The Places in BetweenStewartis heartbroken when he learns that Babur, his travel companion for the secondleg of his journey had passed away. Although Babur was not the most activelyplayful or obedient of dogs, Stewart says he liked him and he was attached tothe dog in the weeks that they had traveled together. The dog offered no real utilityfor being a “dog of war”, in fact having to be shielded from village dogs by Stewart,but it seems that rescuing him from his abusive owners, feeding and caring forhim properly, fostered a closer bond between the two. Babur offeredcompanionship in a way that the men Stewart had traveled with up until thatpoint could not. Upon noting that the dog would not make through the rest ofthe grueling and difficult journey, he arranged for transportation for the dogthe rest of the way to the destination so that they would be reunited later. Hehoped that the war beast could make it to all the way, and then return back toScotland with him. This can be seen from the arrangement for the plane ticketsfor his friends Babur to follow him to Scotland, but upon arriving, he isnotified that the faithful ally had died.Thedeath of Babur the dog weakens Stewart emotionall,, and he spends some timemourning the passing.
He says, “I don’t imagine Babur would have been veryimpressed to see me crying now, trying to bring back five weeks’ walking alonetogether, with my hand on a grizzled golden head, which is Babur, beside me andalive.” His response to the death of his dog friend thus shows how loyal thefriendship was. He was not only protecting the dog through the journey becauseit was weak, but he did it out of his heart. Stewart notes that according tohis religion, a visitor in need should be welcomed and taken care of. He noteshis call for help from some people through the journey and they never turnedhim down. For this reason, despite Babur’s weak and frail body, Stewart had anopen and kind heart to accept him and walk with him through the journey.Stewartnotes that the journey was perilous and having Babur as the protector even madeit worse because it was the opposite, Stewart was the protector to Babur.Despite the weakness of the dog, Stewart liked him and was pleased with hiscompany on the journey.
On the contrary, this would have been awkward to mostAfghanis because of their religious beliefs. Muslims consider the dog asunclean, and could not relate in any sense to the connection and bond formed.Walking through such a dangerous journey with a dying dog that is toothlesswould not make sense to most of the readers besides the emotional reaction hemakes after the dog dies.
To the Afghanistan’s readers, crying over a dogespecially a dog that did not help one in any way would not make any sense.Stewart, however, is an embodiment of the few individuals who do notchoose friends due to their abilities, talents and material wealth. Stewartrepresents the few who accept people based on their capabilities as long as theyexhibit loyalty. He does not despise the dog because itis weak and toothless; he takes it and protects it from any attacks through thejourney using stones.
Stewart likes the dog for its kindness since he hadnothing much to offer to it but it still followed him through the journey.After the death of Babur, Steward shows rational reaction since he was attached to the dog despite its shortcomings and thereligious beliefs.