What it’s like to have Dogs

I used to wonder what it would be like to have someone miss you while you took a dump…….hahaha! Well, I do not have to wonder anymore.

Once you get a dog into your life and house, then there is no turning back for another 10 years atleast. Having a dog is the most wonderfully frustrating, life-altering thing that can happen to you. You have a companion who literally worships the ground you walk on. In short, having a dog is WONDERFUL!

  • You will never eat your food alone. He/she will always be there staring at your mouth. Sometimes even grabbing it.
  • When you get back home, your dog will welcome you with his/her awesome dance and lots of lickies.
  • You will find dog hair everywhere. On your clothes, in your food plate, on your bed, even in your hair.
  • You will never feel lonely ever again. Dogs are the best companions.
  • You will never do anything alone. Your dog will follow you everywhere, in the kitchen, in the washroom, in the balcony, etc.
  • You will learn parenthood once you get a dog. They are just like small children who never grow up.
  • Most of the days, your dog will be the only reason you get out of bed. You have to feed them, take them for a walk, etc.
  • Your life will be centered on them.
  • You will start seeing the world through their eyes.
  • You will have the best days of your life, as well as some of the worst days.
  • You become more physically active than before.

While there are many many good things that come with dogs, let’s not forget, there are a few unfavourable things as well.

  • Dogs are money suckers. You have to spend on their food, medicals, well being, etc.
  • They are energy suckers as well. While they are puppies and young, they have a lot of energy. And it is our responsibility to burn their energy.
  • Whether you are ill or healthy, you have to cater to your dog at all times.
  • You are restricted to go out whenever you want. You have to adjust your outings as per your dog’s schedule.
  • But the worst, while they bring in a lot of happiness, when they leave, your heart is brutally wounded which NEVER heals.

Having a dog means having someone who loves you even if you are ugly. They don’t care whether you are rich or poor. They will happily eat what you feed them. They will wait for hours for you to return home and welcome you with the same excitement every single day. They make you feel special every single minute of the day. You are loaded with unconditional love and loyalty. Never will there be a better friend than a dog.

What it’s like having a dog? Dogs are there for you even when humans fail to be there for each other. You will have a bodyguard for life. They will protect you always. Dogs make you laugh, and even listen to you as if they understand everything you say. It’s incredible just how much support an animal can bring to your life. Dogs are love sponges. Having a dog means, 10 years of your life filled with happiness, some mess and lots of cuddles and kisses. Dogs make your house a home.

Adulthood

Those were the days when we used to wait to be adults, thinking we can do our own things without asking permission from our parents. No restrictions, live life to the fullest, party, dating, etc. were all the things on our mind believing adult life is the best.

It turns out; adulating is a lot harder than it looks. You know, I am genuinely scared of all the things we have to do as adults. Finding jobs, finding love, finding out whether the love we have found is perfect for us, having good social media accounts, clicking pictures rather than living in the moment, etc. are some of the everyday things that are way too real than what we see in the movies.

Into the bargain, taking our parents to the hospitals, dealing with death, heartbreaks, trauma, loss and agony are the worse things we have to deal with. We always forget that as we are growing, our parents are also becoming old. After a period of time, we start losing our loved ones every year. The ones whom we used to admire when we were small kids and fantasy to have a life like them.

Besides all of this, we often have to take major or big decisions like getting married or not, having children or no, joining a company or no, resigning from a job, buying a house, etc. This is the time we realise we were better off as kids only. The only decision we had to take that time was to choose the colour of the dress or water bottle.

Doing things for love, or doing things out of love, we are always dreading ourselves. Every single day we are living in fight or flight mode. Never finding anything good enough! Are we living life to the fullest or just living?

And then, sometimes everything hits you all at once. You lose a relationship, suddenly change jobs, old friends leave, bills are due and savings have drained due to a pandemic or some illness or wrong investment, and you have to deal with all this on your own. It’s up one day and down the next. You have it all together on Monday, and by Thursday you do not have a god damn clue. Adulthood is realizing life is one big wave and all we can do is flow, grow and adapt.

It’s only sometimes when we see others going through the same things, we realize how despite being different from one another, there is something in the universe that holds us all together. And that for us, on some days, is enough to lean on.

