Ramadan (refer http://warongpakyeh.blogspot.com/2013/08/oh-muslims-be-kind-to-poor-including.html), appeared after it disappeared on the morning of Hari Raya. It was close to the Maghrib prayers and I had already taken a bath and was about to park our car into the car porch when I realised there was a dog lying down next to the Kurma tree, and from this tired-old-man-eyes, I recognised Coyote.
I called out to my wife and son. I know my son would be happy as he had missed the dog. He would speak often about Coyote and how "clever" Coyote was, and only Mama knew what was in his heart. The boy was missing the dog. They came out of the house, calling his name over and over again, but Coyote did not make any response, not even a whimper. Mother and son approached Coyote slowly so as not to startle him. Coyote just laid there. Then my wife stood very close to Coyote and she signaled to me to bring some food and water. She said the dog was ill and weak. There were signs of starvation, some signs of bruises on the back of its body and neck. My wife said it could be due to burns.... hot water being splashed... the common "punishment" humans meted out to dogs and cats.
Then Coyote looked up and my son said "mama, look at its eyes!". The right eye was badly injured, and there was infection. It seemed Coyote was trying to focus, but it was much too weak. It was obvious Coyote did not have a good life after it left our home. My son described the look that Coyote gave him as "eyes that were like dark pools of night, not seeing, showing nothing, no recognition of any kind, only hurt, hurt, hurt". The boy cried and said "Dear Allah, who did this? why?" My wife kept calling its name and then it moved slowly and in what seemed ages, it stood up and came closer. I put the food and water bowls down and then Coyote ate. It could have been the first meal in a long time!
"We have missed you, Coyote.... where have you been?" My wife said. Coyote sat down and looked in our direction. I did not know if he could recognize us, let alone see any of us. It was obvious, its eyesight was gone. Coyote need medical help. This is a small town, everything shuts down after the day turns into night. The veterinarian office had closed. The only thing to do was to make Coyote comfortable, and wait for tomorrow. I could tell it was going to be a very long night for everyone.
That night, Maghrib and 'Isya prayers were one of the saddest prayers we have done in our lives. The boy was restless, so were we. Then there was a drizzle. Rain.... but Coyote was not out in the open, there was a roof overhead. Throughout the night, I could feel my wife getting in and out of bed, lights being turned on and off. I knew the boy was up and my wife was trying to coax him to sleep. I tried not to let all this affect me. I thought about death, my parents, my in-laws, relatives and friends, my numerous pets and about my own. So much emotions! I could not help the tears.
Finally, the call for Subuh prayers, I jumped out of bed, bathed and prayed. This time I did not wait for anybody. I rushed out of the house and quickly got to the spot where we left Coyote for the night. It was still dark, I could not find Coyote, I called out its name several times. By then, everyone was looking for Coyote, all corners of the compound, all shook their heads. None... nothing at all. Coyote was gone.... where??? we all asked the same question. The food bowl was empty. I kept going over the area several times. I looked everywhere. Coyote was gone. How could he? We left him last night, weak and tired and almost dying.....
Coyote..... wherever you are...... Thank you for coming back even if its for a while. Boy and Mama miss you very much, and kakak* too, and most of all daddy (who is trying to be "macho" about it all).
That precious few minutes we spent together meant a great deal to us. Again you have brought out in all of us, compassion and love and kindness.
Dear Allah..... thank you for "borrowing" Coyote to us during the Ramadhan, and then "returning" Coyote for the Muhharam. Only YOU know what is good, and onto YOU, dear Allah, we put our trust in. Ameeeen.
Coyote.....Wherever you are..... We hope you are doing well..... Come back again.... Good boy Coyote!!!!
When kakak saw the bruises on Coyote's body, she broke down and cried. Mama asked her to return to the house. Kakak is a sweet and gentle person. She will not be able to take all of this.
Somehow through it all, one thing remains steadfast in this household, we are family, we laugh and cry together, we share what little we have, and this experience has taught us many things, life and death included. Here today and gone tomorrow.
With all these ..... Mama said to me last night "dear, you remember the story of Cristiano Bergerac?"
Me: "yes... a little bit"
Mama: "you will remember about "loving someone once and losing them twice!"
Me: "yes, yes"
Mama: "that line is for Coyote."
++++++ good night everyone ++++++