Reality Check

We all live in a myth that we all are the directors of our own life. The truth is, we are not. Life happens and we just adjust to the changes and keep moving. We come across many inspirational quotes about life every day, but how many of us actually understand them and follow through?

In the past two years, since the pandemic, many of us have had a harsh wake-up call and forced us to change our priorities, our way of living or thinking, our approach towards life in general. The more time passes, the more I realise that life is to be lived one day at a time. Sometimes, even thinking about the next 24 hours is too much, that time; live every moment. I have even perceived that happiness and fulfilment is in the little moments.

We are currently biting off more than what we can chew to embrace the new reality post Corona virus. For some, the worry, the sorrow, and the sadness associated with the death of their loved ones or feeling of isolation will last too long. For others, the impact this virus and isolation left on the mental health will linger even after all this is over. And for a few others, the realization of the importance of family turned out to be a blessing.

While there are a lot of motivational quotes, awareness and help available on the internet, there are many misguiding and wrongly provocative materials and articles also easily available. Unfortunately, many people feel that’s the reality and fall prey to it and regret later.

The virtual reality is starting to feel like real life. On a daily basis, on many social media sites I come across quotes like “you have to thrive, not survive”, “be the leader of your life”, “if you are not something, then you are nothing”, “hustle now, rest later”, “disappear for some years, and enjoy later”, “date only to marry”, “be a gangsta”, “the relationship broke because you deserve better”, “don’t give chance to others, be independent and spoil yourself”, etc.

I am not saying all the above quotes are completely wrong, but the meaning extracted from them by people these days is wrong.

Let’s get to reality:

  • You don’t always have to keep thriving; these days if you survived your day, you did a good job.
  • Our future is unpredictable. We all seen it in the past two years. Life happens, change is the only constant. Only control your thoughts, don’t try to control your life.
  • Others perspective of success is not necessarily your perspective of success. Same applies for having fun. Do what is suitable, convenient and comfortable for you.
  • Taking rest, having days off is extremely essential in today’s times. Don’t fall sick or drain yourself out in hustling all the time or showing the world how much you work.
  • Take accountability of your own bullshit. Sometimes, the relationship breaks because both the partners are not on the same page, or you were the toxic one, or your partner’s needs changed and opted out. Besides cheating and abuse, there is free will, and you and your partner are allowed to change your mind. No one owes you anything, and neither is your partner a bad person that you keep saying you deserve better.
  • You have no need to disappear to earn money and then enjoy or rest later. You can do everything simultaneously. Having fun, taking breaks, going on a vacation, or going out with friends and family, and most importantly, keeping in touch with your loved ones is very important for healthy living. You never know which moments become only memories or when you will see the person for the last time in your life. Make beautiful memories along with earning money.
  • Sometimes it is essential to ask for help. Everyone has the capacity to be independent, but asking for help is required sometimes.
  • No work is big or small. A man can choose a career in cooking and a woman can choose to be a carpenter. Do what you like, do what gives you peace.
  • Accept that you will die one day. Embrace it and don’t live life as per what internet tells you or shows you, or what you see others doing on their stories. Don’t compare and don’t judge a book by its cover. More than half of pictures and stories posted on the internet are fake.
  • Failure is necessary to grow. Failure and success are not opposites. They both are part of the whole.
  • Problems may be inevitable, but so is our approach towards it. If you can change anything, change it, if you cannot, leave it. It’s ok to quit sometimes.
  • Your energy is finite. Please use it wisely. Don’t let the artificial internet world be an energy vampire. Trust me. Majority of the stuff you see is bogus or fake.
  • Allow yourself to simply enjoy an experience with your partner. Be present. Not every person you date will be “the one”. If it’s meant to be, you will marry that person. Or else leave in dignity.

Waste time this year; go for long, rambling walks. Write poems or try a new recipe just because. Pray, paint, laugh at yourself or simply watch something on the TV. Take your dog to the beach or just sit by the shore and enjoy the winds and coffee. Our world is obsessed with being productivity all the time. We feel guilty of wasting our time even for an instance. But the reality is, our “unproductive” hours are the most soul-shaping parts of our lives. SLOW DOWN!

Redesigning Life after Lockdown

It’s a restart for many of us, or let me say – majority of us. For some a mental restart, for some a physical restart, and for some both. However, this pandemic gave a lot of us a new perspective to life and an opportunity to start again.

Life is not the same for many of us. What we once took for granted; have now become our priority. Many bonds between people have been destroyed and many became stronger than before. A big change is noticed in many of our lives. Good or bad, the pandemic played it course and left a huge impact on us for many years to come. 

The Corona Virus claimed many live, and tackling loneliness among those left behind has made it worse, with some people more affected than others. More and more people worry something will happen to them and no one will notice. Those who have lost members of their family or close ones; feel the least able to cope with the after effects.

Besides Corona Virus, many are dying of heart attacks. Staying at home from the past 18 months, going out only for essential work, businesses closed, no socializing or physical contact like before and the fear of contracting the virus has left many people anxious about their present and future, which has lead to a sedentary life and increase in stress levels.

I am not immune to any of the above. The only difference is, I am living with a dog and that has helped me to stay positive most of the times and live an active life even in the lockdown. But my mental health too had gone for a toss. Some days I felt like I wouldn’t survive financially, and some days I would feel like life was not worth living after all. However, Junior being around at all times helped me not slip into depression and actually redesign my life, sort my priorities and be prepared for anything in the future.

My biggest realization in the lockdown was that life is beautiful and meaningful only with your loved ones and family around. There were times when I used to get irritated if my mother or father would call me often. But today, I value those calls. Sometimes I would get tired giving Junior continues attention. But now, there is nothing more important than spending as much time as I can with him. I have also realized that saved money is the actual treasure and wealth. YOLO (you only live once) is only a concept. The pandemic also taught me not to blindly run behind money, but balance life by paying attention to your health and also spending time with family.

Time and again, the quote “grass is not green on the other side” have been proved to be right. This hit me once again when I was talking to one of my cousins who live in a different so called modern and advanced country than mine; and she said “many countries claim to be advanced and modern than the other, and then in the first place, how did the virus enter their country? And if it did, then how come they took so long to mellow down the virus? And also, how lakhs of people died in their country? So stay where you are and value your country. The grass is not green on the other side.”

We have once again realized the importance of the basics like washing hands, covering our mouths, valuing relationships, exercising, eating healthy, and most importantly – being nice to one and other. Mental health is as important as physical health. And since the pandemic has increased the number of people getting depression and anxiety, not just in adults, but even in child, it is very important to redesign our lives and adopt more flexible and broad minded thinking. My vet told me, there has been a massive increase in the number of people and families adopting or buying cats and dogs during the lockdown. In a way, it is good as far as people consider them as family and do not abandon them once the countries open up.

It is very easy to change your life when there are restrictions. But what will happen once the lockdowns are lifted and life gets back to normal? This is where the actual challenge comes. Will we be consistent and disciplined? Will we stick to our redesigned life? Will we maintain our new behaviour and stick to the new routine?

Collectively, we can and we should use this pandemic as a rude wake-up call for all of us and help bring about a positive change in our habits and lives, and create and new and better normal.

My pet parenting mistakes

There are a lot of different beliefs about how to raise a dog. Just like every human, no dog is the same. And while there is no right way to raise a dog, there are certainly some bad practises out there. Raising a dog is a lot like raising a child. Just like how you want your child to be healthy, happy and mannered, the same way what you do greatly affects your dog’s wellbeing as well. Let me share my personal experience about the mistakes I made while raising my dogs:

  • Scolding them:

Casper was my first dog. I had no experience or knowledge about raising a dog back then.  And as we all know, puppies are very adorable; but at the same time naughty and destructive. Whenever Casper would destroy something or wouldn’t listen to me, I would scold him sometimes. This was an absolute ridiculous behaviour from my side. Being illiterate in dog behaviour, I was dumb as well to listen to others who would suggest me stupid ideas on how to make a dog methodologically mannered. The right way was to train him early, and even though if he misbehaved post training, I should have been patient with him.

  • Keeping their food bowl full:

Casper was a picky eater. After he recovered from Tick Fever, he became all the more choosy about his food. I would leave his food bowl filled for hours thinking that whenever he would be hungry, he will eat it. But that doesn’t work for dogs. The best way was to mix wet food with dry food and feed him. And leave it in front of him maximum for 30 minutes. Eventually, Casper started eating his meals like a normal pup and I never faced any other issues regarding his eating habits.

  • Feeding them low grade treats and food:

Often times we have to consider our income in many things. Casper was always on a good brand food. However, I had to switch Junior’s food for sometime to a cheaper kibble as I was going through a hard time in life. But that turned out to me more expansive. How? Junior fell majorly ill. I had to spend a lot of money on his tests, medicines, check-ups, etc. Fortunately, Junior was in good hands and the vet never let him slip into a critical stage. Let me tell you, the vet always scolded me and asked me to switch Junior’s food to a better and know company. But my hands were tight, and I thought, that “kibble is a kibble, be it any company”. I was so wrong.  The same applies for treats and bones. Always use a good quality product for your dogs.

  • Not giving them time:

I was an animal activist for some years. Besides that, I was even working. The only time I had for my dogs was their walk time. Casper passed away at an early age. And till this day I regret not giving him more time. It is said, “Make sure your cup if full before you pour into others cups”. My own dog was feeling lonely and I was busy saving others. I quit the animal activist work, started spending a lot of time with Junior, and now I take care of only those stray cats and dogs where I can reach without compromising on Junior’s time.

  • Neglecting symptoms:

Casper always vomited once a month. Each time I would think different reasons like the weather is bad, or he must have eaten some crap, etc. Had I got him checked earlier, maybe, just maybe I could have saved him. Please do not ignore even the slightest sign which appears to be different than their normal behaviour.

These were the major mistakes I made. As you must have realised, most of them were with Casper, because by the time I got Junior, I had gained good knowledge about raising a dog. Don’t take me wrong, though I have made mistakes in raising Casper, but I have loved him immensely as well. He had a very lavish and happy upbringing. He was the most mannered and loving dog. And now, I make sure I don’t repeat my mistakes with Junior, spend a lot of time with him, give him enough exercise, feed him the best food, and love him a lot.

Whether you are a new pet parent or already a pet parent to many dogs in the past and present, mistakes are inevitable. But pet parenting mistakes are worth reviewing and avoiding whenever possible. Socialise them, exercise them, feed them good food (don’t over feed), don’t leave them alone for long hours, get their check-ups done regularly, train them, NEVER punish, scold or beat them, keep them clean, don’t neglect their personal hygiene, and most of all – LOVE THEM.

