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.

Flashback of the year 2020!

Last day of 2020, and coincidentally on a Thursday, my blog day! It would only be appropriate for me to use this opportunity to summarize everything that happened in the past 365 days. Sipping on my tea and calmly thinking about this entire year, all I can say is while the year has been a roller coaster ride; it was probably not all that bad mentally.

I started the year with a bang; ended 2019 and began 2020 with friends at a small hill station. Took Junior to a Doggie event where he enjoyed to the fullest. Devoted a lot of time to this blog. Started trying various form of painting and exploring my skills. Sowed the seeds to my new business. While the new venture was kick starting, my partner and me also got into a parallel business which we had not really envisioned. And then, I even changed my hairstyle. Closely, all this I did in the months of January, February, and March, before the lockdown. Bizarre isn’t it? Since December 2019 I kept reading and hearing about the Corona Virus in Wuhan and eventually how Italy and Iran went into lockdown and people would sing from their windows, etc. But never even for the slightest second I thought that India too will go under complete lockdown.

Honestly, I believe no one around the world would have thought that this virus would turn into an outlandish Pandemic. Ever since the lockdown, there were many things that happened which awakened my inner strengths and weaknesses. Let me start by the major turnaround moment, and that was Junior’s deteriorating health. He fell ill in April and continued degrading till September when we finally were able to diagnose what was really wrong with him; needless to be mentioned I had almost lost him. Due to the lockdown and the fear of contracting the virus, we had limited movement, living alone and I was clouded with only negative thoughts. That was the time when I realized Junior was just not my strength, but biggest weakness also. My old fear (Casper’s death) creeped in and I was paranoid beyond belief. But Thank God, since September, Junior’s health took a U Turn and is improving every passing day. He is still not completely fine, as Pancreatitis takes about 3 to 6 months, and, a change of lifestyle to cure, but we are getting there.

Then later in 2020, after years of tears, fears and a long long wait, I finally got divorced. This was another major event that happened in my life this year. The initial few days felt empty, but later, I was rejuvenated.

I also changed my house, which I had been adjourning for the longest time. I was still contemplating whether or not to move, but I finally did and was the best decision this year. After relocating, I grasped the fact that I was living in my comfort zone, and, compromising a lot on my standard of living. The new house opened up my perspective on what I deserved which I had denied for a pretty long time.

The other thing that I did was, I exited many WhatsApp groups. Sounds small and irrelevant, but when you are living alone and cannot get out of the house, the major source of staying in touch with everyone is phone calls and WhatsApp. But I had quit for a few months; the major reason being fake news that were circulated nonstop. The unnecessary panic was not worth and I occupied myself in other indoor activities, specially entertaining Junior to keep him healthy and active, which in turn also kept my mind busy and body healthy.

It’s funny when in bad times; Facebook and Instagram prompts memories of the things you did on a date a year ago or some years ago. Because of this, each and every festival and birthdays also we celebrated on Zoom calls. My friends and cousins often spoke about what we did last year because of the social media prompts. But we also came to a conclusion, that when all this is over, we will all meet up, laugh and remember that how Zoom call was important in 2020. The best part was, Junior was present in every Zoom call and family and friends also used the doggy filter to not make him feel left out – : )

Work from home, cook for yourself, exercise at home, do home remedies to increase your immunity, social distancing, wash your hands, sanitize your house, etc. started as a temporary phase but ended up being the new normal which I still follow inspite of COVID19 cases reducing and the country has opened up.

Therewithal, I realized I was much happier alone and all the forced conversations, friendships and relationships ended. Some I terminated, some others did. This year put an end to all the halfhearted connections. Everyone who was faking, their masks fell off. And I have been the most grateful for all the people who left. It gets lonely sometimes, but being alone is much better than being friends, family or lover with someone who only used you when they were bored. I believe this happened because people spent most of their days indoors this year with their immediate families. Either they realized their closed one’s importance and mended the broken relations, or they realized they were not meant to be together and parted ways. Also, the savings were exhausting and businesses tanking, there was frustration. Because of all the personal issues, the other bonds faded. And those which were weak, crumbled down. In a way, it made me realize who was actually down for me and who was not. This lockdown turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

This year, many lost their loved ones, a lot of people lost their lives, some became bankrupt, jobless and homeless, some sewed up their relationships, others lead up to divorce or break up. Me too, disorientated from a lot of connections, lost a loved one, sinking business, a lot of frustration and panic attacks. But here I am, finally overcoming all the obstacles and setbacks one by one, sitting comfortably on my couch in my new house, with Junior by my side. All the setbacks were hurtful, but also prepared me for a comeback. Each time, stronger, braver and wiser. Everything happens for a reason and now I am positively hoping and wishing for a better 2021 for me and everyone else.

