She was just the size of a football when I first met her along with my good friend Shrikanth Kote at Brush and Bones. She was jumping around busy chasing a 10-year-old lab which had cancer.
I still remember how Hemant and Sohini showed me the pup and told her about her issues. Her skin problems and her medications, her food habits, her personality everything…
After the whole brief, they asked me whether I was still okay to adopt her. My answer was “Ab lene ka socha hain tho… I have to understand that all of this comes part of the adoption”. I rest assured both of them, that I am going to take this “Khujli Rani” (Queen of Scabies) to my home forever.
I didn’t inform any of my friends or my mom. I just went and told my house owner that I am going to get a puppy. The house owner quickly agreed unknowing that I am not getting any high pedigree dog, but a normal Indian Pariah dog with too much skin problems.
The day I got her, everyone was having one question on their minds. They had doubts about my mental health and my level of sanity to take home a small pup with little hair on its body and too many rashes. With the effective guidance of Shrikanth, Shireesh Verma, Sohini, Hemant, Kaveri, and everyone it took me very less time to fix this beautiful pup.
Now, let me remind you she was not just a pup. She had a name and a personality. Her name was Tara (which I hated it for quite some time) and her personality was “radioactive”. Controlling her energy levels required me to change my house from the small locality to 14km away from the city. A bigger space meant she had more room to run around and chill. Along with her came several other changes in me, including bringing of another dog “Arrow” into my life. Arrow and she became friends very quickly. This also made two dogs cope up with their loneliness together during my absence during office hours.
From Scabies to her first vaccination. From being bitten by street dogs to she going and terrorizing other dogs. From being that silly Tara to a full grown Mommy Tara, we both have come a long way.
Yes, today as I am writing this, she is sitting next to me and taking rest. She will soon give birth to pups in a day or two. One of the most common questions that I ask every pet owner is that what is the single most memorable event in your life with your pet.
The answers are either too happy or too sad.
One of my friends said, “He will never be able to forget the day he put his dog to sleep”. And then he shared something very interesting to me. He forwarded me a piece of an interview with a vet. The Vet said, one of the most heartbreaking scenes that Vets undergo is that look the dogs have on their faces when they are about to put to sleep. Dog owners never want to see this tragic moment and usually go out of the room, leaving the dog to desperately search for their owners in a room full of strangers. He further urged people to take some courage and be with their beloved canine friends during their last hours of life.
For some reason, the message touched my heart. I was then recalling all the ups and downs that I and Tara had endured all these days. Right from people calling her piece of shit to our owner quarantining my house (because it had a sick dog inside it)…. we both have seen it all.
Most of my close friends never wanted to visit my house because she had scabies. But there she was….. Tara… standing beside me all the time. She was like James Stewart of MX racing world…. who didn’t know that he was black until he started feeling racial discrimination. Tara never even knew that she was hated for the way she looked like. The moment kids started running away from her, she thought they were trying to ask her to run towards them. And that’s exactly what she used to do.
She was there when my mother served me an ultimatum that it’s either the dogs or her in the house. She was there when few of my marriage alliances made faces looking at her. She was seeing all of it. And so was I. We have seen all of it together.
Yesterday, she was panting restlessly and walking all over the house. Someone said the dog knows what to do when it gets the labor pain. We made her bed and gave her all that she wants. But our Tara Madam has her own ways… She kept on running here and there until I had to shift her bed on my bed and make her sleep beside me.
There… right when I looked at her eyes and started patting her… She let out a huge sigh and then drifted off to sleep. Nature has given motherly instincts to everyone. But, during these times, along with the instincts, one needs to also understand that domesticated dogs look for some love and affection from their owners during these times.
Stand by your dogs when they need you. Don’t just shake it off and say “Come on… they know what to do”. Ofcourse, they know what to do. But your mere presence can make a lot of difference for the momma dog, in calming her down (especially when you have more than one dog in the same house). For a dog, which has not seen anybody else in its life other than you, your presence makes a very positive impact. I have had a neighbour who always loved dogs and their company but was too disgusted to clean their plates or make their bed. I used to wonder whether she really loved them or not. Because unconditional love sees beyond the food plates, their vomits or loose stools. Pure love understands the limitations that these four-legged angels come with. You can’t say that I want a clean house without having some fur all over your house.
There are times when you feel like pulling your hair and screaming. But you will endure it easily if you remember why did you get your dog in the first place. With little love and affection, nothing is hard to conquer in this world. Because we all are beautiful souls looking for love and acceptance from others.
Love helps anybody get up from pain. Affection and attention are two little ingredients that can transform you in ways unimaginable. Acceptance of others weakness and embracing them with love and care are some qualities which build character in a person.
Be kind to one another. And do not take anyone for granted.
“Choose your love and love your choice” – Thomas S Monson.