Oh No! My Dog Is A Fussy Eater.

I believe many of us have faced this problem in our lives. Sometimes, our dogs are just not interested in what’s in their bowls. I have faced this issue too. Not with Junior, but with Casper. Casper had turned his nose up at his own food, but was always interested in what I was eating. This meant that he wasn’t ill, but had become a picky eater.

Let me tell you how it started and the ways I bid to make him start eating his own food without him throwing a tantrum.

Just like any other Labrador, Casper was a big time foodie. He would eat anything and everything that I would put in his bowl, along with some veggies that I gave him as snacks. He always maintained an ideal weight and was a very active dog. Unfortunately, he fell ill and was diagnosed with Tick Fever where his survival was nearly impossible. But, by the grace of God and expertise of the Vet, Casper not only lived, he thrived. Obviously it wasn’t easy. After some months of his treatment, and when Casper was absolutely normal and healthy, I noticed that he had started withdrawing from his food. Eventually, he stopped eating his kibble completely.

I was scared, because I thought he was relapsing. I spoke to the Vet and briefed him about Casper’s behavior. That’s when I came to know that Casper had turned into a fussy eater. Since this is not a medical problem or an illness, there is no medicine also to it. So I had to find a different way to make him start eating his own food. In the meantime, Casper happily ate Curd Rice and Vegetables. But that was not enough as he was not getting all his nutrients and vitamins which he would get from kibble. Being a vegetarian myself, I was hesitant to introduce him to meats and fish, even eggs. I would have done that eventually, had Casper not started eating the dog food. But that was Plan B. I was reflecting on a way to make Plan A work, i.e. make him eat his kibble happily.

Dogs are not picky. It’s an acquired trait. My biggest challenge was to find the core of his new behavior. Which I found! He had become finicky about his food because when he was recovering from Tick Fever, I had fed him chicken soups, eggs, curd, sugarcane juice, etc. Basically, he was off dog food for some time and he was relishing on the other stuff. Now, you must be thinking why sugarcane juice. It has so much sugar and sugar is poison for dogs. In India, if anyone has jaundice, we give them a lot of sugarcane juice. According to traditional Ayurveda, sugarcane juice is a boon to strengthen your liver and a proven remedy for jaundice. The antioxidants in sugarcane juice protect the liver against infection and maintain the bilirubin levels in control.

Alright, since I was aware of Casper’s core issue, my next step was to slowly make him like his kibble. Please remember, it’s not magic. It took time for him to get back to his schedule. So be consistent and patient. Do not scold your dog or scream at them. There will be a time of frustration, but that won’t solve anything.

I bought home a few samples of dog food from the vet and introduced them one by one to Casper. Some of them Casper sniffed and left, and some Casper ate a bite or two and left. So I discarded the ones which didn’t eat and narrowed down to one food brand which Casper ate the most. Now I had to work around only one food brand.

My next step was to make Casper eat more and more of it daily. I knew he wouldn’t start eating it at once, so I activated a little of my acting skills to make him eat atleast a handful of it. At the same time, I also reduced his intake of Curd Rice and Veggies. There were times when Casper skipped him meals completely. That’s ok for a dog skip a meal or two, since he didn’t have any medical issues at that time.

I stopped filling Casper’s bowl in front of him. I never hand-fed him or even bribed him. I would keep his food and if he didn’t eat till half n hour, I would take it and discard it. I would go in the kitchen, fill his bowl and then bring it outside to his eating place, so that he is not pre annoyed by the smell of the food and he gets to smell it only at the time of eating. Most of the times, he would eat a little and then leave it. So as I said I activated my acting skills, I would tell him that I am going out and start walking towards the door. Casper would immediately go to his bowl and complete his food. Different techniques work for different dogs. Since Casper always wanted me around, he ate his food thinking I would leave. But I couldn’t do this forever, right!

Then, I bought wet food of the same brand and started mixing it little with his dry food. That’s when I had to stop acting and Casper started finishing his bowl on his own. And eventually, after reducing the wet food gradually, one day came, when Casper for the first time in weeks ate his dry food completely on his own. And, that was the first time I rewarded him for completing his meal on his own. But always keep a check on them, as they may tend to get back to being picky again.

In all this process, under no circumstances fall weak and give them anything that they want like human food or table scraps. This will delay their process of getting back on schedule. Also, there can be various reasons why dogs suddenly become picky. They could be ill, or have some kind of anxiety, or maybe in pain, etc. So, rule out the medical causes first. There are also myths that fussy eaters cannot be fixed or changing the food often leads to fussy eating or they get bored of kibble after some times. These are nothing but MYTHS.

Like all responsible parents, we want our pets the always remain healthy and safe. And anything can be achieved with consistency, patience and lots of love.

Bullies

I had taken a break last week from uploading a post. The reason for that was, I was fueled with anger. Today, in this post; I am writing everything from the heart and experience.

My country India is going through a tough time right now. We all are scared not just about the Corona Virus, but about our survival as well. Every single day we hear and read about deaths. All this has increased a lot of anxiety in majority of us. We are already living in fear, but there are some who add up to the stress.

Last week, some Anonymous had left a nasty comment on my page which said, “I am a self-obsessed, male attention seeking, ugly whore, who’s own marriage is wrecked and now is wrecking others marriages.” I am not too sure if this comment was left by someone known or some anonymous who actually took the effort to read my posts and then leave a nasty comment like this. Besides this, someone else left a comment on my dog Junior that in such bad times, I have kept a dog and spending money on him instead of donating.

Let me start by saying, yes I am divorced and there were a lot of factors which lead to my divorce. How does that mean I am a self-obsessed, male attention seeking, ugly whore? And by just being divorced, does that mean I am going to break others marriages? Even Bill Gates got divorced. Does that mean his wife is now going to break others marriages! What I don’t understand is, if you have so much guts to leave a disgusting comment like this, then why “Anonymous”, show your face and leave your name. I will be more than happy to clear your misunderstanding.

Regarding my dog, he is with me since 9 years, and I may not eat but see to it he has been fed rather than donating to people who can’t even follow basic protocols of wearing a mask on the nose and putting others life in danger. I do my piece of social work and I do not need anyone’s validation.

Fake WhatsApp messages, daily propaganda of news channels, irresponsible citizens, lack of support from the Government, etc. and then, there are internet bullies who are spineless, no work to do, no guts, but just leave assholic comments because they don’t have to face the person.

But this isn’t new. I know of someone, who would be so possessive about her boyfriend, that eventually her relationships turn toxic and she would end up being single all the time. She would always blame other women if her relationship turned sour. Something like, “she was his ex and now she is trying to get him”, or “I will not let my boyfriend meet this girl because she is divorced and want others husbands/boyfriends”. However, all her relationships failed because she was insecure within herself. And that insecurity she would display on others making even her friendships toxic. Constantly playing a victim card, not working on yourself, and always blaming others makes you a toxic person and a bully.

I have always been bold and open about my personal life. I try to spread as much positivity and encouragement as I can through my experience. In such tough times, if you can’t be good to yourself and other people, then atleast keep your mouth shut and don’t be a spineless bully.

Stress, depression and anxiety are already silent killers. I am a strong person and I can hit back. But many have committed suicide because of bullies. When the mindset is already in fear because of the pandemic, why create more chaos. When a marriage is breaking, why blame only the other woman? Your husband opened that space for the other woman. If he was true to the wife or happy in the marriage, he wouldn’t have opened that personal space. Correct your husband first. Or I must say, as I have mentioned before also, sometimes we too are toxic, for which our partners seek love outside. Being divorced doesn’t mean I am lonely, desperate and available. No one wants a divorce, but sometimes it is inevitable.

Let’s all be humble and fight this together. If you can’t be good, don’t be bad either. Keep quiet and mind your own business. Regarding dogs, we all pet parents are capable of doing anything for our pets to keep them healthy and safe. We all do our set of humanity gestures. Just because we do not post it, doesn’t mean we are not helping others. If you are frustrated with your own life, I have said before, seek professional help if nothing is helping you.

I can take criticism well, atleast show your identity. I have a fighting spirit and I am getting stronger every passing day, again through experience. I request all those who think about committing suicide because of bullies, that never for even a second think of giving up your life. You are strong, you are enough, you are wanted. These bullies display their insecurities, they need help. Not you. If I can do it, so can you.

My Maid – My New Inspiration

As we are in the middle of the second wave of Corona virus in India, which is much more intense, contagious, and dangerous than the first one, we are living in constant fear for our lives, as well as our livelihood. After a year of this virus, we have still not contained it, in fact it has got worse. Savings have been exhausted, no income because of imposed lockdown and the fear of falling sick.

In all this chaos, one thing I have seen constant is – my maid’s smile. I always wonder that I come from a relatively good financial background, yet I am so worried about surviving this pandemic, then how much trouble will the poor people be facing, especially laborer’s, maids and servants. So how does my maid manage to smile always?

One day, I sat her down and started taking about her history and present and in whatever way I could help her. I was shocked listening to her story. And more shocked when she denied any extra help from me besides not laying her off from work.

She narrated me her story, and it goes like this. When she was young, around 7-8 years old, she lost her mother. Her mother was murdered by some of their own community people for reasons not known to my maid. Her father was an alcoholic and she was the only child. She never shared a cordial relationship with her father. As she grew old, she finally found love in a man and wanted to marry him. Somehow, one of her relative got the information of her affair, and instead of knowing her background and helping her, that relative contacted her father with a marriage proposal of another man.

That relative convinced her father that the other man is very good and he should get my maid married to him right away. My maid was forced to marry the other man, and once again, she lost the love that she deserved. Later, her father passed away due to over drinking. Soon, she had a son and her happiness had no limits. But it didn’t last long. She had been noticing that all the money that she earned from working at others houses was vanishing. She had no idea at all where the money was going. As some more time passed, she made a dreadful discovery. Her husband had another family in another city, and all her money was going to that family through her husband without her knowledge.

She was devastated. Her child was young. She had no father figure or any elders that she could turn up to for advice. She took the matter in her hands and left her husband. She decided to live in dignity as a single mother rather than being with her cheating husband and sharing him. She worked hard and built a good foundation for her son. She saved so much money, that after some years, she finally bought her own house.

