I have heard this a million times and still hear it – “You are stuck!”. Why do people say this? It is because I am a single woman with a dog, and, I cancel out on a lot of plans. I believe many would be able to relate to this. But what people do not understand is, I am not stuck. This is the life I have chosen for myself and I am enjoying it. Not just enjoying, but I am extremely comfortable as well.
I had a friend tell me, “you are missing out on it”. This was when the clubs had opened and I had an invite for a Halloween Party, and, I refused to go so that I could stay home with Junior. What I do not understand is, what am I missing out on? Meeting random people and sharing unnecessary information or drinking with people whose company I barely enjoy or just click pictures and share it on social media to show the world that I have a pretty amazing life? Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-social and neither am I an introvert. I have just learnt that my peace is more important than anything else. I socialize; but only with friends and family that I enjoy with. I share my life only with the ones I am comfortable with. I spend my money only on things that give me happiness in return.
But every time I cancel a plan, 99% of the time people tell me “I am stuck”. My priority is Junior, and, under no circumstances I will ever compromise on his food or walk timings. People feel that just because I have to feed Junior at a particular time, I cannot come out and I am stuck with him. They also feel that just because I have to wake up early to walk Junior, I cannot stay out late for any parties and I am stuck. NO! This is my life. Junior is my son and I am extremely happy living the way I am living. I choose to be at home in my pajamas, messy hair, cook a meal, watching some series or paint and Junior by my side, rather than going out clubbing or dinners where I have to fake laugh and be around people. This is not something I have to do; it’s something I choose to do.
When I was dating someone, I did the same. We would go out once a week, but on all other days, we would cook dinner together, eat, laugh, drink and have fun while Junior would sleep next to us. For me, this is called spending quality time.
When I was young, or let’s say, when I was in college, I would hate being home. All day long, I would just be roaming outside going for lunches or bowling, movies, clubbing or just chill at a friend’s place. I have done it all. But as I grew older and matured with time and circumstances, I found more peace in being by myself and my dogs.
And by all means, this also doesn’t mean that I am not in touch with people. Of course I am in touch with all my friends and family members. Every now and then I will text and call my friends, ask them their whereabouts, share my routine with them, meet up family members occasionally, go for holidays with cousins and friends, etc. Moreover, it’s where my energy takes me. I do not force myself for the sake of being in touch or being social to go out.
During the lockdown, I had seen and heard so many people getting anxious or depressed only because they couldn’t go out. Honestly, nothing wrong with people who enjoy going out every now and then. But the lockdown, didn’t make any difference to me. I got to spend so much time with Junior, cook different dishes and excelled in different forms and styles of painting. It’s not that I do not feel lonely ever. But feeling lonely at home is much better than feeling alone in a crowd.
I actually do things that I enjoy. I am more productive. When I meet people occasionally, I enjoy their company more. I feel independent. I don’t have the burden to constantly keep people happy. I don’t look for validation. I enjoy the serenity of silence. I feel completely relaxed. I enjoy Junior’s company to the fullest and I relish my Tea in my pajamas. I am not a loner. I just refuse to waste my energy and money on anything that doesn’t bring me happiness and peace.
But, the world is so quick to judge. People believe or rather assume, without taking into consideration the facts, I am stuck at home because of Junior. They never understand that dogs ask for nothing. They never keep us stuck. Infact, the amount of love and comfort they give us is unbelievable. Infact, Junior’s meal and walk timings are fixed as per my schedule. So how do people judge that Junior has held me back! Many even say, I will not get a husband because I have a dog. Who will accept me with a dog? While I know this isn’t true and there are load of men who are dog lovers as well; if there is even an ounce of truth in that statement, then I am happier alone than be with someone who does not appreciate my dog.
One harsh truth I would like to share with you all. All these people who have told me that I am stuck or who are in a hurry to give up my dog for adoption and just get me married to any random person just because I am aging, are the ones who left my side when I was going through a tough time. My friend had told me once, “Never leave or compromise on your priorities for someone or to keep them happy, because when it is their turn to come for you, they will turn their backs on you.” I stand by this and also have firsthand experience.
This lockdown showed me a lot of people’s true intentions and true faces. And I am glad for that. Now all the more I love spending time at home and with Junior and do not waste my energy, time and money on unnecessary people. Also, Junior is aging, and, I want to make his old age as comfortable as possible and want to spend maximum time with him. I only want to spend time with people who understands me and who never take offense if do not call them or meet them regularly because they know it is nothing personal. It is just who I am!
I am single. Don’t pity me. I am not lonely. I choose to live like this. Because I have seen it all. I am done. Done settling, done dating shitty men, done relying on relatives, done supporting friends who turned out to be snakes. Because now I know what I deserve. What I want. I can wait, but not compromise on Junior and my peace. And NO, I AM NOT STUCK!
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:
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.