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!

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.   

Anxiety

We all have heard and read about Anxiety a lot before, but do we really know what it is? As you all must have noticed that I haven’t posted any blog post in a month; it’s because my anxiety had worsened. What triggered my anxiety? Health!

This phrase “Health Is Wealth” is something we have been hearing since childhood. But exactly last month on this date I truly understood its meaning. My parents were diagnosed with COVID-19, inspite of being double vaccinated. What was worse, my mother recovered, but my father slipped into COVID complications. I thought, “How could this be happening? My parents are vaccinated. At the worse, they can have mild symptoms; it cannot flare up so much!” But it did happen. My father’s symptoms and post COVID recovery was terrible because he has some underlying disease. What opened my eyes was, if he was not vaccinated, he would have not survived. The vaccine actually saved my parents life. They were a breakthrough case, but somewhat mild.

Since I already suffer from anxiety since years; my mind made me think the worst case scenario. What made me insufferable was; Junior too falling ill at the same time. And not just sick, his health was grave. Junior got a UTI (E. Coli) which affected his Bladder and Kidneys, and he started urinating blood, vomiting and stopped eating.

I was in a fix, as I was in self isolation because I had met my parents’ everyday when they tested positive for Corona virus. I had no option. I got myself tested for Corona Virus, I tested negative and got out of the house on the 10th day of self isolation. I had to save Junior. Being a responsible human being, I informed my Vet about the same, maintained social distancing and wore a mask at all times even though I tested negative. I also retested myself on the 14th day and tested negative again. I was relieved. But my anxiety had already started playing its part.

For the first time in my life, I realised that Anxiety is not just a mental illness, but it also affects you physically. Besides being continuously anxious about my Dad’s and Junior’s health, following were my physical symptoms:

  1. Sweating a lot
  2. Breathlessness
  3. Short breaths
  4. Low oxygen (but recovered quickly)
  5. Fluctuating body temperature
  6. Sore throat
  7. Heavy head
  8. Panic attacks
  9. Fatigue
  10. Stomach cramps
  11. Severe acidity
  12. Blurry vision
  13. Less concentration
  14. Irritation
  15. Hot and cold flashes
  16. Racing heartbeats

I faced all of the above 24/7 for the entire month.

Aimlessly I kept looking for solutions on the Internet for a remedy to reduce my anxiety. I tried going to the gym, did yoga, did meditation, journaling, did breathing exercises, spoke to close ones, went for a walk, etc etc etc. Nothing helped for the long run. All these were temporary solutions. I stopped going to office for work, I stopped cooking, I stopped painting, I stopped answering phone calls, and many other things. My entire concentration was on my Father’s and Junior’s health. One thing good that I did was; I removed Google from my phone. Google only increased my fear and flared my anxiety.

What I have learnt from this dreaded experience is “HEALTH IS WEALTH”; whether it is physical or mental. Money, dating, house, cars, partying, etc. All of these come later. It also taught me to take care of my health (physical and mental) from now on so that when I am old, I do not face the consequences what my father faced. My mother is relatively healthy and had no side effects or dreaded symptoms because of the virus. She recovered in no time. But my father went through a tough time. This horrible time also showed me the true faces of people whom I called family and friends. However, some family members and friends stood by us rock solid and I am grateful to them.

Today my father and Junior both are out of the danger zone and on the road to recovery. So am I, from my anxiety. From now on, I am not just going to be physically healthy (which I already am), but will also work on a long term solution to manage my anxiety. This experience also made me change my priorities in life in a good way. I wish and pray for everyone’s good health and happy living.

Do NOT be a Google Doctor

This is such a common issue these days. Everyone thinks they know everything about their body or symptoms they have by just a simple search on Google. If you Google a symptom, or just any symptoms; you will be inevitably told that you have some grave disease or illness like Cancer or most probably you are getting a heart attack. Symptoms tend to reflect the fact that something is wrong. Assuming that you know what’s wrong with you can delay a much-needed trip to the doctor.

How many times have you been sick and decided to Google your symptoms? I guess – all the time! We all are guilty of this. It’s cheaper than going to the doctor, and obviously, home remedies are always there to our rescue. Let me get this straight. In today’s times, not all home remedies are effective, and trying to study your symptoms on Google is not a clever idea.

Looking for answers about your symptoms on Google is practically a nightmare. A simple headache will be classified as a brain tumor out there. You are basically inviting more trouble. And this is not applicable for only humans; but dogs too (or any pet). Let me share my personal experience for the same.

Whenever Casper fell ill, I was quick to turn up to Google for all my doubts. Instead of giving me relief, my anxiety increased each time. Google results are not reliable. And the Vets have studied and practiced for many years not to be faced by a Google doctor. Every time I would go to the Vet and bombard him with questions which I had searched on Google. Eventually he got tired and told me to not come to him if I felt Google was a better doctor than him. And you know what, I was always wrong, or let me say – Google results were always over exaggerated than the actual problem.

For Junior, I made it a point to never open Google. Sometimes, I do get tempted, but then I immediately keep my phone away. Trust me when I say this, we misdiagnosis ourselves, we freak ourselves out, we delay in getting actual help, some home remedies turn out to be harmful and dangerous, and in turn, our pets suffer.