As her son grew older, she thought that finally he too will stand on his own feet and bring some income in the house. But one day, her son bought an expensive mobile from her card without her knowledge. My maid, being the dignified woman that she is, sold her jewellery to pay up the EMIs of the card and warned her son to never do it again. Somehow, seeing her selling her jewellery, it opened her son’s eyes. He apologized to her and found a job. And with his salary, he bought his mother some new jewellery.

Today, he is happily married, has a good job and also recently had a son. My maid is more than happy and content.

I asked her, how are you dealing with the pandemic then? And she said, “I work in two houses (me and my office) and the other source of income is my son’s, which is enough for the four of us to live happily and comfortably.” She also added that her wants are less, so she doesn’t require any other monetary benefits or help. As always, she wants to work and earn her money. Not to be looked upon in pity.

Wow! This hit home. Sometimes, you get inspiration from the most unexpected person. Also, the old saying of “Never judge a book by its cover” stands true here. She is always smiling and laughing. I would have never guessed what she has been through since childhood. I would have never guessed that only for once she found love, and that too was taken away from her because of some dirty family politics.

This is called true strength. She raised her child as a single mother. She brought him back to his senses when he went off track. She lost her mother at a very early age. Her father was good for nothing. She never got to marry the love of her life. And her husband cheated her and robbed her earnings for the other woman. But my maid, overcame all her problems, because she was determined. Because she was true to herself. Because she chose her self-respect and dignity.

Isn’t this such an inspiration! I was blown away after hearing all this. I know there are tough times going on. And my priority is to survive at the moment for myself and Junior. But after listening to my maid, I want to thrive and nothing less. If she could overcome so many problems, then even I can and you can too.

Behind the Scenes

An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language; but only a few can understand this. I respect those who do not understand this language, and believe that a pet isn’t for them. Their reasons may be any, but are respected as they understand that they are not ready for it, and, know for sure, that they will not be able to care for the pet and do justice by bringing it home. These people are far better than those who brings pets home for various reasons, and, leave them neglected or abandon them or leave them back to the shelter.

I have come across a few people who have enquired with me to bring a dog home, only on the basis of seeing me and my dogs and how easy I make it look. So, today I am going to talk about the actual challenges I face and have faced by being a “make it look so easy” dog mom. As I always say, “Will it be easy – no! Will it be worth it – absolutely yes!”

I have heard this common statement, “I have grown up with dogs, I have always had dogs in my house, so I can handle a dog after marriage also, etc.” What they forget to compare is, they lived in a joint family where many were there to take care of the dog. These days, we live in a nuclear family in apartment houses and working couples. The biggest challenge here is, who will walk the dog? And once you have a kid, who will look after the dog? It doesn’t stop here. Even if couples distribute their walking schedules, who will wake up in the middle of the night if the dog throws up or falls ill and clean up? These are not small issues, as a dog’s life revolves around you, and if you struggle with the basics, then it is advisable to not bring a dog home. A dog is just another child; everything you do for your kid; you do for the dog. I cannot emphasize this more and its every word of it is true to the dot.

According to general public, I am living alone happily, I do what I want, I can go out party whenever I want, I can call anyone at home, etc. Because my dog stays at home peacefully, doesn’t destroy things, doesn’t bark or bite, doesn’t smell, etc., all because I make it look easy. Let me make one thing very clear, whatever I have done or do for my dogs is because I WANT TO DO IT. They are my responsibility and my babies, and I will make sure that they are healthy, happy and safe. And I believe, anyone who has this mentality will always make it look easy to others about caring for their pets.

Thus, these are the behind the scenes of keeping my dogs in the best atmosphere. Recently, I had fallen ill. It was so bad that I couldn’t even sit for more than 5 minutes. But, even in such a state, I had to take Junior for his walk. I was so liverish, but I had to feed Junior his meals on time and keep filling his water bowl as and when it got over.

I rarely go out for late night parties. Because then it becomes difficult for me to wake up in the morning to take Junior for a stroll. Living in a crowded city and being alone, I as it is sacrifice on taking Junior out to the beach or socializing as it is not my cup of tea. So my emphasis is more on his walks as that’s the only time he is outdoors.

When Casper or Junior are unwell, I stay up all night to make them comfortable. If they are better by the day, then I go for work or else take days off to look after them. Pay cuts, juggling between vet visits and back log, and make sure my dogs become healthy again. And not a damn soul would come to know I was struggling from past few days.

When I was heartbroken and going through the post breakup depressed phase, I grappled through my daily activities. I wasn’t even in the mood to take a shower or make coffee for myself. But, I fulfilled all my responsibilities towards my dogs.

I went broke for a period of time. I quit having one meal for myself to save money so that I could feed my dogs their required meals. And again, people thought I was living my best life alone with my dogs.

I adjust or miss out on many outings with family and friends because of my dog’s schedule. I don’t regret it at all, but there have been times when I had to skip on some important occasions because the boarding lodging was full and I had no place to keep my dogs. Also, recently my cousins planned a holiday and I to cancel it because Junior was recovering from pancreatitis and I couldn’t leave him at boarding lodging. When I needed to take that break the most, but I couldn’t. And it is ok, because that sacrifice was worth as Junior is in the best of health now.

I clean my dogs vomit, I clean their poop, I clean their drool, I clean their butthole, I apply ointment at weird places whenever needed, I remove ticks and fleas (whenever they get) from their body, there is dog hair all over my house, etc. and some people call it disgusting after knowing what all I do. Until then, “wow your dog is so clean, he doesn’t smell, his coat shines.”

Even on daily basis, whether I am in a good mood or a bad, I have to keep all that stuff aside and make sure my dogs schedule is not disturbed. My dogs do not bark, or bite, or destroy things is because I have put in a lot of effort in training them. My dogs can stay home alone without creating a ruckus is because of all endeavor I have made to tutor them since they were puppies.

I will definitely accept the fact that if I had a little help or someone with me, then it would be a lot easier for me to care for my dogs. Nevertheless, I still make it look easy for others on my own; but the fact is, It is NOT easy. Some days, you see stars in the day, some days, you only want to cry, some days, you are in too much pain, either physical or mental. But end of the day, when Casper and Junior sleep besides me snoring out loud, it’s all WORTH IT.

A dog is not just a Christmas gift or a companion for loneliness or an Instagram model or a status symbol. And definitely not “I have had pets all my life, so I can bring a dog after marriage”. A dog is a family member. Most of the people will get a dog and within a month return it. So, think about all the aspects before you decide for a commitment of their life time. He might only be here for a part of your life, but for him, you are his whole life. Remember that people. Dogs are forever, not until you get tired of them – be sure before you get one and once you do, he is for life! Would you return or abandon a baby no matter what the reason? Then why abandon a dog?

Be the one with a mountain to climb…

“Do not go gentle into the good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” An amazing poem by Dylan Thomas which speaks about those who actually live out their lives will better see how life has been bright for them, before going towards the sleep of death. It emphasis that older men should fight fiercely and strongly against death.

I fell in love with this poem ever since I read it. But the message I want to portray here is that if you resist something, you give it power fueled by your own fear of it. Fear is a darker lower vibrational emotion; but, if that is what is keeping you from your happiness or freedom, then that is where the answers will be found – go into the good night.

By nature, I fear and panic a lot when something goes wrong even in the slightest manner. I put my life on hold till the problem is solved. But this is not how it should be. Being an over thinker, I put myself in such a bad position, that even my body falls ill; which in turn makes me go into hermit mode.

We fear failure, rejection, embarrassment, disappointment, etc. This hampers our daily growth, and, achieving our goals and dreams. I always find it hard to believe when each and every one around me tells me that I am a very confident girl or I am a very strong girl or I am fearless. Needless to say, no one knows the amount of fear I hold within me. When there is some random noise in the house, I fear that the ceiling will fall down. Where there is a short circuit happening 10 apartments away, I fear there will be a blast, and, how I will save Junior. When it is thundering, I feel the lightening will strike my building and we all will burn down. All these are silly things, but they hamper my daily activities, which in turn hinders my growth.

I am working on myself daily. It is a day-to-day struggle. There are times when life throws one blow over the other at me, but I still keep going. Because it is better to fight it out than to live life in fear. When I will be on my death bed, I want to be proud of myself and die peacefully knowing that I didn’t let myself down at any moment in life.

But you know what else keeps me going? My dogs. Yes, had they not been my motive to live, I would have fallen into depression long before. I know I have spoken about this many times. But today, it is a little different. Fear is a natural, powerful, and, primitive human emotion. Sometimes fear stems from real threats, but it can also originate from imagined dangers. Like the ones I face. Look at the irony, I never get scared of real threats, but I fear my imaginations. And this type of fear is more dangerous, because imaginations have no limits.

How my dogs have helped me? They divert my mind. Since my fears are imaginative, diverting my mind helps me calm down. Junior would randomly come to me looking with puppy eyes, and I will get up and start playing with him. When I lie down in bed, and I have no control over my thoughts, Casper and Junior would snore loudly, dream, move and fart, and mind is just diverted in a fraction of a second. My dogs are extremely important to me as I live alone. This wouldn’t have been the case if I would be living with my family.

Fear is unavoidable, and, when I have excess anxiety, my body and brain starts shutting down. This is one of the cons of living alone. Your mind starts playing tricks where you get consumed by it and fear the unknown. I stupefy when my friends tell me that it’s so amazing that I live alone. But as I always say, the grass is not green on the other side. And again, if it hadn’t been for my dogs, I would have not survived alone.

Today, I would like to share only two tips to help anyone suffering from imaginative fear like me. And that is, DO NOT resist it, and, celebrate your successes, no matter how small. Also, do not get confused between intuition and fear. Sometimes, it is our gut feeling telling us that something is genuinely wrong. Other times, it is just your imagination. Learn to differentiate by finding the core of it. But please, do not try to resist your fearful emotions. Let it come; Let it flow freely. Feel every ounce of it. Remind yourself that your anxiety is a store house of wisdom.

Many a times, imaginary fears are an outcome of old traumas. For me, this is absolutely true. And I know those traumas very well. Fortunately, I now know how to deal with them, but I am still working on the side effects that were left on me and that is the imaginary fears.

I now do not resist my fears. I feel it when it starts. And then I snap myself out of it by appreciating my courage. Till date, I have survived and thrived 100% of my bad days. Every time I don’t allow fear to keep me from doing something that scares me, I am making myself stronger and less likely to let the next fear attack stop me.

