“Farewell, dear friend”

January 29, 2009 at 3:39 pm Leave a comment

No doubt pet is one of man’s best friend.

source: http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2009/1/29/lifeliving/3081858&sec=lifeliving

WHEEL POWER
By ANTHONY THANASAYAN

MY best buddy died on the 13th of this month. He was in my arms when I said goodbye. Today is his birthday. Had he lived, he would have celebrated his 13th birthday.

Vai came into my life at a time when I was at the lowest. Even though I was a disabled activist, I found it hard to fight off bouts of depression when I was home.

All that changed when Vai came along. At eight weeks old, he was the very challenge I needed to overcome my depression.

My wheelchair was no longer an excuse. I had to feed him, bathe him and clean up after him. During those times, it was just Vai and I. We learnt to trust each other.

I trained him to be a service dog. Vai learnt to pick up all sorts of things for me: my mobile phone, car keys. He even learnt to open the door.

He also taught me to laugh and have fun. He would snatch my watch away and insisted I chase after it.

At other times, the cheeky fellow would bring me a dead lizard or a live cockroach as a “gift.”

His antics helped me to shift my focus away from my disability and problems, and onto him. As far as he was concerned, it’s people in wheelchairs who are normal.

Vai was an excellent bodyguard. Once he even saved me from a bunch of road bullies. Some boys walked threateningly to my car – until Vai stood up in the backseat to show himself.

He was chief actor in my service dog movie sponsored by the Rotarians. The video made an impression on local councillors who assumed that Rottweilers were killers. After watching it, they decided to scrap the ban on Rottweilers.

If Vai could talk, this would be his message: “There are no bad Rottweilers, only untrained owners!”

Vai, together with his partner (an Alsatian I got a month later), inspired me to set up a service canine training programme called Bivai Special Dogs in 2001.

Vai was instrumental in the setting up of Petpositive, an animal-assisted therapy (AAT) society of which I serve as president. We hope to set up an AAT centre in the country to carry out Vai’s legacy. Not just with dogs but all types of pets to comfort disabled and elderly people.

Vai leaves behind wonderful memories. I can’t imagine living without the marvellous years he so generously gave me.

I sobbed as he slipped away in the late evening. All I could say was “thank you Vai for making my years with you the happiest that I have ever known.”

Vai was euthanised at Segar Veterinary Hospital in Kuala Lumpur. He was diagnosed with cancer.

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