Wishing all of you a very Happy New Year, All The Best and Never Give Up. It gets better!

Thank You Mom and Dad!

Thank you, Mom.

Thank you, Dad.

Three small words.

So much to add.

For all your love

And your support

A million words

Would be too short.

The words, “I Love You”

Seem too few

To express the love

I have for you.

In India, from childhood itself, we are taught to, and diligently follow some traditions, like for example touching feet of elders to get their blessings. Touching the feet of elders is an age-old Indian tradition that is considered to be a mark of respect. This gesture can be seen in almost all Hindu families, both in India and abroad. In our culture, living with parents and grandparents, even after we get married is not a taboo or a social embarrassment; it teaches us that just like our parents took care of us when we were babies and helpless; it is our duty to take care of our parents or grandparents when they get older and helpless. It’s a very closely knit culture which essentially teaches the importance of living harmoniously in joint families under one roof sharing responsibilities towards family, children, spouse and society.  Personally, I consider it to be a blessing to be born here, and, a bigger blessing to be a daughter to my parents. I call myself extremely lucky and rewarded to inherit the upbringing, values and love that I have procured.

In some parts of India, the birth of a girl child is not welcomed. Right from her arrival, she faces discrimination, humiliation, and oppression at every stage of life. When it comes to healthcare, education and growth opportunities, she is at times neglected because of her gender. For me, being the middle child and a second girl child, not even once I had to think that I was neglected or ignored or my brother or sister were given more love and attention than me. We were all loved and cared for equally with the best education, lifestyle and values. In a world where disputes within the family are common, siblings fight and sometimes don’t even talk to each other for years, increasing domestic violence, and many other family issues, I consider myself to be truly lucky to be born in such an amazing family.   

Now many of you would tend to believe that living with parents invites a truck load of restrictions. However, believe it or not, we had none; my parents blindly trusted us. Their trust was a big responsibility on our shoulders and we made sure to carry it gracefully. We siblings never even fought within ourselves, and till date we share a harmonious bond. My Dad was the bread winner of the family and Mom is a housemaker. And trust me when I say this, being a housewife is a tough job. Mothers work 24/7, 365 days a year. My Mom played the biggest role in keeping my family intact, healthy and always loving. When we come home, our first question always is “where is Mom”.

A mother's love is the purest form of love.

My Dad made sure that we never lacked anything. When I first started working, my Dad set up the entire foundation for me. But he didn’t give it to me on a platter; he made me earn it and work hard for it. I wasn’t allowed to sit in the boss’s cabin unless I had a meeting. I had to sit with the other employees and learn the tricks of the trade from grass root level. I was put on a payroll, and my salary would be deducted even if I didn’t come to work for one day. In literal terms, I was the boss’s daughter for name sake, and, was treated just like any other employee. My Dad always told me, “I educate you’ll not for you’ll to show off or misuse your power. But God forbid if ever in the future you’ll have any problem, you’ll do not have to beg to anyone but can stand on your own feet.”

Throughout my life I have learned “living life” by observing my parent and learning from their actions. Recently I was telling a friend, that the apartment that I live in, neighbors and/or other building people constantly sulk about little things like why is the dog roaming in the building compound, why is the car parked here, and are never content with the goodness god has given them. But, never in my life have I seen my parents fighting or sulking on anything. Infact, their attitude has always been “it’s ok. We will talk it out and try getting a solution.” Even when I first broke the news to them about my separation, they heard me out first, schooled me in private, but stood rock solid with me in private as well as public. They tried everything to work things out, but unfortunately, some things are not meant to be. In spite of not being dog lovers, and, opposing my decision to have dogs, they never took them away from me. In fact, now that they want me to settle down again, they are searching for a suitable partner who is a dog lover as well. This reminds me of the time when Casper was ill; my mom kept praying for his good health, my brother left his work and was with me all the time to and for Casper’s vet visits, my dad travelled back to Mumbai to help me out with Caspu’s treatment. And when Casper crossed the rainbow bridge, it was the first time I seen my Dad crying like child. My Mom was inconsolable and my brother, he was lost for 2 days. I couldn’t believe my family loved my dogs so much.