Start encouraging yourself by converting the outcome of fear into a positive thought. Transform all your fears into empowering visions of success. Take action in the face of fear. Be realistic. And celebrate every success. Make it a habit to celebrate than to sulk. Went one day without smoking, celebrate. Followed your diet for a week, celebrate. Received your degree, celebrate. Rejoice every good thing and make it a habit. So that when you have your next anxiety attack, you have more things to celebrate or be grateful about than to drown deep into fear. Small celebrations will one day lead you to the top of the mountain and shine. And then when you look back, you will realize that all the fears were nothing in front of your courage.

Remember, Fear is what MIGHT happen – not what WILL happen.

Do you want another dog?

As you all know, I am The “Accidental” Dog Mom. When I got Casper and Junior, I was not in a position to have dogs. But little did I know they were a blessing in disguise, and, now I am a proud and content mother of 2 beautiful fur Angels.

I have been asked this a lot of times, “would you get another dog after Junior?” And most of the times, my answer is NO. Not because of the responsibility or the costs that comes along with bringing up a fur baby; but because of the attachment and love that no matter what, I will never be prepared for their passing, inspite of knowing they won’t live as long as us.

Many a times, I ponder that I should adopt a stray dog or an abused or abundant dog to give him/her a better life. More often, my friends and family suggests to never get another dog. Their reasons are, “I am stuck”, “my future husband will not accept it”, etc. I know they only mean good, but the attachment and love for a dog is only known to us dog lovers.

I often believe, two dogs are better than one. But only when one brings them home at the same time or at a difference of a year or two. However, there are a lot of things to consider before getting another dog. You often wonder, “Wow! Let’s bring siblings, they bond instantly, your family is complete and you have an Instagram worthy content to share with the world.” Wait a minute! There are a million wrong reasons to get home a second pup. Some of them are:

  • Your family wants one
  • Your first dog has separation anxiety
  • Your first dog has developed an aggressive behavior
  • The first dog isn’t really the breed you wanted
  • You miss the puppy cuteness and play

Nevertheless, also consider the following reasons before getting a second dog:

  • You will spend more
  • Your first dog has already established his territory
  • Gender of the dog
  • Do you have time?
  • Do you have the energy to start all over again with the training?
  • Two dogs, double the fur
  • Space in your house
  • Travelling becomes difficult

I know some people, who bought a second dog after the death of their first dog. Then, I know some who were fostering a dog, fell in love, and, adopted him/her. Me for example, I got Junior because the one who was going to adopt him, never turned up. While I completely understand these reasons and they are unavoidable in most cases to get a second dog, you still need to know that adding another dog to your household is a big decision and definitely shouldn’t be brought for the wrong reasons.

A second dog can be double joy to the family, If done correctly and for the right reasons. But let me ask from the mental point of view – Is it just me or does anyone else think that they cannot bare to come to terms of getting too attached with the dog and eventually they will leave earlier than us? I have lost Casper suddenly and untimely. Till date I have not overcome his passing. I still cry when I miss him a lot. And I dread losing Junior, even though I know I have to be prepared for it.

My dogs have just not been my emotional support, but my companions, my best friends, my children, and my entire life rotates around them. And when I lost Casper, a part of me also went away with him. For me, getting another dog once Junior gets old or worse (which I do not want to mention), is like considering between having another faithful friend who loves you unconditionally for almost 15 years or living in fear and then sorrow all your life once they are gone. No dog is replaceable. Junior can never fill the void that Casper left, and no other dog can fill the void after Junior. I am financially stable, I have space, I have an excellent experience in handling dogs, but I still am indecisive in getting another dog.

Do you’ll consider this point of view before getting another dog? As I know some who never bought another dog for the same reason as the attachment is so great, that you fear losing them every single day. Please share your views on this. It would be enlightening to hear from you’ll.

Celebrating One Year of Blogging!

I am so elated at this moment to celebrate my one year of Blogging; to say that I am cherry and merry just does not do enough justice to my feelings! I remember, for the longest time I wanted to start my own blog to share my life experiences, and, the importance of dogs in my life. But somehow, my actions were always blocked by an invisible anxiety. Had it not been for my friend & business partner, who learnt about my passion and encouraged me to act on it, I wouldn’t be having a toast of completing this wonderful one year of Blogging.

Today, as I am typing this, at one side I feel nothing has changed. But on the other hand, when I reflect on the past year, everything has changed; except for Junior and his unconditional love. Allow me share my experience of Blogging in the past year.

It started with, I was sitting in my partner’s office having a light hearted chat with him, where I mentioned about my dream to start a blog. He lent an ear and then opened his browser, booked a domain, made me a profile on WordPress and told me to get started. I was flabbergasted. But that maneuver gave me a push, and, finally made me work on my dream. Initially, I was scared as I didn’t know how to work on WordPress and honestly, I didn’t even know where to begin with or which topic to start off with first. Nevertheless, my friend helped me out in that as well.

Isn’t it staggering, this past year changed everyone’s lives! The pandemic ruined so many beings than built a living. Many breathed their last, numerous lost their jobs and houses, the depression rates are at all-time high. And now, all of us are limping back to normality. Whereas, for me, it was a good opportunity to build my blog and share my raw experiences with all of you. I also took a new turn in my career and started a new business. Junior fell seriously ill and recovered. I got divorced. I also relocated. Woah! So many escapades and yet, here I am; sitting with my cup of tea and Junior by my side. So many changes, yet somethings never change.

Blogging has helped me to share my piece of ups and downs without being judged and without any fear. I am so glad I got at it; or else my fear would have always kept me away from this wonderful experience to all intents and purposes of openly being who I am.

In true words, this is honestly a celebration as I have received a lot of feedback from friends and followers telling me how some of my posts have inspired them in their personal lives and how they look forward to read more every Thursday. Nothing better than being a tribute in uplifting someone’s soul, right!

Besides personal life, I also got a lot of insight about dogs wellbeing which time and again I anticipated in sharing here. It wasn’t that I always had something to write. There were days when I struggled with topics to share. Into the bargain, I have even been rebuked by my friend for not sharing much about dogs sometimes. Nonetheless, I always had a comeback in a way that, “I am a dog mom, I have a personal life as well. I can always share that side of my life. And for all that we know, Casper and Junior have always been my strong pillars.”

It has been overwhelming to read comments, appreciation and even criticism. All this only pushes me to be as authentic, and, raw as I am, and deliver useful content to help anyone out there. I have also shared my other hobbies of cooking and painting which too received a good response. Whereas that’s just a part of me, I will always want to be known as a proud Dog Mom.

I would like to thank each and every one of you for being a part of my journey, for encouraging me and for your continuous support. It gives me immense pleasure to share this gratitude with all you people and I am blessed to have a very supporting family and microscopic but profuse friend circle who have always been a brawny support system in my life. I will continue sharing rightful and veritable posts and your sustained assistance is highly appreciated. Thank You!!!

Moving house is another way to have a New Beginning.

Moving to a new home might not seem like the most profound experience at first blush, but it can symbolize a lot of things. Change, no matter how wonderful and full of opportunity, has perplexed and challenged and inspired humans for eternity. But being a dog mom, moving challenges was a fear I had in the back of mind forever as I was resilient to any change.  What I learnt was when shifting to a new house, don’t do anything to make your dog adjust to the new place. Yes, you read it right. Don’t do anything! Let your dog adjust on his own. It is more of you learning about his adjustments than he learning.

To start from the beginning, I recently moved to a new house. When I had started packing in the old house, Junior sensed that we are going somewhere. He probably thought it was a holiday. But when we shifted and stayed the night over, he got a little cranky and uneasy as he wanted to go back to his old house. Though he slept well through the night, but that was because he was tired. Next morning, he was extremely uneasy, and, even attempted to run out of the house when I had opened the door for someone.

Honestly, I just let him be and continued with his feeding and walking routine. Slowly, Junior spotted his comfort zone in the new house just the same way he had in the old house. I kept observing; Initially, I took him for short walks because I wanted to let Junior get familiar with the new surrounding and also was afraid of any stray dogs attacking him as Junior was invading their territory. At home, I changed Junior’s water bowl position quite a few times before I could understand his comfortable spot to drink.

Living in Mumbai, I cannot take my dogs out for walks often. So I had always trained my dogs to pee in the toilet whenever they felt like out of walking hours. In the new house, the first day, infact in the first 5 minutes, Junior peed in the passage. So just to make him understand that that wasn’t the place for him to pee, I spoke to him in a little stern voice and he realized he did something wrong. Next time when he wanted to pee, I opened the toilet door and directed him to pee there. And Bravo! Ever since Junior has peed only in the toilet. It took him and me only one incident and correction to help him find the spot.

Honestly, it is never easy when you are shifting somewhere with dogs. I would have relocated a year back, but I kept delaying thinking about his adjustments, the surrounding, neighbors, etc. I realized that I was living in my comfort zone and fear. After moving in to the new place, I comprehended that earlier I was living like in a non livable house and just because of over thinking, I never took the initiative to move out. Once I moved, I understood that I was living a lot in my head. It just took me 1 week of effort and toll, and here I am, living the way Junior and I deserve. Because of my habit of overanalyzing and over scrutinizing, I had even made Junior live in compromise. I am guilty but I have learnt from this experience. It has taught me that fear is just an illusion. It eats up your present and a potential future. It literally took only 2 days for Junior to adjust on his own in the new apartment. He now has a new comfort spot for him to laze around, he has smoothly uncovered his play setting and most of all, he has made new stray dog friends.

One advice, if you live in a city where there are a lot of stray dogs and you are impelling to a new area, never let your dog come close to strays for the initial few days. Because, even the stray dogs take some time to understand that you are not a threat to them and they won’t attack you. It’s a piece of cake after a little while.

The best part of moving this time was my first meeting with the building secretary. When I switched my house, I was introduced to the secretary as a formality and identification. I assured him that my dog is very well mannered and harmless. On hearing that, he told me, “Dogs are more mannered and understanding than humans, so relax and enjoy your stay.” I was so happy on hearing that and the warm welcome we got. Because this was not the case when I had shifted to my previous house. That time, my neighbors came fighting and claiming that dogs are not allowed. Other building members had threatened me of dire consequences, and, immediately Casper fell ill, and, passed away. This was the main reason why I was reluctant to switch my house. I kept thinking that, even at the new house my neighbors will hate my dog, the building people will loathe me and Junior and I will have to remain in a shell.