I am not sure how many times life challenges us, but if there is one thing I have learnt, it’s that in the face of fear, bravery emerges. Let’s rest our minds knowing that what will be, will be. We don’t need to over think the how and when. Let’s be at ease by trusting and allowing ourselves to breathe through the uncertainty knowing that things will eventually become clear. Because this is what our adults did when were kids. Because true adulthood is understanding that the only constant in life is change.

No one else has the time to look out for us. They are busy looking out for themselves. So save money, eat healthy, and get good enough sleep. No one else is going to make sure we are those things. You are the captain of your own ship. Sail it through the waves. And for God’s sake, please do not compare your life with others, whether through social media, friend circle, family, or any other source. By all means, remember – we are all dealing with the same devil, but at different levels.

Reasons to Stay Alive

Life is precious of all the treasures. Let’s come to a state where living itself becomes a state of joy!

The world is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness is not good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more?  And after the Pandemic, things have shattered us up to such limit, that repairing it will take years.            

I always believe, human race runs on only 2 sentiments, i.e. Fear and Greed. You make someone worry about aging; they will run to buy an anti-aging cream. You scare someone about the harmful effects of a particular food; they will immediately run to buy organics. You influence someone about some benefits of an investment scheme; they will put in their entire savings in the greed of getting back more. You tell someone you are an expert in predicting the future and their future looks weak, but you have solutions to it; that person will be immediately driven by fear and greed.

In the era of smart phones and social media, people are worried about missing out on something. Everyone feels comparing their selves to others, where they feel they are left behind. And when we fail to cope with or handle all the pressures, we feel it’s best to end it all. The best way to deal with life’s pressure is to remain calm, in any situation. To be calm becomes a kind of a revolutionary act. To be happy with our own non-upgraded existence and to be happy with our own messy human selves would be the best remedy.

There is no exact definition of normal. It differs from person to person, situation to situation. Wherever you are, at any moment, and you feel like you are walking around with your head on fire and no one can see the flames, pause for a moment and look around. Can you smell the fresh brewing coffee? Can you see the beautiful flowers blooming? Can you see a smile on some stranger’s face? Or even the clouds outside your window? You see, there is something beautiful in the simplest things. It is us who make everything complicated.

There are some very simple reasons to stay alive. Even when everything has come crushing down, there is always a reason to live.

  • You still have to listen to some beautiful songs
  • And the uncontrollable laughs with your siblings or friends
  • How about trying out some tasty food
  • Or let’s just read a new book
  • And there are many goals to achieve yet
  • Let’s just Netflix and Chill
  • Travelling to the countries you always wanted to go
  • Listening to the sound of the rain
  • Grandparents/parents massaging your head
  • Meeting the love of your life
  • Wearing that dress for a special occasion you have been waiting for
  • Or let’s just make some nice Tea/Coffee
  • Beat of all, play with your dog and see him/her getting old and be with them

You see, life is simple and the joys of life lie in the things that we already have. Aim high, but do not fear living in the present. Have dreams, but do not get distracted from reality. There are times when nothing is going right. No matter what you do, you feel the whole world is against you. No solutions in the horizon to solve your problems. Even then, there are millions of reasons to live. In such situations, stay calm and patient. And repeat to yourself that your situation will change. It does not rain forever.

Above all, live for yourself. Depression and Anxiety are story tellers. Don’t believe everything you think. Most of the times, the gravity of the situation is 1%, and the remaining 99% is created in the head out of fear, greed or ego. Let loose for some time. Sleep over it. Wake up, make yourself some Tea/Coffee and analyse your situation and your surroundings.

Life had punched me in the face back to back in the past 10 years. I had tried giving up on life 10 years ago. One simple act prevented me from taking that step and ever since, I have never thought of ending my life. Since then, I have always found a reason to live and enjoy the moments. And when my situation is very bad, even then my dog’s mere presence is my reason to live.

Life is waiting for you. You might be stuck here for a while, but the world isn’t going anywhere. You are in a hurry. So calm down and take your time. Hang in there if you can. Life is always worth it. Three in the morning is never the time to try and sort out your life. Once the storm is over, you won’t even remember how you made it through. You are alone, I am alone. Yet we are together. Everyone is struggling in some or the other way. We are made of flesh, but also of stars. If your life is hell; keeping walking. Why would you want to stay in hell! You were there before, and now you know the way out. Don’t give up or give in. Calmly walk through it. 

