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.
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.
Till the time I was not married, I lived in the same house for 23 years. And my parents being so cool as they are, they are always loved by neighbors and other building residents. Fortunately, every resident and neighbors were also so pleasant that we still share cordial relations with them. But as soon as I got married, my luck was never on my side. For some or the other reason, I had to keep changing houses. And that is when I experienced the different types of neighbors, especially when you have dogs.
After we relocated to Mumbai from Dubai, and basically our first house after marriage, we were fortunate enough to get an apartment where the building already had 3 dogs. Adding Casper and Junior, it became 5 dogs in total. My immediate neighbors were dog lovers and very friendly. Overall, all the residents of the building were ok with dogs and did not mind even if I ever walked my dogs at the podium or parking area. In fact, there were times when we even had dog parties having all the dogs gather at the podium and make them play, while the pet parents socialized. Sometimes, even the security guards would tell us to keep our dogs down with them for company. It was safe, and they took good care of our fur babies. I know this, because I am someone who never gives my dogs to anyone when I am not present, but I kept looking from my window which faced the main gate and the security cabin. I lived there for 2 years and had a wonderful experience and stay. I really miss that house and building.
I shifted to another house as I had separated from my ex-husband and had to put up that house for sale. The next society that I lived in, was majorly good. Being a huge society, it had several flats on one floor. My floor had 6 flats. Pretty congested but I had no option. Two of my neighbors were utterly rude, but never interfered in my business. But I always feared encountering them when I would take Casper and Junior for a walk, as they hated dogs. The other three neighbors were chilled out. And one of the couples were such insane dog lovers, that every evening they would bring chicken or fruits for Casper and Junior. Once I got used to the new surrounding and the huge society’s innumerable people, it got a little easier for me take Casper and Junior in the compound for their evening walks. After a period, Casper and Junior were welcomed with open arms by everyone (except my two neighbors) and the kids loved playing with them. I lived there for two and a half years and had to shift again as my lease got over and the owners were looking forward to selling the house rather than putting it up rent again.
The third house that I shifted to, was a disaster, and unfortunately, I lived the longest there, for four and half years. This house had been such a bad luck for me, that every single day I would cry and did not want to spend even a minute more there. But I was facing financial crisis, as well as the legal proceedings for divorce had started, for which I could not change the house.
The day I shifted there, one of the neighbors created a havoc. It had become their ritual to fight with me on daily basis and anyhow, they wanted to kick me out. They were so bad and evil, that even when Casper was ill and vomited blood once on the staircase, the man came and blasted me for making a mess and asked me to clean immediately (which I was obviously going to), inspite of seeing Casper had collapsed and I was struggling to pick him up. Casper passed away within just 18 days of shifting to this house.
However, my other neighbors were so nice, that they stood by me through all thick and thins and cared for Junior and me like family. They looked after me so well, that even when a stranger or service person would come home, someone or the other from their family would come and stand at the door to make sure I was safe. There was a time when I had to be taken to the ER for a deep cut on my hand. My neighbor came with me to the hospital, stood there till I got the stitches, bought my medicines, brought me home and did my dressing every day. In the meantime, their son took care of Junior while I was away, fed him and stayed with him till I came home. Because my hand was nonfunctional for somedays, they made lunch and dinner for me till I was cured.
And finally, the last straw was, one more fight with the disgusting neighbor and I decided to shift even in the lockdown. Today, as I am in the new house, which has far more pleasant and good neighbors, I think to myself that I should have taken this decision earlier rather than spending four and a half years in hell. Junior and me are in a better place now, where he is accepted and loved by all the society members. Kids come to play with him, and the mothers are carefree as they know Junior will do no harm to them.
Sometimes, we linger a lot and hold on to our fears. Fear of the unknown, fear of change. Many a times, there is no problem with us or our life, but it is our surroundings which create problems. But we think, there is something wrong with us. Having the same mentality, I lived in fear and in my comfort zone for many years. Compromising each day thinking “this is my life and I have to deal with it”. But had I shown a little confidence and courage for myself, I did not have to compromise living in a toxic atmosphere that I lived.
It is true. Love yourself, take care of yourself. You must save your own self. Most importantly, trust yourself. We all deserve to live in good atmospheres and live happily. All the solutions are available, we just have to TRUST ourselves that we deserve good and are capable of achieving it.
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?