Fortunately, by God’s Grace, we are doing good. So far, everything has unfolded in a positive way, and, I am looking forward to let life’s event unfold one day at a time. I didn’t force Junior to adjust, and that made him adjust quicker. The new house just didn’t open my eyes, but also helped me let go of some of my fears and made me realize Junior and my worth. We were living in a shady house thinking it was the best and never relocated out of fear. But once the plunge was taken, it raised our caliber.

If even a slight hope shows up in any situation, go for it without fear and doubt. You never know, it can change your life for the best. The one who tries never fails. My last experience was bad, but this time I took the leap of faith and it turned out to be a good thing to have happened. I won’t say I am living in a palace, but it is an extremely good upgrade. So, stretch out if you want to do something. Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new. Let your fears drown and take the leap. And do not worry about your dog. They are very smart and adjust on their own with ease.

Tricky Moments

Have you ever had a moment of blank out; a moment when something so scary happened, that within a matter of milliseconds, millions of thoughts rushed through your mind, squeezing your heart with the pressure equivalent to a zillion tons! I have gone through this more than a few times, and, as many of you may be assuming by now; it was not due to my ex or a failed relationship, but rather due to my dogs! While some of these moments were really scary, others were funny. But as it’s said, life is about moments. The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experiences, whether good or bad. Sharing some of my bad and good experiences where in some I cried, and others I laughed.

Let me start with the scariest, and, worst moment with Casper. When my ex-husband and I lived in Mumbai, we would set off to our farm house in Karjat every weekend. Of course, Casper would always be with us, and, we would all get time to spend with our other two dogs (Coal and Ruby) in Karjat. Casper too would get an open space to play, swim, and socialize with Coal and Ruby. Since there were no restaurants or vegetable market next to our farm house, we would always make a quick stop at a restaurant which was half an hour away from our farm house, pick up some food and then proceed to the farm house.  This one time, when as usual we stopped at the restaurant, I opened the car door to get out taking all precautions that Casper doesn’t come out. But somehow he managed to escape. My ex-husband had already walked a few steps towards the restaurant and I was near the car. I tried getting close to Casper (biggest mistake) but Casper thought we had to play, and, to my horror, ran straight towards the highway. I let out a loud cry because I saw a truck approaching, and, within a second I thought I had lost Casper today. Hearing my cry, my ex-husband immediately ran towards Casper. By then I had already closed my eyes and started crying hysterically. After a few minutes, I heard my ex-husband calling me and telling me to open my eyes. I opened my eyes and saw Casper was in his arms – safe and sound. He had a narrow escape. I still get goosebumps thinking about this day.

Besides that, I had a very funny incident with Casper. My whole family along with Casper and Junior had gone for a long weekend to Deolali. The house that we have in Deolali is in a society which consists of 6 bungalows. All the bungalows were filled as it was the Diwali weekend, and everyone had come there with their family and friends. I was scared because I had 2 dogs with me and there were a lot of kids. Thankfully, Casper and Junior were welcomed with open arms and everyone had a great time. One morning, when I went for a shower, I had given my dogs responsibility to my brother in law to just keep an eye on them till I get free. My brother in law got up to have water and in no time, Casper and Junior ran out of the house, and, managed to enter all the other 5 bungalows, steal their breakfast, and, came back, almost smirking! I had come out of shower by then, and my brother in law briefed me as to what happened. A few moments later, I saw my neighbor coming towards us, and I was relatively sure that I was in for an argument to keep my dogs under control. I was so scared that I told my mom to face her and tell her sorry. But instead, she gave some food to Junior, and, told my mom that Casper was leading the way and alone ate all the food leaving nothing for Junior, so she came to feed Junior. Ha ha ha ha!

Let me share some events about Junior. Before that, let me brief you about the difference between Casper and Junior’s behavior. Casper’s recall command was very weak. Since he was my first dog, I didn’t have much knowledge about training dogs and followed whatever the trainer told me. So for Casper, if you get close to him, he would feel that it’s time to play catch and cook, and he would start running in the opposite direction. As for Junior, he is well trained but post Casper’s death, if any person or dog comes close to him, he feels they are approaching him to play.

When Junior was a puppy, his favorite place to hide was below the divan (a kind of an Indian sofa where you can spread your legs out and relax). On a regular day as I was running errands, I realized I hadn’t seen Junior around. I searched everywhere in the house and couldn’t find him. Panic struck, and, I started searching for him in my apartment tower, asked the watchman, went on the road, etc. but he was found nowhere. I came back home to call my ex-husband. Just then, I thought about looking below or near the divan; and that’s where I found Junior looking at me right in the eyes with that innocent look as if he never heard me calling out his name. I was overwrought for 30 minutes in looking him and calling out his name, but Junu acted so innocent. And as we all know, we get hypnotized by those puppy eyes and cannot stay angry with our fur babies. In true sense, this was a mini heart attack where I was terrified, eased and chuckled all at the same time.

One morning, when I was walking Junior, there was a stranger standing near a building waiting for the watchman to open the gate. When I looked at him, I noticed he looked a little nervous and was desperately waiting to enter safely in building because he was already scared of the stray dogs. He too noticed us walking towards his direction, but we were just taking our usual rounds. As we reached a little closer, out of nowhere Junior unpredictably ran towards that man. Since I wasn’t expecting this, the sudden tug made me let go of the leash and Junior started jumping on that already petrified man and that man started screaming “bachao-bachao” (help-help in Hindi) and started perspiring as if a lion was let loose. I wanted to laugh my lungs out that moment, but as soon as I could, I got hold of Junior’s leash and pulled him away from that man. I have never seen anyone run as fast as that man into the building in my life. I felt sorry for him, and, guilty for laughing, but this time someone else experienced a mini attack because of my dog.

Life is indeed full of moments, good or bad; that there are so many other big and small occurrences, like once Junior was left without a leash at the beach and he ran so far in the water that my friend just jumped in with his clothes and shoes to bring him back, or once Casper and Junior were locked out in balcony by my maid unintentionally because she thought they were in the room, and when I came home and couldn’t find them, etc. But all these moments make life worth living. There is no good without the bad and there is no bad without the good, like Yin and Yang. The best thing is, All’s well that ends well. Be precautious but don’t miss out on any moments due to stress or fear. Learn from the bad ones, and, cherish the good ones. We must slow down, and remember, how precious it is to be alive, to love, and, be loved.

11 Things My Dogs Have Taught Me

I had never thought my life would change so much after getting my dogs. Being a proud mom to two beautiful fur babies, I can bet that dogs are the best creatures that God has made. They have taught me a lot of things, but the most important of it was, being a decent human being. Here’s what I have learnt from my best friend, my companion, my babies, my dogs:

1. Loyalty:

My dogs don’t care if I am rich, poor, ugly, pretty, living in a big house or small. They always come running to me to shower me with kisses when I come home. After my separation from my ex-husband, I was forced to give my dogs for adoption. But they had taught me how to be loyal under any circumstances. So I fought for them, went against the world and never gave them up. They taught me that it is very easy to be loyal. The bond so strong and pure, that it is impossible to keep us apart.

2. Live in the moment:

Do dogs ever think what tomorrow will bring for them or what happened yesterday? No! They just live in the moment. Even if they have been having the same routine for years, they get happy at every walk or every meal that is served. We torture ourselves so much by thinking about the past or future, that we forget to live in the present. But my dogs have actually taught me to LIVE NOW, to be happy with what you have now. Hope for a good future, but never expect.

3. It doesn’t take much to make someone smile:

Even if my dog is sleeping, I will just end up smiling by realizing the simple fact that he exists. But honestly, my dogs make me smile and laugh instantly by just doing anything. I had read an article about a person who had left a suicide note before he took his life. The note said, “even if one person smiles at me today, I will not commit suicide.” I don’t know how far this is true, but one smile can definitely make a difference in someone’s life. So smile often.

4. Some of the best times are spent at home:

I am a very different person now than what I was during my young days. Those times, I would stay out all day long, meet friends, go bowling, play snooker, etc. But now, I love spending time at home with my dogs, in the peace and comfort of my space. Trust me, these are the best moments and I wouldn’t compromise this for any parties or outings. This has made me more of a peaceful person who believes in spending quality time with the ones you love.

5. Family keeps you going on the worst day:

This has been the most important realization by far. I have faced some bad days in my life where once I tried to commit suicide. But my dogs saved me. They have been my reason to live. And not just live, but to thrive. Had it not been for my dogs, parents and brother, I would have either been into depression or probably be dead. Always keep your family close. You will be replaced in a job or replaced by your lover, but never replaced in family. And your dogs will always be waiting for you their whole life. I am sure, everyone has heard or read about Hachiko. So, always keep going for your dogs, for your family.

6. Being fearless:

This doesn’t mean I never get scared. Yes, I do fear. But when it’s time, I throw my fear in the bin and face things with a brave face. I will give you an example. Once I was walking Casper and Junior and this auto rickshaw drive purposely banged into Junior (not hard) and started driving. I let out a loud abuse to him. He stopped his rickshaw, got out, picked a stone and started running towards me to hit me and my dogs. That was time when I said, “come what may, I will protect my dogs from this filthy man.” But before I could react, Casper pounced on that man, scared him and shooed him off. Because Caspu too thought the same, that anyhow he had to protect his Mumma. Fearlessly fight for the ones you love and who loves you.

7. Being happy and content in what and how much I have:

When I see Casper and Junior, I feel like the richest woman in this world. All I want is their good health, long life and their safety. They are my life’s most precious treasure. When Casper passed away, my world had come crashing down. But I had to live and come out of my depression for Junior. I didn’t bounce back for a luxury car or more money or a new boyfriend. I became me again for what was left, and that was Junior. I am more than happy to live in bare minimum, as far as I have Junior with me.

8. Make life simple:

People are strange. So much potential, yet here they are, doing everything that complicates their lives rather than simplifying it. My dogs taught me that if you cannot get something, pee on it, throw some mud and get moving. Just keep it that simple. If there is something you cannot change, why bother. And if there is something that you can change, change it and stop worrying.

9. Never grow old:

Your body may grow old, but always stay young at heart. Junior is aging, but I always tell everyone that he is still like a 2-year-old baby, and I just want to be like him. My dogs have kept me physically active also, but I still play hide-n-seek with my dogs, throw the ball, running around. All this keeps me still young at heart and happy. Just like Junior, who is 8+ years old, but still enjoys playing and belly rubs and ice creams, I too will enjoy all the little things even when I turn old.