Doctors spend years in college for a reason. Google is only good when it comes to searching for a good doctor, checking spellings of a medication and reading about general medication which has already been prescribed. Health misinformation is the biggest symptom of our increased anxiety. This can lead to weaken immune system leaving you more vulnerable.

Your habit of Googling your symptom is bad for your health. Getting a professional help at an early stage will prevent grave diseases and also save on a lot of bucks, which you would have spent by misinformation from Google and ended up in an emergency situation.

This will not only save your life, but also your pet’s life. Diagnosing your pet’s symptoms online will give you the same results as of yours. It’s a slippery slope. And our pet’s health will go downhill in no time. Online symptom checkers are almost always wrong, and most of times; even home remedies. There are many harmless and without side effects medical options available, please opt for that as prescribed instead of becoming a doctor at home as well. Times have changed, weather has changed, and our living style has changed. Therefore, many age old home remedies are not effective anymore. However, no one even knows about our pet’s health better than the vets. So NEVER try any home remedies on your dogs. Do not risk their lives just because you think you are an expert after doing some searches on Google.

Becoming a responsible person means being able to consciously make decisions which is for our betterment, as well as for our pets. By taking professional advice from a doctor or a vet will save us a lot of trouble. All the doubts in our heads also gets cleared, we do not increase our anxiety and we give our pets also accurate diagnosis and treatment, which in turns leads to a healthy and long life for all of us. Make yourself and your pets happy, and DO NOT Google your symptoms. Google a good doctor and approach them.

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.

Just some food, painting and Junior

Jain festival Prayushan was going on. It’s for 8 days where Jains do not eat any greens or vegetables which are grown underground. Some even fast for all 8 days having only boiled water. Yesterday was the last day and today we broke our fast with Mumbai special Vada Pav.
Made Jain Paneer Sabzi. Gravy is made from Tomatoes and dried masala.
Another Jain Paneer Sabzi made from Tomatoes and Milk
Jain Jeera Pulao
My lunch plate before Paryushan started. It has Bhindi Sabji, Cabbage Sabji, Kadhi, Roti, Papad, Kaju Katli and Kheer.
Just painted my every morning
He doesn’t look pleased after being groomed 😂
He will stare at me like this till I feed him even though it’s not his feeding time 🤣

I love my dog so much it hurts

If you have a dog, you will understand by the title of where this post is going to lead. And chances are, like me even you would literally do anything for your dog. Being a pet parent is not all glorious, between picking up their poops, to fur all over our clothes, and planning our entire lives around their bathroom and meal schedules – there’s still a powerful and extremely tangible bond that exists between a human and a dog.

As a mother to two beautiful Labradors – Casper and Junior, it gets so overwhelming sometimes with the thought of living without them and it hurts. It hurts so bad, that I can literally feel physical pain from my thoughts.

Casper first crawled into my heart 12 years ago and made it his home for five and half years. Too young to go, but the tragic event of him passing has left a lifelong trauma on me, and the void cannot be filled no matter how much I try. Casper was a very handsome and smart dog. I would always joke around that he is a human in a dog’s body. He was extremely protective about me and would get jealous if I ever patted or played with another dog. He always looked healthy. Never once he had a dry nose or was lethargic or lost sudden weight is which we consider the signs of a sick dog (besides when he got tick fever).

Casper has travelled a lot with me. He was a well trained, calm and mannered dog. It was easy for me to take him around people and other dogs. He never left any chance to show his unconditional love for me. That’s why, when he crossed the rainbow bridge, I slipped into depression. His going was sudden and left me with a permanent scar on my heart. My fondest memory with him was when I was at my lowest and crying, and was even considering suicide; he jumped on me and started licking my tears. He saved my life, but I couldn’t save his life.

On the other hand, Junior was that rascal puppy who didn’t understand the concept of peace. He would always irritate Casper and there was not even one day where I didn’t come to a messy house. Always up to some naughty moves. It’s moments like these that sink into your heart, memory and build towards the ball of satisfaction and love that you hold for your pet. These memories and moments make your dog something more than just a pet.

Now that Junior is nine and half years old and started showing signs of aging, I fear about his health all the time (he is absolutely healthy at the moment). I love him so much that it hurts. You see, Junior is just not a pet dog, but my family. As pet parents, we understand this incredible bond that exists between human and dog. We just get it. Our pets are our lives.

It’s just not expressing feelings of love or considering your fur babies as family and developing a strong bond, it’s even backed by science. There have been many studies that explain why our warm fuzzy friends give us such warm fuzzy feelings, including a more well-known study by animal behaviorist Takefumi Kikusui. He found that level of oxytocin, the feel-good chemical, and bonding rise by merely looking into our dog’s googley eyes.

As a living and breathing example of all the above, I can tell you why it hurts so much let a dog go. Whether you have to put them to sleep, or they go naturally, either way, it hurts. Being a dog parent is one of the greatest joys of life. Dogs just don’t give us unconditional love, but they also help us humans live longer. We stay fit because of them; we never have a dull day. And even if we have one, they are always there to uplift us. They greet us every day when we come home as if they have been waiting for us for a lifetime.

What else do we want! In today’s world, where one human is ready to flip on another without giving it a second thought, there are dogs who only know love and loyalty. Dogs lives are too short, that’s their only fault; and it hurts too much.