The Love Of A Dog
Twenty years of being averse to animals, were I can say the most deprived years of my life. My first reaction to a dog on the road used to be, instantaneously crossing over to the other side. A pet in someone’s house right away meant that I am not going to their house. My family, on the other hand was very different bunch of people. My dad had his list of pet dogs in his childhood and my brother was waiting for the day we shift into a bigger space to get one for him. I, on the other hand was petrified of dogs.
To my brother’s delight the day finally arrived that we shifted into our own bungalow and got home a boxer puppy, the tiny bundle of joy. We named him Newton. It took me a while to warm up to him. As time passed by, he and I both kept crossing one milestone after the other, until eventually we became very good buddies. I was now one of his favorite people and he, mine. I did not know that loving an animal could bring so much joy. The pleasure of coming home to an over enthusiastic and forever jumping cartoon was something else. The never-ending licks and he being behind me forever like he was my tail, was something else.
I was with him for only five years until I got married and moved on to another city. As much as in my heart I wanted to take him along with me, I could not separate him from his family. But those times were the memories that I cherish the most. No matter what mood I was in, I was bound to get into the happy mode as soon as I saw him. He was my constant companion, we went for walks, for drives, we shared the same bed and even the same pillow. What I wore, how I looked did not matter to him, he looked at me with the same warm eyes. Those brown eyes piercing into mine always told me he saw me for what I am. He was my comfort zone under all circumstances. On days when I was jumping around the house in joy over a sudden success, he was there with me, tugging at my arm, barking with glee, running around the length and breadth of the house like he’s won a lottery and he was also there with me when I was low, licking my face, urging me to smile or play. Newton taught me what it is to love and love without condition.
Five years of being with Newton made me compassionate towards animals. He had converted an animal atheist to a believer. After shifting to city post matrimony, my yearning for a four legged companion did not cease. Getting settled into a new house and new surroundings, I could not breach the subject of getting a pet. But as fate would have it, one day out of nowhere a frail and hairless puppy was at my doorstep, as if asking for help. I again could not bring myself to ask my family if I could feed this feeble puppy. After two days when the puppy refused to move from our doorstep, I started feeding her. After asking around in the neighborhood, I found out that her previous owner had abandoned her, fearing her skin infection could be contagious and harmful for his family. Sad, that he had not considered the dog a part of his family. And hence he chose to leave her on the roads to succumb to her fate. The mentality of supposedly called the most gifted species of this planet- the human being was barbaric. She was visibly sick. She had no hair when I found her and according to the vet, with lots of tender love, care and good nutritious food she would be good to go within just 20 odd days. And thus we embarked a on a new journey.
To my utter glee my husband was in total support of what I wanted to do with this dog. I did not know her breed and I did not care. I got started with mission “Choti”. Yes! I had named her Choti for the time being because, she was so petite. I secured a safe spot for her outside the house, in the veranda for her. She had somehow sensed that I was there to help her and not harm. My days started revolving around her upkeep. My mornings began by bathing her, applying her ointments, giving her supplements, preparing her meals and feeding her with my own hands. The vet had said that her hair will grow back in twenty days if I administer the medicines as prescribed. The wait was full of anxiety. I was doing my best trying to do the best for the hairless puppy in my care. It felt like a battle that I had to win.
Because she used to be in the veranda and being hairless obviously she did not make a very pleasant sight to see, people started asking me- why have you kept a sick puppy? You can afford real good breeds, why this sticky hairless one? Why have you kept an ugly looking dog in front of such a beautiful house? It is spoiling the look of the house. I was amazed and at the same time, appalled at the responses of people. Everyone had free, unwanted advice to offer. But me being her mommy and she being my baby, I did not accept any flak for Choti. I fought back with fervor, sometimes by being rude and at other times asking people, would they abandon their own child if it were to fall sick? I managed to hold the wagging tongues with my retaliation. And it was easy with my family backing me up.
The wait was finally over, and it was Day 21. Tiny golden hair appeared all over her body, she suddenly started looking completely different. It was our day to meet the vet. He was extremely happy with the way we had progressed. And he could also identify her breed now. She was a golden retriever cross. For me she was my fighter child. She and I were extremely happy at the progress we did together. The base for a relationship was set forever.
She continued to stay in our veranda in her own mini den. And the same people who were anti Choti, started saying oh how cute, such an adorably puppy. None of that banter mattered to me anymore. Nursing a homeless sick dog back to her feet was more than a reward for me. As she grew up, we came to know that her guarding instincts are par excellence. That is the gift that she has given us in return for saving her. Because, she sits right outside our main door, no one in the house is ever afraid to stay alone. She’s our four legged security system.
Accepting and welcoming Choti into my life meant that I was signing up for hours of walking in whatever weather conditions, regular meal times and many a times expensive vet bills. But this does not deter me even for a minute from loving her. We share an unbreakable bond. She has me wrapped around her furry paws. We have our communication system. One look from her and I know whether she’s angry for me not telling her a bye when I am leaving, upset for not sharing the chicken with her, or wants to have her treats or just keen to have a tug of war with match with her rope toy.
When I fell in love with Newton, I think I automatically fell in love with the entire species. I have come to realize with my experience with dogs, that a dog has far more to offer than we generally deserve. Now, when I look back I realize that if her previous owner had not abandoned her, we wouldn’t have ever met. I don’t mean to say that the ordeal she went through as a tiny puppy was justified in any way. But whatever happened, indeed happened for the best for both of us. I am full of gratitude to have her in my life. And I will forever be indebted to Newton for walking into my life and showing me a side of me that I did not know existed within me, for showing me that I was capable of loving the animal kingdom so selflessly.