10. Always keep a little Wolf in you:

Always keep that 20% wolf in you. If you ever give it up, you’re done. The beauty of a great dog doesn’t lie in its obedience but in its loyalty. Loyalty is a choice. Dogs choose to be dogs and not wolves. That’s what makes them so special. Same way, keep a little wolf within you. You never know, when you have to bring it out.

11. It is very easy to love one person your entire life:

In today’s world, where divorce and breaking up has become a trend, my dogs have taught me that one person is enough to love in a million ways. Every time I look at my dogs, I fall in love with them all over again. They have taught me different ways of loving one person. They have taught to me to love without limits, unconditional love, pure love.

If there is anything that my dogs have not taught me, it is to live without them. I still grieve Casper’s death. That void has never been filled and never will be. But he taught me valuable lessons in my life. Most of all, he saved my life. And for Junior, he still fills my life with a lot of joy, happiness and love. This Accidental Dog Mom is so grateful to God for accidentally bringing her dogs into her life and making her a good human being.

What Anxiety Feels Like!

Palpitations, want to cry but cannot, excess urination, fear of something might go wrong or something bad is going to happen, uneasiness, etc. Sounds familiar?

I am not an expert or a doctor. Neither do I know any big and scientific words. So today I am going to explain to you my anxiety problem in the rawest language and how I deal with it.

First let us understand the difference between depression and anxiety. Depression is when you live in the past, and, recall the bad times, and, cannot get over it. Anxiety is when you want all your answers today or you want to figure out the answers to your thoughts right away but are unable to reach a decisive conclusion. The fear of the unknown is what causes anxiety!

I suffer from overthinking which leads to anxiety. I am not on any medications right now, but if the need be, I will not hesitate to take professional or medical help.

So, here is how I go through the episodes of my anxiety, or in simpler words – Panic Attacks and tips on how I deal with it.

  1. Starts in the evening

Every time I am about to get a panic attack or just an anxiety chapter, I start feeling uneasy from around 5pm or 6pm in the evening. I get this gut feeling that I am overthinking something and am going to get a panic attack soon, or maybe just have a bad evening and I need to stable myself from now. The moment I realize this, I finish all my work at the earliest to ground myself and let my emotions flow.

  • Excessive worrying

It is normally something that triggers me. For example, if I came across an animal abuse video or an article of a sudden death or the latest – coronavirus death, etc. To be honest, I do not get triggered easily; I have a very strong mind and will power, but if it is the wrong day, I will pretty much get triggered by anything. This will lead to excessive worrying about that situation. Sometimes when I do not know what has triggered me, I will worry so much that my mind will reach the year 2050 and think what I will be doing that time!

  • Restlessness and irritability (feeling detached to things)

I become extremely restless. I will pace around the whole house, keep checking Junior if he is alright even though I know he is fine. I will keep changing the TV channels or would just do some random work or start cleaning the house. Cleaning the house helps me in staying calm. In this time if someone calls, then I unfortunately end up removing all my frustration on that person. I always avoid meeting people or talking over the phone till I am blue in the face. It will invariably lead to a fight.

  • Difficulty in breathing. Headaches, pain in the chest, neck, and shoulders

Due to overthinking or a triggered situation, I start panicking which leads to difficulty in breathing and results in excessive pain in the chest, neck, and shoulders. Sometimes, it feels like getting a heart attack and I will not make through the situation alive.

  • Fear and going radio silent

This is my worse and biggest symptom. I start fearing the unknown. Even if I know the reason of my anxiety, I will still fear that something bad is going to happen. One by one, I will start over thinking about all the situations in my life which will lead to impossible thoughts and an unknown fear of what if it never gets better. I also feel I am bringing everyone else down with my anxiety. So, I resist from sharing my problems with others.

  • Panic Attack

Not always do I reach this stage, but when I do, I feel I will not survive the night. I normally get panic attacks in the night only. There is an unknown fear. They last till I fall asleep after crying my eyes out. My heartbeats are super-fast, I have frequent urination, I am crying nonstop and worrying about something that has not happened yet and may not even happen. I have difficulty to control my thoughts at this stage and my hands and feet become cold and start paining.

Being a strong-minded girl; the frequency of my panic attacks is very low. This was not the case earlier. Earlier I used to get panic attacks every week. Now I may get once in 6 months.

This is how I feel and what I go through when I have one of those bad days. I have never got any thoughts of suicide. But once I get back to normal, I feel very guilty of ignoring Junior during that period. But you know what the best thing is. Dogs are so smart that they understand when you are not feeling well. When Junior realizes that his Mumma is not doing well, he will reach his favourite spot, lie down and constantly stare at me or he will come and sleep on my lap. That sweet little boy will never trouble me during that time. By trouble means, will not keep patting my shoulders for treats or bark or run around. In a way, I can proudly say that till this day if I have not gone mad, is only because of Casper and Junior.

There is one trick I have learnt how to deal with my anxiety. The trick is, SELF LOVE. I know it sounds familiar and heard a lot of times. But SELF LOVE is the best medicine for all times. Whenever you are feeling anxious, let your feelings flow. Do not resist your feelings or forcefully think positive thoughts. Never trust everything your mind says. Because only 10% of the things happen of what we have thought. Sometimes, even that does not happen. Everyone has their own struggles and battles. You do not have to put on a front to make others comfortable or happy. Depression or Anxiety comes from a place of self-doubt which was a result of rejection or abuse or cheating or death or or or………. The list can go on. But if you practice SELF LOVE every day, you will get through this with ease. Keep telling yourself that you are a good person, you have not done anything bad to anyone, so nothing bad will happen to you. You are beautiful/handsome. No matter what, GET UP, DRESS UP AND SHOW UP. Dress up tidy every day. Do your nails, get a haircut, treat yourself with a lavish dinner occasionally, exercise, and play with your children or dogs. In short, purposely stay happy. Soon it will become a habit. Remember, no one comes to save us. We must save ourselves. Our happiness is in our hands.

My anxiety started when my first boyfriend (before marriage) cheated on me. I was young that time and I did not know what a panic attack was. But I constantly kept getting it and named it “breathing problem”. But yes, we have deep wounds which are not healed, or they keep repeating, like in my case, whoever I dated or married, I was left for someone else. So, I never got a chance to heal my wounds. And was labeled as an over thinker. But now I don’t give a piece of shit for others, for I have Junior and what more can you ask when you have someone who loves you unconditionally and the most loyal creature on this planet. Walking him, playing with him, feeding him, and doing everything that is required for him is making me stronger every passing day both physically and mentally. Casper and Junior are God sent to me. Had it not been for them, I would not be here writing this blog.

Fit to Fat to Fit!

I am overwhelmed to share with you my incredible, and, almost impossible journey from fat to fit in just 6 months. Why impossible? Because I am a big time foodie. As you can see in many of my posts, I love cooking and trying out new dishes all the time. I wasn’t like this always though.

In my teens, my lifestyle wasn’t exactly healthy; I would wake up around noon and post that, I would freshen up and straight leave for college. Breakfast was always skipped, and lunch was junk food at all times. Ironically, I was super skinny then despite of surviving only on junk and deep-fried food. Then I got engaged, and, married at a very early age, and started putting on weight. In denial, I chose to blame it on the happy hormone, but the fact was, I had stopped caring for my body all the more after marriage thinking “I do not have to impress anyone now. I got my prince charming and it is forever.”

When I was 16, then 25 and now at 36 years old.

Apart from having a senseless thinking, I had a senseless way of eating too. I won’t be wrong if I say “I just couldn’t stop eating.” From a twiggy 44 kgs damsel, in a matter of just a few months I was 68 Kgs and still gaining, all this at the age of 23 years. From a size 0, I jumped the ladder to a size 12, which was not only physically visible but also affected me medically giving me constipation and acidity. Now, you may be wondering that 68 kgs doesn’t really sound too heavy or worrisome. Trust me, when I say this, it is extremely worrisome! As per my body statistics, my ideal weight should be between 48 to 52 kgs. The worse part was that I was living in complete denial that my lifestyle wasn’t unhealthy one bit, and, I chose to completely ignore the long-term damages.

Too glam to give a damn!

Then life took a U Turn (as mentioned in my previous posts). I was awakened, and, decided to start working on myself, physically, and, mentally. I was head strong this time, and determined, to get to my ideal body weight under any circumstances. I started consulting a renowned dietitian; the best thing about his diet was that it was more of a lifestyle diet rather than just target weight oriented, and one could follow it even after they have reached their ideal weight. That diet is an integral part of my life even today. I am never starved, I do have my cheat days, and thoroughly enjoy my daily meals and fit life. With the lifestyle change, the medical issues vanished and I no longer have constipation or acidity. Although he is no more now, till date I am thankful to my dietitian for revolutionizing my lifestyle. Believe it or not, he worked till his late 80s before he passed away.

Before and After

It’s not that that I had not tried dieting before. I had; and miserably failed. My failure was due to being starved which lead to lack of motivation and will power. I would follow the diet for a month, then would return to my old dumb habits. KITO, detox, treatments, etc., you name it.

My present scenario, I am 48 kgs and size 2 at the age of 36 years. I lost 20 kgs in 6 months 8 years ago, and I am still maintained. All my hard work, dedication and the right information is still paying off. What diet did I follow and what exercises did I do? Let me share all my tips with you.

Then and Now
  • First and foremost, my dietician wrote down a few blood tests to rule out any underlying disease. And just in case anything came up, he would prescribe a diet accordingly.
  • It is a little slow process for women with PCOD/PCOS or thyroid to lose weight, but not impossible.
  • Since I had no underlying disease, I was put on his regular diet which included Wheat, Dal, Rice, Milk and looooooooooots of Vegetables.
  • Never stay hungry for more than 2 hours. Apart from your Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, have one sugar free and cream free biscuit hourly.
  • My last meal of the day, is at 6.30 pm, max at 7pm. Before bed, I have a cup of tea or butter milk.
  • From the past 1.5 years I have been going to the gym to tone my body. Prior to that, my only workout during the process of losing weight was walking my dogs three times a day, each time for 20 minutes (I am so thankful to them). You can go for a walk for an hour at a stretch too.
  • Consume a lot of veggies. It will help to keep full, you won’t starve and it’s the healthiest option.
  • My daily diet:
    • A big cup of Masala Tea + 2 Marie Biscuits for Breakfast.
    • 2 Wheat Rotis + half bowl of Curd + lots of cooked Vegetables for Lunch. (you can modify as per your liking like vegetable parathas or vegetable sandwich)
    • A big cup of Masala Tea + 2 Marie Biscuits for Supper.
    • A small bowl of White Rice mixed with Dal and Vegetables for early dinner. (sometimes, you can substitute rice with pastas or sandwich again or dosa or idli)
    • Butter Milk before bed.
    • 8-10 Marie Biscuits throughout the day.
    • 1 hour of Walk

Since I am a vegetarian, this is my diet. Please do note that I do not have any underlying issues. It would be advisable to get your blood work and other tests done or consult a good dietician before jumping into anything which would be drastic in any sense.

