When Our Dog is Gone
This may seems something strange to share, but it is our normal commitment at this temple.
Nil was a name of one of the temple dogs, his full name was Nil-Mani, Mani means jewel, and Nil is dark, black. This was because he was a black dog. He came together with his sister, her name was Dot com. So it was Nil-mani.com.
Dot com was a cute short legged dog, white with black dots all over her body. the father was a dalmatian and the mother was that kind of breed which looks like a long hot dog. With this strange combination both of them were short like their mother. Dot Com got the dots from the father where as Nil was completely black, may be like the mother.
Anyway, Dot Com died last year, only Nil left. Nil lived longest in our temple, he was 18 years old When he died Oct.26 morning. Towards his last year, he lost his hearing and seeing, at night sometimes he would call out to have friends. Ven.Mother would walk over to his cage, talking to him he still faintly could hear her voice, then he quiet down. Only to call again when she left.
When he died, Ven.bhikkhuni wrapped him in a towel. Ven.Mother pointed to the spot where to bury him. Yes, we bury all the dogs in our own temple ground. Ven.Mother always conducted both the preparation as well as the ceremony.
She herself would mark out the size on the ground and everyone would come around offering their strength to remove the soil. Not all of us know even how to use the hoe, but we learn on site. We made a square hole about one meter long and may be 70 cms. Wide. Luckily Nil was a small dog. The
The first layer was the white lime powder then layers of newspaper then we lifted the covered body of Nil into the space with his head towards the West (direction of the dead). Another sprinkle of lime on his covered body, then layers of newspaper. Then we scooped the soil to cover his body.
We then put flowers, incenses, and candles.
All of us listened to what Ven.Mother had to say about Nil. How he came to stay with us. Oh, we did not know that the first owner was a Police general. Nil was not as popular as his sister, he was quiet and kept to himself. Many years later, when Sanim came, Sanim was for some reason, very aggressive and did not like Nil, often Sanim would attack Nil. One time, his ear lobe was torn, so we had to be very particular particularly in the evening when they actually take an evening shift. Sanim in the daytime will be in the back garden, but at night he would come to the front part of the temple. So it was at this shifting hour that we had to be careful and make sure to keep Nil in his cage before allowing Sanim to enter the area in the front of the temple.
Another time ,one of temple disciples drove her car on Nil’s leg, again another Vet’s visit. There had been expensive medical bills for Nil. Having lost his sight, sometimes he fell in a ditch and Jieb would come to rescue him. Dogs in the same age all died before Nil, so Nil was like last of the Mohican from the same batch.
Then Ven.Mother would lead the chant to send his soul over to the other side ….Gate Gate Para Gate, Para Samgate, Bodhi Svaha.
Good bye Uncle Nil, have a safe journey.
This is how the dogs at our temple are being treated. We have witnessed more than 10 burials of our dogs.
Mc, the dog who actually slept under Ven.Mother’s bed was also treated in the same manner. His burial ground was on the way that he would normally return to Ven. Mother’s kuti (small residence).