A father's sacrifice is unbeatable.

Even today, I live alone, but I never feel alone. My parents always make sure I am fine and lack nothing. And my younger brother, who has fulfilled all the responsibilities of an elder brother is always on his toes if I need anything. I still remember that night soon after Casper passed away; I was home alone, lonely and depressed and the doorbell rang. When I opened the door, it was the Pizza delivery guy and he handed me 4 pre-paid pizzas. I was confused as to who ordered for me. And then my phone rang. It was my brother who had ordered my favorite pizzas for me as he knew I must be down and out. Even when I was having ugly fights with my husband during separation period, my Dad and brother stood below my building for 4 hours just to make sure I was not physically hurt. I can actually write a book on things my family has done.

Brother, but more of a friend.

Apart from this, my Mom played a very big role in my life. Honestly, I just didn’t complete my graduation but became a double graduate with a Lawyer’s degree only because of my Mom. Her words, “if you don’t go for your exams, they will fail you. Rather go, attempt your paper with whatever you know and then fail. Don’t fail without trying.” And you know what, I passed all my papers. My Mom is my best friend and I can share anything with her without hesitation.

I would just like to thank my family for all the love and care they have given me. And also tell everyone, respect your parents and love them. Without them, we are nothing. Never complain about what your parents cannot give you; It was probably all they had. Parents act so strong in front of us, that we often forget just how fragile they are. From parents we learn love and laughter and how to put one foot before the other. NEVER give up your life over a broken heart or failed relationship. Your parents didn’t sacrifice their life to see you hanging one day. I am the biggest example. Live and love. Don’t look back on what you lost, but look around and embrace your parents smile for you.   

Weekly fun

A colourful picture gallery of what Junior and me did in the last week.

I made Khichdi with Gatte ki Sabzi. A combination of Gujarati and Marwadi Cuisine. Extremely healthy and delicious.
Cooker Bread Rolls with Potato and Mayonnaise stuffing.
Painted this for my brother his birthday which was on the 28th.
Junior was super sleepy but still wanted to admire Mumma 😍
Mumma was annoying, but Junior still posed 😆
My Mom made tasty Brownie/Cake for my brother’s birthday.

He is just a dog!

The tittle of this blog exemplifies the general mindset of many in this world who believe a dog is just a ‘thing’ or a play object. Many believe, a dog, is just another hobby and do not even realize the bond the parent and the dog share. Just because we humans consider ourselves to be the superior species does not give us the right to dictate the existence of any other species. While everyone may not share the same love many of us share for animals, especially dogs; their indifference towards our babies is at times very naïve, and to a large extent, even annoying.

Buying or adopting a dog is more serious than having a baby. At some point, the baby will grow up to be an adult which essentially means fend for himself, and, live his own life. Your dog will remain your puppy all his life; you may have many friends and social acquaintances, and places to go to – for your dog, you and you alone are his universe. He will never be able to feed itself on its own, and will wait endlessly for you to return home. I am not trying to dissuade anyone from getting a dog into their lives. Infact, what I am truly trying to convey is – if you really want a dog – Get a dog! Do not compromise that void with the general principles set by mankind by having kids and later repenting not having got a furry friend. I am not against having kids. I love children and dream to have a child of my own. But my dog is no less of a kid to me, and this is something that perplexes many people who keep saying – “HE IS JUST A DOG!” They so miserably fail to see he is my baby, my child, my son.

Raising dogs was a choice I made; although accidentally, I did become a dog mom, and a parent does not differentiate between their children. In the process of raising Casper and Junior I had to give up things, went without doing many things, and, honesty, I regret nothing. My life was, is, and will always be, for my dogs, no matter how big or old they get. They didn’t ruin my life; they gave me unconditional love and a totally new view of the meaning of my life. I live alone and have raised my dogs all by myself; there have been times when I couldn’t go out for parties or social functions because it clashed with the timings of feeding my dogs or walking them. In those times, people have told me, “you are stuck” or “you are ruining your life because of your dogs.” What people don’t realize is, I am missing out on nothing. If a child has to be fed or walked, then that is what a responsible parent does, and I reiterate, a baby is a baby, the species does not matter!

