Dante’s Inferno

 A  dark, well built, hot, Italian guy walked into my life yesterday.Not only is he uber handsome but the guy is intelligent and brainy too. In fact, he is  a literary genius and the ‘ il Sommo Poeta’. He is called Dante :).  Here is this absolutely gorgeous guy’s pic :

Dante   dante 1   dante 2

 Well guys and the world, I fall in love yet again 🙂 With a ‘divinely comic’ Boxer dog, around 10 months old and the fourth child of an Italian couple here in India.

 Let me tell you mine  and Dante’s story.

My family has always had a soft corner for the Boxer breed. They are delightful beings , full of attitude, tremendous energy,  huge clowns, fiercely loyal and passionate slobber-ers! Between October- December 2013, I lost a bro-sis Boxer duo,called Joshua & Danielle. They had lived upto the ripe old age of 14, ruling my family with their benevolent despotism. In January this year, I said goodbye to my beloved Boxer girl, Jill. She was a rescued and adopted from ‘Friendicoes’ ( animal shelter & NGO). The house and my heart  felt strangely empty without the exuberance and boisterous buffoonery of a Boxer dog. People who own/have owned a Boxer will know what I am talking about here.

So I told my friend, who is associated with Friendicoes, to let me know if a Boxer comes up for adoption. ‘Why don’t I get you one of them show pups?”, asked another  annoyingly rich,friend of mine, adding ‘Will an adult dog be able to bond with you ?”. I felt a trifle irritated and snapped ‘Kabir, we are great friends right? Did you know me when I was in my diapers ?”. He hurriedly withdrew at the manic gleam in my eyes! I tend to lose patience  with people who give me this absolutely stupid, in-ward looking logic that one can bond  ONLY with a baby, either human or animal. I have very , very strong views on adoption and consider it to be true religion, the hallmark of compassion and the barometer of gauging what/how ‘being human’ we are.  Love doesn’t need to smell of your womb, you know!

Well, my animal rescuer friend told me that an Italian couple who were leaving India wanted to give up their dog and would I be interested ?

At this point, I am pretty sure, many of you would be having a negative and angry feeling about this Italian couple, right ? Thoughts like ‘ How can they do that ?’, ‘ A pet is a commitment for life’ etc .

To be frank, the same thought crossed my mind too, when I rang the bell  of the couple’s house. I had gone to see Dante and they wanted to know who they were giving Dante to. I was un-prepared for what happened next. I saw a very courteous, soft-spoken ,middle-aged man who loved this dog like his own child.The great love between both was palpable, beautiful and tender.

He got me a glass of water and settled down to telling me about Dante. As he spoke, his eyes became moist. He told me that he and his family absolutely did not want to leave Dante behind. They were ready to pay all the charges, however exorbitant But, the airlines were not ready to take the responsibility of transferring the dog because of the  high risk involved. Boxers, and some other breeds like pugs, bull dogs  etc  that are  short -nosed ( brachycephalic) are very  vulnerable to changes in air quality and temperature in the cargo hold of a plane. Although pets are transported in pressurized cargo holds and get much the same air that the passengers in the cabin do, the air circulation  is not  ideal for them.( since the dog is in a crate that  affects ventilation too). In addition, nobody is there in the  hold area that can monitor the dog   and provide help if needed ! There are  a horribly huge number of pet causalities due to this. Although, the couple’s friend was the cargo-head of a major airline and  ready to help, he warned them about possible consequences. ‘How can I take him along, knowing that I will put him to risk of death?, he asked me. I nodded my head in agreement, feeling the man’s anguish and helplessness.

And I told him that he has nothing to worry about.Dante would be my child too. This is destiny and perhaps my love for pizza and pasta that is working :).   I met his very lovely wife and children too. The relief and smiles on their face made me think that Dante was so lucky to have had their love.

Well guys, I have always learned something valuable  from each and every animal that has touched my life. Dante has taught me not to be judgmental… to never judge others and jump to hasty conclusions because one simply may not know what someone is experiencing in their life. I had  for a brief while, wrongly judged this beautiful Italian couple. I found out they were genuine and caring people….they wanted only the best for Dante…..they were courageous even while they hurt. Dante also gave me something else 🙂 Yeah, new friends in Giovanni & Francesca. We shall all remain in touch and anytime they are in India, they will meet Dante 🙂

As for me, I have jumped into ‘Dante’s Inferno” joyously.  I have a happy, happy grin on my face. Dante’s snores last night sounded like music to me. My face and skin glow with all the excited slobbering and sloppy kisses he bestows on me. My other dogs have welcomed this new kid in town with glee…the more , the merrier.My excitable, over-angsty Bengali cook is worried whether he needs to learn Italian now ? I have told him to shut up and make pizza for dinner.

 Its the 750th anniversary of Dante Aligheri’s birth, in 2015. And I am celebrating it in my own way…loving a dog called Dante 🙂

Ta, guys…this is what I am humming: