Zebra Steals Sheetal's Heart

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Sheetal got nervous when she didn’t see Zebra, a street dog, for a few days. After learning from her neighbour Iqbal that it had met with an accident, she brought it home to give love and care.

Submitted: August 10, 2017

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Submitted: August 10, 2017

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Sheetal doesn’t remember anybody in her family being too loving and caring about pets except for one of her uncles, who passed away several years ago.  It is not that they dislike animals but they are so occupied with their own lives that they probably don’t have time to think about them.  In fact, a few years ago she was also scared of them, and if would ever see a dog approaching her, she would begin yelling.  Many a time, her mother and brother would tell her not to panic and shout at seeing a dog passing her but she could not control her instinct.

As she grew up and entered the field of journalism, her first assignment was to cover a dog show.  “No”!  was her instant reaction but being a newbie she didn’t have a choice.  She was glum and unhappy as she stepped out of her office to go to cover the assignment.  At the venue, she saw varied canines, groomed impeccably, strutting about with their respective owners.  It aroused her curiosity.  As she approached each owner to talk about their dog, not only her disappointment with her first assignment disappeared but gradually her fear for dogs also began waning.

As she later wrote an impressive piece on the dog show, assignments related to dogs or animals were invariably  given to her.  It resulted in her increased understanding about  animals, and she began to warm up to them.

She would now have no problem even if surrounded by many dogs; rather, she would pat them, play with them and form a strong bond with them.  She even began feeding street dogs and while doing so developed a special liking for a particular bitch that lived in the same lane as her house.  It was white with big uneven black patches.  Its eyes had a calming effect on Sheetal.  She bought a plastic bowl to feed her the dog milk.  In winters, after getting up in the morning and brushing her teeth, she would warm milk in a vessel for the bitch and pour it into the bowl.  Then she would open the door and invariably find the bitch sitting near the doorstep.  Though it would be still dark at 6 a.m. in winter, the dog would never be late.  In the early days, it would lap up the rich creamy milk and would wag its tail in happiness.

A few months later, Zebra, the name given to the bitch by Sheetal as it was white and black, continued coming but it would not drink the milk kept for it or just drink a few sips.  It would just rub itself against Sheetal, lick her and try to show its fondness for her in different ways.  It would enjoy Sheetal’s attention more than the milk.  Zebra would bring another dog with which it spent most time of the day to drink the milk.  This somehow seemed to irritate Sheetal as she brought milk for Zebra and didn’t want anybody else to drink it.  It was her way of showing affection to the pooch.  When this went on for a month, she decided to stop putting out milk.  She even stopped opening her door in the mornings for the canine.  It would come at the usual time but Sheetal would only step out of her house after getting ready for office.  She began ignoring Zebra and if it tried to come near her, she would glare at her, scream at her and shoo it away.  She was upset with the fact that Zebra had stopped drinking milk and let its ‘friend’ have it.  Despite Sheetal’s unfriendly behaviour, Zebra didn’t stop coming.  Silently longing for her attention, it would just watch her come and go from a distance.

A few months passed by like this and now with the arrival of summer, the sun would be out early.  One day, while going to office, Sheetal noticed that Zebra was not in its place.  She found it unusual but shrugged  the thought out of her mind.  While returning late in the evening she again didn’t see it anywhere.  As she was tired, she ignored it.  The next morning she came out of her house early in the morning to see if Zebra was there; it wasn’t.  Sheetal got slightly perturbed but then she thought, “Like human beings, it must have given up on winning her love back.”  When Sheetal didn’t see Zebra for another few days, she began getting slightly worried and negative thoughts would cloud her mind.  She asked a few people about it but did not learn anything.

One day while returning from office, she met Mr Iqbal, who was an animal activist and her friend.  He used to feed about 100 street dogs every day and was familiar with most of them in the colony.  After exchanging pleasantries, she asked him if he had seen Zebra.  Expressing his confusion, he said, “Uh, Zebra?“Sheetal reminded him about the dog she used to feed.  “Oh, you call it Zebra.  I think you don’t know that it was hit by a truck and fractured its right hind limb.  It is now recuperating at my house.”  Sheetal was shocked.  She wanted to say something but words would not come out of her mouth.  Instead, her emotions were expressed through tears.  After regaining composure, she asked multiple questions—“How did it happen?  How is it now?  I hope there is nothing much to worry about?  What did the doctor say?  How much time will it take for its fractured leg to heal?”  Iqbal put his hand gently on her shoulder to calm her frayed nerves.  He told her that Zebra was better now.  “After being hit by a speeding truck, it fell unconscious.  A neighbour, who was a witness to the accident, informed me about it.  I took it to an animal hospital where its limb was bandaged and a few medicines were prescribed.  As it limps, I decided to keep it at my house so that it could get proper care.  Thank God, that driver applied the brakes at the right time otherwise Zebra would have been dead.”  “  No, please don’t say that,” Sheetal hushed him as tears once again rolled down her cheeks.

She asked Iqbal if she could see and take Zebra to her place.  Iqbal, looking at her furrowed brow, said: “It is okay, I don’t have a problem if you can give it food, love, care and medicines on time.”  Sheetal assured him that she would.

Seeing Sheetal at Iqbal’s place, Zebra came limping to her and began licking her.  Sheetal took it in her arms and kissed its face and brought it to her house.  She took a big basket, lined it up with soft cotton material, and placed it in it.  Then she went to the kitchen to warm some milk for it and while doing so she called up her office.  She said:  “Please inform the boss that I would not be able to come to office for two weeks as one of my family members is seriously ill and needs my constant attention.”

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