Heart surgery patient 'saved' by pet dog, Loki

Loki gets a cucumber snack from his owner Clay Baksh at their home in Barrackpore. - Marvin Hamilton
Loki gets a cucumber snack from his owner Clay Baksh at their home in Barrackpore. - Marvin Hamilton

A “man’s best friend” embodies the relationship between Clay Baksh and his two-year-old mixed golden retriever Loki.

The pair, who live in Lower Barrackpore, were introduced to each other about two years ago while Baksh was recovering from open-heart surgery.

In the quiet community, Loki has become his master’s daily companion: they would sleep together, share foods and snacks, and recreational activities.

Baksh, 58, told Sunday Newsday Loki’s love filled a void in his life which stemmed from the death of his previous rottweilers.

He said although his family, wife and two children were actively involved in his life, Loki triggered a different type of love and affection.

“When my dogs died, I felt a piece of me die with them. Loki came into my life and became a sense of comfort. Loki has become more than just a dog; he is a member of the family.

“He is like a little person, expressing his own dislikes and likes, with a personality that has to be learnt by everyone. He is a quiet fellow on most days, who likes to watch TV or sleep near my feet.”

When Loki becomes adventurous, Baksh said driving around the area was his favourite thing to do.

Baksh was usually left home alone when his family was out at work. He too works remotely, on some days, as a health, safety, security and environment (HSSE) consultant.

He said when he has a project, Loki is usually at his side while he worked and was a great source of help and inspiration.

“I talk to him, and he understands, and I also understand his barks, like when he wants to go outside or play or want a snack. I speak to him like I would when I speak to another person and he relates to me, he understands.

“I cannot see myself, my life without Loki. I think that if he was not around, I would have spiralled into depression and would not be alive. He is always full of life, and always wants to do something.”

Baksh said it was easy to communicate with Loki because he was a loving and interesting dog.

Loki loves cheese, cucumbers, mangoes and other fruits and vegetables, as well as his chicken treats.

He urged people who were faced with depression, stressed or feeling overwhelmed to adopt a pet or a hobby and experience an unconditional love that somehow makes life easier.

Loki sits with his owner Clay Baksh at their home in Barrackpore.
- Marvin Hamilton

“There are so many things happening in society that could get you depressed very easily and put you in a state that was not healthy for you. Find an animal, any kind of animal –a fish or dog – or find a hobby that takes you away from the negative energy, and fill it with hope and love.”

Since Baksh's son got married and moved out his bedroom has been turned into Loki’s bedroom and personalised with his trinkets, blankets and other knick-knacks.

His favourite game is fetch and he has a basket of toys which he plays with almost every day. He also enjoys playing in water but is also very protective.

“I remember at one of our outings at Los Iros beach, I went into the water, and as I turned to look for him on the sand, he was instead right behind me in the water. He likes adventure.

“Loki is with me all the time and senses danger. When I try to do little things around the house he barks at me as a warning that could be dangerous.”

Upset by the videos circulating on social media in which animals were being abused and not protected, Baksh said the authorities needed to enforce animal welfare legislation to hold people accountable.

“There needs to be an awareness drive so that the population knows that the legislation exists and what is contained in it, such as the penalties, in hope that it will deter people from harming animals. There are so many platforms which can be used to achieve this.”

Loki is Baksh’s peace and comfort, he said, “We first need to protect ourselves from hate and selfishness, because if we continue to embody these things, then how could we love others and animals? Once your heart is open, animals will love you.”


"Heart surgery patient ‘saved’ by pet dog, Loki"

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