My weight loss not only cured my constipation and acidity problem, but boosted my confidence to another level. Now I love dressing up, I look prettier than before, I look younger than my age, I ran my first Marathon, I am less stressed and mentally fit too. I can work for hours without feeling lethargic.

Weight loss is not just to look pretty. Infact, looking good is just a small part of it. A healthy weight loss without starving yourself will keep you FIT for the longest time and you will not even relapse. By relapse I mean, many people feel that eating less will help them loose weight faster. Yes, it is true, but then you will relapse and gain double the weight of what you originally were. Remember! All the efforts, and, hard work you put in to lose weight, should not backfire by gaining double. It’s the most common problem.

So please, choose a dietitian who will give you a lifestyle diet and not just target weight diet. It has been 8 years since I lost my excess weight and I am still slim, trim and fit. 

Life would be RUFF without you!

Had we ever even imagined that in our entire life time we would be in a situation like the ones we are in today? Arrogant humanity always thought that among all living beings only humans can write a sensational story in the world! But here’s a nano organism called corona-virus – proved the opposite of this!  But the fact is that the mind is more powerful than the body and it’s all a matter of acceptance! We all panicked first when the lock-down was first imposed, and, now we are adopting to this new lifestyle which has come to be known and the “new normal”.

In India, the lock-down was imposed on the 24th of March 2020 for 21 days initially.  My first few days went in utter panic as to how am I going to stay at home alone with Junior. I also feared Junior’s walks and well-being for staying locked in for 21 days. But as days passed by, the fear subsided and I started to accept the realty and make adjustments to living the new lifestyle. Junior, I must say, has been such a patient dog that he too adjusted to the new normal. As such, Dogs have a keen sixth sense and usually know when they should behave how. I read quite a few articles where some people adopted dogs during the lock-down to give them company; on the other hand I also hear stories about some people who chose to abandon their dogs as they either feared contracting the virus or just didn’t have enough money left to support the dog due to going out of work. Now, after 3 months and with some relaxations in place for the lock-down, I am reading that many who adopted dogs during lock-down are giving them up for adoption again. It is said Catastrophe reveals character, and those who are treating dogs as toys are in my opinion not worth being called humans.

I am a dog mom and under no circumstances I would ever abandon my dogs. Whether I have to get married, leave the country, the pandemic, any natural disaster, lack of money, etc. My dog is my baby and just because he is an animal, does not make his importance any less.  During these though times, I have tried to make Junior’s life as comfortable as I could. I agree it wasn’t easy, but, if you have the will, you will find the way. In these 3 months, I did have my ups and downs; I too got depressed and anxious for some reason or the other.  But I never let that affect Junior.

We lost a young and talented movie actor to suicide around 2 weeks ago. The whole country is mourning his death; Infact, many young kids who were his die-hard fans also committed suicide as they grieved over this news. There are a lot of speculations to why he took such a drastic step; some say he was in depression due to work, some say he had family issues. While the truth has gone to the grave with him, his demise has raised many questions about people suffering from depression. The reason I mention this is because, he had a dog too named Fudge; A very cute and adorable Labrador. It makes me wonder; didn’t he think of his dog before taking his life? Where was his dog when this happened? My mom always says, when a person wants to take his own life, it is just a matter of seconds, and if in those seconds someone calls or talks to them or diverts their mind, this can be averted. I can say this is 100% true. I remember the time when I was ready to commit suicide and just in the nick of time, Casper jumped on me and started licking my tears. That was the first and last time I had ever thought of taking my life. After that incident, I pledged to work on myself and my life, especially for my dogs. Had it not been for Casper, I wouldn’t be here right now writing this. There are many people who have come forward to adopt the late actor’s dog. I hope he finds a wonderful house, and, I also hope people understand that a dog is for life, not just for a global pandemic.

Are dogs really good for you? Let me share my views on this based on my personal experience:

  • Dogs are just not cuddle partners. In fact, they bring real health benefits. They help lower stress levels not only in adults but also in children. Dogs have also been linked to lower blood pressure.
  • Despite of gyms being shut and the inability to go out for walks, I have been physically active because of my dog. I literally have the best buddy to work from home, who gives me continues breaks by tapping on me so that I get up from my chair and give him a treat or give him belly rubs.
  • Dogs keep you mentally sane – Due to Junior, there has never been a dull or boring moment in all these days
  • Dogs are very alert and Junior is usually at the door even before the bell rings. Their sixth sense make them extremely intelligent companions
  • Dogs make you forget HATE; as such the word HATE does not exist in their dictionary
  • My dogs not only saved my life, but If I am even just sad, they cuddle me and all my sadness is driven away. Even though I feel I am taking care of my dogs, the reality is, they are taking care of me
  • I automatically become more attractive to people when I say I have a dog J hahaha true!
  • I sleep well and fearless at night; I practically need no one to talk to, because I keep talking to my dogs and they listen without judging me
  • My dog’s social media account has more followers than my personal account (rolling eyes)
  • I have made more friends in the past few years because of my dogs
  • If I am on the phone for too long, he starts growling and barking at me to hang up, sometimes it’s the best thing to end a boring phone call J
  • He is the best excuse for me to come home early as I do not like socializing a lot
  • I love my space and when some people want to hang out with me uninvited, I suddenly remember I have to take Junior for a walk J

Let’s all us pet parents agree, some way or the other we have used our dog’s excuse to get out of a boring or unwanted situation. Isn’t it? The only disadvantage of a dog is, their short lives. Apart from that, I am a very happy and content person now. And I cannot thank God enough for sending my dogs to me accidentally. This lock-down made me realize, we need very little to live happily, and if you have the company of a dog, life is still so beautiful even though there are speculations that the world in going to end. It’s really all about being content with what we have, and what we can make out of it. We can either sit and crib today speculating the tomorrow; or we can live today and have fond memories of it tomorrow. The only thing to remember is today can never be lived again, and the last thing we want is to tomorrow repent wasting our today!

Don’t shop, Adopt!

Many of you must have heard the latest catch-phrase, “Adopt, Don’t Shop?” If not, then you might be wondering what it means. Adopt, Don’t Shop is a campaign slogan that a growing number of animal rights proponents are using to promote adopting pets from shelters, rather than buying them from pet stores. Now you must be wondering that I had 2 dogs, both Labradors, one passed away and the other I can’t top raving about, and, I am talking about adopting and not shopping? As oxymoron my title and my current life may sound; I can safely confess that I realised this only after getting my dogs and becoming an animal lover. Today, I take care of some stray dogs, and over a period of time I have realised that no matter the breed, each and every dog has only two things to give, unconditional love and loyalty.

Initially when I was a new dog mom, wasn’t much involved with strays; as funny as it may sound, my involvement with stray dogs has also been accidental. One day, I was driving through my local market and had to suddenly brake as there were puppies on the road. On reaching home, I couldn’t stop thinking about them, and so, the very next day, I went back to the same spot with a packet of milk. I wasn’t even aware how many puppies were there or if they were even being looked after; I just went there to feed them. Now that I think about, my love for strays didn’t exactly start there. When I was living happily with my husband, I would always see a stray dog at a particular hour come near my apartment in search of food. I guess it all began back then; I would feed that dog every evening after realising his pattern.

Post separation, I shifted to a rented house and continued to take care of any and every dog I could. Once, I recollect, I saw a puppy limping at a traffic signal which was at walking distance to my house. I immediately went there and noticed there were not one, but two puppies out of which one was hit by a car. I called an NGO and got the puppy admitted to a hospital. Since I was in continues touch with them, the NGO volunteers informed me that the puppy’s internal organs were inflated and had to undergo a major surgery for the same. I donated some money, and after the puppy recovered, he was adopted by a loving and caring lady. His brother, unfortunately was not so fortunate, and while I would take care of him and give him the vitamins he needed, one day when I went to feed him, he was nowhere to be found and the locals informed me that the puppy passed away suddenly.

A piece of advice for all those of you who want to feed puppies’ milk; dogs genetically are lactose intolerant. So, if you intend to feed them milk, please dilute the milk with water. 1/3rd Milk and 2/3rd Water. When I used to feed the stray puppies in the market, a very old gentleman man there as well would come often to feed them. I was glad to see that there were still people living who cared. Soon it became my routine to feed those puppies on my way to work. From there, my journey began and without even noticing, I started looking after more than 40 stray dogs. Each one I would get neutered, vaccinated, fed, etc. I have even had a million fights with people for feeding them. Some for religious reason, some for spreading dirt, some with the fear of being bitten and some for no reason at all.

Not many people in the world know the realty about stray dogs; majority believe strays are untouchable beasts and carrier of rabies whose only motive in life is to bite them. What they fail to understand is that no creature bites without a reason. They bite only if threatened, or if they have had a bad past experience with humans.  If you have hit them, or something that a human has done has scared them, their natural defence mechanism will kick in and they will tend to bite as a reflex action.

The one thing we as humans are the worst at is being human! At times, we are so harsh and cruel that we forget that even strays are living beings who feel pain, anger, sorrow and happiness, just like us! All these strays want is some food, and a little love. It is a pitiful situation for them to run about for food and they don’t even know when and where their next meal will come from. To add up to their misery, the harsh weathers of the country severely affect them. I have lost several dogs and puppies to rains in Mumbai. Last year, one of my stray dogs had 6 puppies right before rains. Let me tell you, rains in Mumbai are pretty heavy. After the first rainfall, I lost all the 6 puppies as the bitch and one more stray dog got stuck in the drainage as they were trying to take shelter from the rains. Another incident that still brings tears to my eyes; I had once gone to feed some puppies in an under construction building. All the puppies came running towards me except two. When I went towards them, they had both passed away hugging each other in their sleep due to the severe cold weather. I have seen many dogs run over by cars, many being poisoned and some even being stoned. The laws in my country are weak and not at all strict against animal cruelty. So, the culprit always walks out free on bail within minutes of being reported. I myself face a lot of issues in my apartment because they do not like dogs and pick up fights for no reason. People have actually threatened me to throw me out of the building because of my dogs’ inspite of laws clearly saying that no apartment complex can ban dogs.

