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Dubai Diaries: Farewell to a furry friend

kirstin@khaleejtimes.com Filed on July 20, 2021
Photo/Supplied

I bid Malta goodbye not realising it could be the last time I would ever see her.

For my family and friends back home, I have been away for six years — but for my dog Malta, that’s 60 long years. Yet when she saw me last year, it seemed like I had just stepped out to buy groceries. Her ears perked up and her tail wagged like there was no tomorrow, but being the gentle mini schnauzer that she was, she calmly walked up to me and licked my hand as I reached for her fluffy head. I wanted to take her to the beach but all plans were scrapped as Covid cut my month-long vacation to six days.

I bid her goodbye not realising it could be the last time I would ever see her. Malta is dying as I write this column. She could already be chasing rainbows up there by the time this goes to Press. The vet told us she was too old to fight a plethora of health complications.

She recently turned 11 in human years and 69 in dog years, going by the calculations of a new study in the US. A couple of days ago, her stool turned black, which meant she was bleeding inside, and she could no longer move her hind legs.

“We can do a host of other tests and give her all sorts of medicines, but we cannot guarantee she will survive,” the vet said. So, here I am, halfway around the world, longing for one last furry embrace. “Please, let’s do everything we can to make her last moments as comfortable and pain-free as possible,” I told the doctor.

Malta would love the dog parks of Dubai, especially the one in JLT. I once saw a schnauzer, which looked a lot like her, sprint through a tunnel at the park over and over again. Here, there’s even a resort where she could swim to her heart’s content.

Surely, she would make lots of friends as she enjoyed the company of both cats and dogs. Bringing her here crossed my mind; but as I counted the hours I spend at home, I figured she would most likely be on her own for the most part of her Dubai life.

Malta is the kindest dog ever. She would bark only if there was a stranger in our doorstep but once we let the person in, she would switch gears and welcome him with a sniff.

Would you believe she never liked toys and would rarely be excited about treats? She loved quiet moments. Whenever I spend an afternoon reading a book, she would just lie there beside me, glancing at me from time to time.

She never demanded anything, as if just seeing us around was more than enough. Sometimes, it felt like she took care of us more than we took care of her. With her, I learnt what it meant to love without asking for anything in return. Though my heart is pleading for another dog year just so I can see her off, I have to face the truth. Malta has waited long enough.

Kirstin Bernabe