The Old Man & the Dog – A Short Story

He sniffed everyone passing by.
Their scents, their dangling handbags,
And looked up at them, with pleading eyes…

The heartless drove him away, kids pelted stones at him,
Out of disgust, of fear or rage, scaring him to death.
Away he ran and stood staring at their backs as they walked on…

They looked at him, but didn’t bother to acknowledge his gaze.
The bones poking out of his skin went unnoticed.
Dying of hunger he was, but when has the rich understood that…

It was getting dark and for hours he had stood restless,
Hoping if someone would throw a few biscuits or dried rotis,
Or just some unusable rotting trash that he would devour with pleasure.

At last, when people thinned out of the street,
An old man dragged his feet who looked toward him.
A few seconds of eye meeting the eye, and he shyly wagged his tail…

Slowly, the old man went down the street turning around a corner to his hut,
That the dog had followed him, he had known.
But before stepping in, the old man turned to look at him.
With a slight glimmer of hope,
the dog wagged his tail, a bit vigorously this time…

Having spent days thirsty and starved himself,
The old man knew that look on the dog’s face all too well.
In a crooked plate, he fetched all that was left – dried pieces of bread,
And a coconut shell that held salt water just taken off the flame.

One by one, dipping the bread in the water,
He threw them all in the dog’s direction.
With such haste he swallowed them down.
His eyes met the old man’s once again as he rested at the hut’s doorway…

Kindness doesn’t cost much you would think.
But tell you what, kindness comes for a price.

One ate to his stomach’s content,
Hardly aware of the old man’s plight.
The other would sleep with hunger
now clinging onto his back…

Just as it had traveled on the dog’s,
for days, restless and concealed.
For as long as there’s negligence,
satiated, it never will be.


© Asha Seth

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19 Replies to “The Old Man & the Dog – A Short Story”

  1. I love this – we have four dogs and they really do brighten up the day. This short story is a touching tribute to the creatures we’re lucky enough to be able to call friends. I’m currently writing a short story – the emotion you write with and the depth you give your characters is inspiring 🙂


    1. Hi maxim, happy to have you over.
      I do not remember a time I did not have a dog in my life. Fortunately, my parents are fond of animals too, dogs precisely, and we always had the pleasure of having their love.
      To me, they are a constant inspiration in life and my writings. Here are few more posts you may love:
      And a short story:
      Do tell how you like them!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes it’s my parents who have instilled in me a love for animals, and I can’t thank them enough for it. Thank you for the recommendations – I’ll be sure to give them a read 🙂


  2. Nice story with deep message on kindness. Liked that part and how one is happy and another is suffering. Any one who can think like this must have a kind heart.


    1. Oh yes, I love dogs and half my life has been surrounding them. So I usually spin a lot of tales including dogs and real life. This is a story I wrote when I was in college. I perfected it recently and shared it. It is close to my heart.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, I dared to paste it on my blog “”
    I am a writer, too – but i cannot write Poems anylonger. Had so much Horror stories to Report –
    that my Soul has become tired …
    I love your side now


“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” ― James A. Michener

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