What people don’t understand that Indian strays are not only intelligent, but over the years their survival skills have made them live longer with lesser medical complications. My parents had adopted a stray dog in their apartment building. We called him Caddy. He was such a calm and patient dog. At the same time, he was so alert that in his entire life spam of 16 years that he lived in their building, they didn’t have one single robbery or theft. Even today, every morning when I go down to walk Junior and feed my dogs, they are eagerly waiting for me wagging their tails at the building gate. Not just that, there has been an incident when I was inappropriately approached by a man, but my stray immediately realized the danger and started barking at him, ensuring he left me alone. Love, loyalty and security, this is what every dog gives. No matter the breed or colour. And this I learnt after having Casper and Junior. I have pledged that if ever I get another dog, it will be a stray dog or an abandoned dog or a dog that has been the longest in a shelter or the most undesirable one. Because, every dog is an angel and every dog deserves a home.

Playing with one of Junior’s toys

How your mood affects your dog

Dogs can experience both positive and negative emotions. They can experience pleasure, comfort, fear, and anxiety. Dog’s ability to communicate with humans is unlike any other species in the animal kingdom.  Having said that; dogs can catch our (humans) emotions very well. They seem to possess a special skill for knowing exactly how we’re feeling.

As a pet parent, we also have to keep in mind how our mood and behaviour affects our pet’s behaviour and overall well-being. We are their primary care-givers. To keep them in good health is our priority. If we are angry, throwing a tantrum, screaming, etc. Our dogs are most likely lurked below or behind a couch out of fright, afraid to make eye contact; for fear that he or she might intensify our rage.

Conversely, if we are feeling sad, our dogs are drawn towards us trying their best to make us feel better. And if we are happy, they are happy. Laugh out loud and watch that tail wagging. I can say this with guarantee as I am a living proof to this. As mentioned in my earlier posts, I wouldn’t have been living if it wasn’t for Casper who understood my sadness and immediately came towards me and started licking my tears.

Thankfully, those bad days and weak attitude is gone. Dogs adapt to figuring out their humans’ emotions. It is very important for us to stay hale and hearty at most times. But what if we’re not acting out? What about those times we put on a brave face for the world when we’re fearful — or when we keep a stiff upper lip even though our world is falling apart? During these dark times, it sometimes feels like your dog senses your emotions, even those you thought you were hiding.

Living among people with consistently negative emotions can create negative behaviors in dogs. On the other hand, cultivating an environment in your home that fosters mostly positive feelings in your human family will help contribute to well-adjusted, content dogs with fewer behavioral issues. It’s not always easy, but doing your best to sustain a positive, happy household is beneficial to everyone — you, your kids, your dogs, and other pets, too!

When Casper passed away, I was consistently reminded by the vet, family and friends to keep a positive attitude; as it would affect Junior. But I was in a very fragile state and would break out crying often. I started noticing that Junior became a little distant from me. This was because, every time he came towards me to lay his head on my lap or bought his favourite toy, I would push him away (not physically push of course). He caught up on my behaviour and became distant, and also stopped eating.

Mercifully, I collected myself for the sake of Junior and made a full recovery. Had I continued with being depressed, Junior could have developed a full blown anxiety. Once again, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. For and because of Junior, I became strong.

Dogs are intuitive, and also sensitive to human moods and behaviours. You must have noticed that dogs are playful with some humans, and distant from some. This is because they can sense human vibes. If your dog doesn’t like someone or is hesitant to be close to some humans, then it is an indication that you too should maintain a healthy distance from that person.

Dogs can make you happy and improve the quality of your life. They also keep us physically and mentally active. Looking after them is not a burden, but indeed beneficial for our own health and well-being. I used to purposely stay in a good mood around Junior, and now it has become a habit. We are humans, we have our days. But having my dogs around have helped me go through the bad days by staying calm and positive deliberately so that I don’t remove my anger on my dogs. This in turn, became a lifestyle. I never display my negative or bad mood in front of Junior. Infact, I start playing with him and my mood automatically changes.

So, next time you want to wipe your tears on your little fur baby, remember to think of his feelings, too…

Remember, your behavior has a significant impact on his peace of mind and quality of life.

2021 in Retrospect

2021 was an incredibly hard year for many, including me, but I am hopeful that 2022 will be better.

This time last year I was enthusiast about the year 2021 as the entire world was suffering from Corona Virus, and was looking forward to hear the news that the pandemic is over. Who knew that 2021 turned out to be worse, and would shake up our lives? We seen the virus being less dangerous at times, but most of the times, it was still spreading fast. In India, we had a very unfortunate 2nd wave of Covid. Way too many people were critical and lost their lives, including a member of my family.

Gosh, who would have thought that we would face something like this? My heart goes out to those who lost their loved ones or suffered from crisis financially and emotionally. It feels so surreal, yet, here we are, at the end of another year that many would just write-off and forget, including me.

As this year started, I was faced with an unexpected health issue which required an emergency surgery. As the year progressed, Junior had a surgery to get his tumour removed. Then we faced the deadly 2nd wave of Corona Virus, where a family member lost his life. As we were just recovering from the loss, my parents tested positive for Covid, in which my father’s health rapidly declined. During the same time, Junior too fell critically ill. The E. Coli bacteria had made a comeback and Junior had started urinating blood and throwing up.

In all this mess, I had to take care of myself and would get myself tested for Covid every week as I had to step out of the house for Junior’s treatment. My anxiety has broken all barriers this year. Besides stressing about the outcome and thinking about the worse case scenarios, I had developed a lot of physical symptoms which I have mentioned in my older post.

Well, it doesn’t end here. As my father and Junior were recovering, my mobile got stolen. When I asked the Universe “can this year get any worse?” I wasn’t challenging it………ha ha ha ha! But right before the year is about to end, I was robbed.

With the daily barrage of bad news from around the world and in my personal space, the only thing I knew was to keep myself busy and out of my head, if I was to maintain my sanity. Which to my surprise, I successfully did by finally overcoming my anxiety. All these unfortunate events gave me some time to self reflect and the first thing that came into my mind was “I cannot live like this and be a slave of my own mind and thoughts.”

This was the best thing that happened this year. I am not saying I have cured my anxiety, but now I very well know how to control it and not drown in it like I did all these years. I am still working on myself and learning about myself every day. By God’s grace, everyone is in good health now and fortunately, the year is ending on a good note.

In my endeavour to stay positive, I started to appreciate and find joy in small, everyday things. That’s the first thing you can do to start living a mentally healthy life.

I always thought that I had made a lot of positive changes in my life after my separation from my ex husband. But this year made me realise that I was not even half way there. The biggest change that I had to make was in my head, and I am proud to say that I came full circle. The hapless events were a blessing in disguise for me.

What this year really taught me was 1) focusing on the positive, no matter how small, 2) acceptance, which helped me in handling conflicts and uninvited events with a better prospective, 3) health is wealth, mentally and physically active life is the need of the hour, and 4) having a hobby, which can turn into a side income, as well as keep you busy in doing something you love.

So, in retrospect to 2021, it was an opportunity for me to take a step back, reflect and make some positive changes. Who knows what 2022 has in store for all of us? All I can wish for a better year and look forward to it in enthusiasm.

Here’s wishing you all a Very Happy, Healthy and A Successful New Year! Please stay Safe and Positive!

I am a proud Dog Mom

Being a mother doesn’t mean being related to someone by blood. It means LOVING someone UNCONDITIONALLY and with your WHOLE HEART. Being a dog mom isn’t an easy job, but it is definitely the best job anyone can do. And I am blessed that in this lifetime I got an opportunity to be a Mom to two wonderful dogs – Casper and Junior.

Being a dog mom is the best gift of my life. My dogs gave me a reason to live and smile every day. I am in love with my children (fur babies) who were not born from me, but FOR ME. Yes, this is absolutely true. Casper and Junior literally gave me a reason to keep living, and not just living; but thriving. Had it not been for my dogs, then I would have been in deep depression or probably wouldn’t be alive.

Everything I know about my life, I learnt from my dogs. Predominantly; living in the present. Just like them. There are many people who try to correct me by saying that I am a pet owner and not a pet parent. For me, I emotionally see myself as a Dog Mom to my fur babies. My life revolves around them. I spend most of my free time with my dogs.

I own many things, such as furniture, car, house, clothes, jewellery, etc., but I don’t have this type of emotional attachment to those objects as I have for my dogs. Though Casper is no more, but I still consider him my baby even in the present, and will do so in the future. I don’t have human children, and probably would not even in the future. I chose my dogs as my family and children.

My dogs are my responsibility, and a large part of my life. Much of my time and energy is spent in caring for, nourishing, and engaging my kids. They sleep in my bed and eat off my plate. I believe I know what’s best for my dogs. No one knows their needs and desire better than me. It is just not my duty and responsibility to care for them, but as a mother, my utmost priority.

It is often said, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friends”. But my best friends are dogs. My dogs have given me the best days of my life. And also one of the worst day; when Casper died. I laughed with him for all his life. And now I cry in his memories for all my life. However, I was proud back then, and I am proud even today that I was a Mom to such a beautiful soul. On the other hand, I still have Junior who has kept me going after Casper. He makes me laugh with his funny tactics, he gives the sloppy kisses, he is the warmest blanket for me in winters, and he is my anti-depressant.

My life feels so fulfilled and satisfying. People think I am stuck with a dog to take care of, and I cannot enjoy my life. According to them, the meaning of enjoying life is going out clubbing, partying, socializing, etc. What they do not understand is, I am already living a cheerful and adventurous life with my dogs. I also socialise with the right people who understand the importance of dogs in our lives. And trust me, there are many. I have made more friends who are dog lovers than what I had made when I didn’t have any dogs.

Dogs are our link to paradise. They know no evil or jealousy or discontent. Living in a metropolitan city, I have a dream to sit with Junior on a mountain top, enjoy the view, and just live in the moment. To experience the time what my dog experiences everyday – live in the present.

My life with my dogs has been a blissful journey. A journey which started unexpectedly and made me explore those parts of me which I didn’t even know that existed. The Accidental Dog Mom who is now a Proud Dog Mom. A girl who is recognized by her dogs, a girl who’s loved ones knows her dogs are her priority, and a girl whose life was saved by her dogs. My dogs are my babies. I cannot find the words to explain how much having my dogs in my life means to me, but I do know that without my dogs my world would be empty and dark.