Cancer

Cancer – A word everyone dreads to hear. Cancer doesn’t wait for anyone. It doesn’t see the gender or age or human or dog. I was one of the unfortunate ones to hear it. Cancer is a very scary word, and on one forlorn morning, I got a call with Junior’s diagnosis. He was deducted with Mastocytoma, a type of Skin Cancer.

Around 2 months ago, Junior had developed skin infection, where his skin had become flaky and his body was covered in tiny boils. The Vet gave some medicines and vitamin E injection. He told me that there was nothing to worry and Junior will be fine. Junior’s skin started improving but there was a small puss boil between his stomach and behind legs. Earlier it was very small in size, but in no time, it grew bigger and started oozing a little blood.

I immediately showed it to the Vet and he recommended me to get it surgically removed on urgent basis. I did exactly the same and Junior underwent a surgery the next day. The vet sent the lump for biopsy and informed me that the results will take about a week to 10 days to come. He also warned me that it could be cancerous, but most likely a local Cancer as his blood reports were normal and the lump was only on the outer layer of his skin.

I was definitely scared. As Junior was recovering from the surgery, I was slipping into Anxiety. But I kept myself sane by repeating two things that my brother and the vet said. 1) My brother told me to forget about the lump and only remember that his blood reports were absolutely normal, and 2) The Vet told me it was most likely Cancer, but at an early stage or local.

I tried keeping a positive attitude throughout till I received the biopsy results. And then, that unlucky day came where I was getting ready to leave for office and my mobile rang. It was the Vet. He confirmed – it was Cancer. I couldn’t believe what I had heard. I was speechless. It took me sometime to register the news, but then, I cried uncontrollably. But there was a twist. The reports didn’t mention the grade of Cancer. It just told the type of Cancer, so the Vet recommended me to an Oncologist.

I got an appointment with the Oncologist after 4 days. Till that time, I had already started having episodes of Panic Attacks and severe Anxiety. But I had to hold myself together for Junior.

The day of the appointment arrived and I reached the Oncologist’s clinic with Junior. She took an entire history of Junior, checked his reports and did a physical examination. She suggested we send the sample for a second histopath (biopsy) and know exactly what grade it was. Since Junior was active and he was eating and pooping well, she too thought and told me that hopefully it was an early stage, but we could only be sure once the second opinion comes which would take another 8-10 days. She explained to me the further plan of action if the Cancer was grade 3 and above.

Another 8-10 days of waiting. Each day was like living in hell. But I kept myself extremely strong and didn’t entertain any negative thoughts. This was the first time in my life that I was going through a bad time but my mind had remained strong. This time, I didn’t let Anxiety win. I took complete control over my thoughts and kept telling myself, “Whatever the results come, I will do whatever it takes.”

8 days had passed. I called the Oncologist in the morning to know if the results were back. She informed me that they had not arrived yet and she would call me once they come. I had kept myself strong till then and was still being optimistic. The same day in the afternoon I received a call from the Oncologist’s clinic. The receptionist told me that the results had come the doctor would like to talk to me. My heartbeats had started racing till the time I was on hold. Finally, the doctor answered the call and her first sentence was, “its good news.” I was extremely ecstatic. Something like, I didn’t want to hear anything further. The results were a Grade II (low grade) Cancer which was gone as soon as the lump was removed surgically.

My happiness knew no bound. I was crying once again, but happy tears. Tears that I was holding on for so many weeks. The Oncologist advised me to get a regular check up done every 3 months with our vet. Though the chances of reoccurrence of such low grade Cancers are unlikely, but now we have to be vigilant. I informed my Vet about the same. He too relived a sigh of relief.

Today, I am extremely grateful that Junior is fit and fine, and lives every day like an active puppy. Such a fighter! In the past 2 years, Junior has been through so much and each time he wins. My baby has beat Cancer and is Cancer-free at the moment and I pray this dreaded disease doesn’t make a comeback ever.

Life has become very fragile and unpredictable, but I would like to share a personal experience of how I coped with Anxiety this time. If there is something you cannot control, just give in your best and leave the rest in the hands of God. Prayers are very powerful.