Junior Shah

Even today, there are some people who keep advising me to give up my dog for adoption, as they believe it will be hard for me to find a man to marry, as no man who will accept me with a dog. First of all, I do not need to be accepted by a man. If that is the scenario, I would rather be single. Love is a two way street. Love is an intense feeling of deep affection. It is not just going on fancy dates, buying gifts, or applying conditions like “if you have a dog, I will not marry you.” Yes, there are people who are not dog lovers and that is absolutely fine. When I married my husband, I knew he was a dog lover and I was petrified of dogs at that time. But I never put any conditions on him to abandon his dog or to give them up for adoption if he wanted to marry me. I loved my husband so much, that I accepted his love for dogs and started preparing myself for the same. A dog is not an object of play to be given away – A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. I will always choose, and keep choosing my dogs over any man – If someone comes along who is a dog lover, it would be an icing over the cake.

There are some who say, “If we come to your house, you will have to tie your dog up or put him in another room.” Please understand, I will be more than happy to not have you at my house; My dog lives here, and this is his house! He is a child and totally harmless; he merely gets excited seeing people and his only intention is to play with you. I can understand there are people who are scared of dogs; but he is domesticated animal not a lion! You do not necessarily have to pet him, but, at the same time you do not get to dictate to get him locked up in another room!

I have also heard people say that you can’t love a dog as much as a child, which may be true. Although I do know that looking at a dog can give you the same rush of emotion as looking at a baby, thanks to the hormone Oxytocin. Oxytocin is known as the “love hormone” and released during breast-feeding and loving physical contact. Scientists at Azabu University in Japan have recently discovered that dog owners experience a rush of this feel-good hormone when they interact with their dogs – just like the mothers of babies. Love from dogs is unconditional. And as it’s said, a dog is the most loyal living being on Earth and a man’s best friend. My dogs have never broken my heart, never betrayed my trust, and never deceived me like a man. Very little they ask for in their short life. Just feed them, play with them, give them a clean and cosy place to sleep and love them. We have family and friends, but for a dog, you are their only family.

I am very content in life. I have a small dream of having my own little loving family where my child would be raised in the presence of a dog. There are some benefits of that. Kids can practice motor skills by feeding and grooming their dog. Not to mention, a dog can help your kids develop a stronger immune system and prevent sickness. Kids who grow up around dogs are less prone to allergies and asthma than those who grow up without a dog. Most important, kids learn to care for and love every living being. They grow up to be more compassionate, humane and warm-hearted. When I was happily married, I wanted to have a child in the presence of Casper. But life took an ugly turn, and neither did I stay married nor do I have Casper. But it’s not the end and if God is kind on me, I will have my family and a child while Junior is still there. 

Jon Katz (American Journalist) famously wrote, “Animals have come to mean so much in our lives. We live in a fragmented and disconnected culture. Politics are ugly, religion is struggling, technology is stressful, and the economy is unfortunate. What’s one thing that we have in our lives that we can depend on? A dog or a cat loving us unconditionally, every day, very faithfully.”  More often, people also tell me he is “just a dog.” Even four years after my Caspu passed away, I still can’t bear to talk about him without a tear in my eye. Yet, he is just a dog. I come across an old picture of him playing and my heart sinks. Yet, he is just a dog. After a long and mentally draining day, when I come home and hug Junior, all my tiredness is gone. Yet, he is just a dog. When I am down and depressed, Junior cuddles with me and does not let me sink in. Yet, he is just a dog. Those who have never owned a pet will never get it. These dogs are my friends, my cuddle buddies, exercise partner, play mate, anxiety reliever, alarm clock, guard dog…etc. and yet, Just a dog, right? For many, it’s just a dog. For me, it’s my world. From time to time, people also tell me, “That’s a lot of money you are spending on your dog.” They really don’t get it and it makes me laugh now; he is my child – if he needs something, I will spend on it. Your spending on your child is not any more normal or somehow more ethically justified, than me spending on my dog, only because yours is a human and mine is not.

