I have two female dogs, Foxy, 6 or 7, and Bhalli, three this month. They live in our India home and I do not take them with me to the US when I leave to be there for around five months. This is difficult for  them and for me, though I try to make it as easy for them as I can. I have our chawkidar, or grounds keeper, Himmat and his wife, Meera, move into the house where there is a German woodstove, ensure there is plenty of wood for the winter, pay the Chawkidar really well for their food, chicken, milk, eggs, ghee, rotis and rice, doggie biscuits and bones. They are always healthy and happy when I return, and I know they have been well taken care of. But that isn’t really the issue. Though I try not to worry about them too much (hungry leopards come down to the village in winter and eat dogs, goats, cattle) since Himmat takes really good care of them and we have a fence around our house, I always wonder on my return whether I should love them wholeheartedly or not, fearing we will get too attached to each other. There is always a distance when I return — they don’t know how much to love me, either, considering I have been leaving every winter for a long stretch. But each year I come to one conclusion — I have to love them wholeheartedly, and more, if possible, because I know I am going to leave. I think this is a definition of detachment — love wholly and then let go, easily, when circumstances demand it. And circumstances always demand it. If nothing else, there is always death.

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