Jerome K. Jerome (19th century writer) famously said and I quote “Dogs never talk about themselves but listen to you while you talk about yourself, and keep up an appearance of being interested in the conversation.” Some of my proudest moments have come about with my babies. Many hours I have spent alone with my dogs and they have never let me down. They haven’t left my side once, and are more than eager to just sit by me and even listen even if means me blabbering about mindless things!  Even during this pandemic and lockdown, my Junior or let me say “just a dog” has kept me sane and lively. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. He makes my life complete.

If you too, think it’s “just a dog”, you will probably understand the phrases like “just a friend”, “just a sunrise” or “just a promise.” My dogs bought into my life the very essence of friendship, trust and pure unbundled joy. They bought compassion and patience that made me a better person. M.K. Clinton (American author) has said, “world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.” For me or people like me, it’s not “just a dog”, it’s an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories and the pure joy of the moments. I hope that someday people can understand that it’s not “just a dog”, it’s something that gives us humanity and keeps us going. Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the centre of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. So the next time you hear someone say this, “why you do so much for a dog”, just smile because they “just don’t understand.”

If the kindest souls were rewarded with the longest lives, dogs would outlive us all!

Till I See You Again!

William Godwin had said, “Hope is in some respects a thing more brilliant, more vivifying, than fruition. What we have looked forward to with eager and earnest aspiration is never in all respects equal to the picture we had formed of it. The very uncertainty enhances the enjoyment.”

In many ways, I do not necessarily agree with these words. Sometimes, just when you feel things are going great and you are back on track, life throws a curve ball and your world comes crushing down. Just when I was beginning to love life, life gave me a cruel slap on my face. It broke me in such a way, that this time, it was difficult to gather my shattered pieces and live again. The little happy home that I had built with Casper and Junior through a lot of struggles, tears, sacrifices and pain, came crashing down in no time. Year 2016, the worst year of my life! The year I shall never forget till my last breath. I was once asked – “What will be the most difficult thing about owning a dog?” I replied “The Goodbye!” Unfortunately, for all of its uncertainty, we still cannot flee the future!

2016, the year that took my Casper away…forever!

I had just moved to another house which was big enough for my 2 dogs to live in. It had just been a day in the new place when Casper started throwing up. I assumed it was the new place, maybe the smell, or just the dust from all the boxes and packing, which he was just trying to adjust. I gave him a carrot which was his favourite treat to munch on; but, for the first time, he didn’t show any interest in it. Casper had always had a sensitive stomach, and used to gobble up grass many a times and throw up. The vets had always advised me to just give him an anti-acid which I did this time as well and got back to unpacking my boxes. Junior was his usual self, playing, and irritating Casper as always and I assumed, Casper would be OK as well in a few hours. However, the next day, Caspu threw up again, after which I took him to the vet immediately. The vet did a general check-up, and prescribed another anti acid and told me to update him about Casper’s condition after three days. But Caspu didn’t stop vomiting and I took him to the vet once again. By then, Casper had also developed a little swelling on his stomach. The vet immediately started him on saline and took his blood sample for testing, which to our amazement, and relief, came completely normal! I was extremely confused as Casper vomited everyday despite all the treatments and medications.  By the 10th day I had gotten extremely paranoid and asked the vet to do another round of blood test. The tests again came normal and so the vet advised me to do a sonography which I did as well. His sonography showed little thickening of his liver walls. The vet informed me that Caspu had liver issues and started treating him for the same. By this time, Casper had started throwing up blood, pooping blood and peeing blood!

I was in a state of mess. Day and night, I was at the vet’s clinic with Casper, no time and enthusiasm to eat and drink, as it was difficult balancing between Junior who was all day alone at home and Casper’s illness. Even though Caspu’s health deteriorated and the vet classified him to be in a critical state, he still wanted to play, would eat and drink normally, and slept well. Somewhere, I had hopes that Caspu would make a full recovery like before; somewhere I feared the worse. But I could see that my baby was suffering; there was blood everywhere. Even when the vet tried giving him an injection, that part of the body would completely swell. This stress and fear took a severe toll on me as well. I stopped eating well and my weight came down to 40 Kgs. I couldn’t sleep at night and would randomly check on Casper to ensure he was still breathing.  But I was determined to leave no stones unturned for Casper’s treatment. I took opinions of three vets; but, nothing helped. Casper’s health kept going downhill. In all this, Junior was getting severely neglected so I decided to keep him at boarding lodging facility till Caspu came home hale and hearty. Little did I know, Caspu would never come home!

Gertrude Stein (American novelist) has said, “It is natural to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes to that siren until she allures us to our death”. I was fighting a battle against time to save my baby and one day, I had an absolute melt down. I couldn’t handle the situation alone and I called my husband (still legally married but separated) and begged him to come and be with me and Caspu. To my extreme disappointment, for a man, who couldn’t live without Casper, and had infact thrown a fit during separation to keep Casper with him, was now giving excuses for not coming. But after a lot of pleading, and begging, he came.  Somewhere within me, I knew Casper was probably not going to make it, and I guess, my main motive to call my husband was so that Caspu could spend his last days with him.

The next day, at the vet’s clinic, Casper got a stroke. That’s when the vet finally suggested putting him down. I was beyond devastated; I blanked out and I didn’t want to believe what I was seeing and hearing. Maybe it was just a bad dream, and I would snap out of it any minute. While my mind, and my soul were still processing the words which the vet had just said, my husband immediately gave his approval to the vet. I froze, but before I could even react, the vet looked at my husband with a stern eye and his exact words, as I remember were, “You are no one to take this decision. You were not even here. The only person to take this decision is your wife.” The vet then looked at me for my answer; this was by far the most difficult decision of my life I ever had to take. I knew there was no way Caspu would have made it after the stroke. I couldn’t see him suffer more and I gave my approval to the vet, but requested him if he could wait a little? The vet told me to take my time.  I wanted Casper to have his favourite meal which my Mom cooked one last time, and I immediately called my mom who said she would have my brother get it there as soon as possible. While I was waiting for my brother to come, I put Casper’s head on my lap and started talking to him that “everything will be all right. I am here. Your Mumma is here.” Just then, Casper’s eyes rolled up, he let out a sigh and he passed away naturally on my lap. At that very moment, I wanted to die with Casper too. And just when this happened, my brother arrived with Casper’s favourite food. I broke down in my brother’s arm and till this date, my brother curses himself for reaching late and Caspu crossed the rainbow bridge without eating. My baby was only 5 years and 8 months old. He died of Liver Cirrhosis within 10 days of showing symptoms!

I was inconsolable, so my brother bought me home and my husband went to cremate Casper. The only thing left with me was my Angel’s memories and his collar. Not just my parents, but my uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends were waiting for me at home. All had tears in their eyes but were trying their best to put up a strong face in front of me. For the first time in my life, I saw tears in my Dad’s eyes. A man who avoided coming close to my dogs, giving a reason that it’s an unwanted attachment; had broken down. My brother, who drove me and Casper every single day and night to the vet’s clinic, was shattered. And my Mom was beyond grief stricken.

Why this happened? Where did I go wrong? Was it my fault? There were a lot of questions in my mind. Except for vomiting once a day, Caspu didn’t show any other symptoms at that time which eventually resulted to taking his life. The time when the meaning of life was sucked out of me, I learnt a few things which I would like to share with all you pet parents:

  1. Get your pets blood work done every year; even if they are absolutely healthy
  2. Labradors are very playful dogs, so they do not show symptoms immediately
  3. Never neglect a slightest change in your dog’s behaviour. Talk to the vet immediately
  4. Do not leave anything for later. If you have plans to take them trekking, take them now, if you plan to do a photo shoot with them, do it now, etc. Life is too short!
  5. Do not blame yourself. You did everything you could
  6. Do not be a Google doctor. Trust your vet. Your vet knows what he/she is doing. Follow the instructions well
  7. Love and take care of your pets now. You do not know what tomorrow brings. And in general; LIVE IN TODAY!

Today, 4 years after Casper has left us, Junior and I have become even more inseparable.  I may have moved on, but the memory of Casper lives in me forever. At times, I remember the famous words of George Eliot, a rather famous English novelist of the 19th century. She wrote, and I quote, “Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.”