One Day…

“When you realize that you will never be this young again but this is the first time you have ever been this old.” – Kalyn Roseanne Livernois.

I am standing in the kitchen making Tea and listening to music, when suddenly I look at Junior who is sleeping about a feet away from where I am standing. This moment really got to my heart. Just standing there and the first thought that flashed in my mind, “How fragile his body has become, but spirits still high.”

Just then, I don’t feel at home in my own skin. There used to be the comfort of enjoying my evening Tea while Junior slept besides me; which I called “Me Time.” When I realized that Junior is no more a puppy, but this is the first time he has ever been this old. When I suddenly can’t remember how he got this old and is no more a young agile dog, and at the same time he is just as much energetic as he was few years ago.

Nostalgia hit me, and all the memories suddenly flashed in front me. The day I bought Junior home; a palm size puppy, so soft and fluffy. And as days passed, he grew up in no time. A big energetic dog who made his presence felt at every minute of the day. Destroying furniture, jumping around, zoomies, spilling water, etc., and most importantly, Junior jumping on me while I made Tea to eat lemongrass.  At the same time, I was younger, and had all the energy to cater to him at all times.

My heartbeats are racing now with thoughts of getting old. Additionally, seeing Junior motionless just staring at me while I am drowned in my thoughts and staring at him back. His bones are weak now, his eyes no longer holds the bright sharp vision, his fur is getting dull, and his energy gets drained in no time.  

I am feeling the cracking in my bones, the strain of my heart, and the aching that comes with growing up. The past 10 years of reminiscence of loving, lost love, adventure, a hunger for home (whatever “home” means), nostalgia, angst, etc. At this point of time, I just want someone to look at me in the face and say, “I know exactly how you feel and it is ok to grow old.” 

When I was younger and Junior was a puppy, I thought aging would be an achievement. Each year that passed marked one step closer to adulthood. However, right at this moment, I realized I am not young anymore and neither is Junior. But I also appreciate the years we spent together. The ups and downs, the running around and bedtime, the tears and laughter, the hugs and sloppy kisses, the walks and drives, the illness and good health, the frustrations and patience, and the love and togetherness.

The sight of Junior portrays that he aged gracefully. And he helped me age gracefully. Aging is inevitable. So why not do it joyfully? Without realization, we did just that. The strength of pulling ourselves through all the bad times, yet with enthusiasm and still kicking it is a proof that we are aging gracefully.

Junior is not jumping on me to eat lemongrass anymore, but his presence is enough for me to keep going and do my best to give him a comfortable old age.

The song is over. The Tea is done. I am out of trance. I can hear my heartbeats. I am breathing in and out. Poured the Tea in my cup and I walk outside to sit on the couch. Just then, Junior got up and put his head on my lap and went off to sleep. Some things never change. I feel at home again. This is my “Me Time.” One day, we all will leave this place, but that’s not today.

Do you have a pet dog?

If you have a dog, chances are you will have a healthy heart, and mostly likely live longer. Medically speaking, a dog at home means better cardiovascular health, especially for heart attack and stroke survivors who live alone. Prior studies have shown that dog ownership alleviates social isolation, improves physical activity and even lowers blood pressure.

Keeping a dog is a good motivation for physical activity. Let’s talk about personal experience. My dogs have helped me stay away from depression, and losing and maintaining a healthy weight. I am physically very active in the form of walking my dogs, getting up to fill their water bowls, tending to them when they are ill, cleaning the house when they dirty it, feeding them, etc. My dogs help me in not living a sedentary life. I am on the move most of the time even at home.

Above were some of the physical advantages of having a dog. However, my dogs have helped me in more ways than many in keeping me sane. I never feel lonely. I have a motive to live, and that is to give my dog the best and healthy life. I never think of suicide. I don’t constantly require human company, as my dogs are always around. My dogs also encouraged me to start this blog and share my experiences.

But the worse part about having a dog is – saying “Goodbye”. Ever since Casper crossed the rainbow bridge, I have never been able to fully recover. Dogs have a magic effect on us, which doesn’t vanish even after they are gone.

One of the reasons for these therapeutic effects is that dogs fulfill the basic human need for touch. It has been found that touch calms our nervous center and slows down our heartbeat. Touch also lowers blood pressure as well as cortisol, our stress hormone. It also triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone known for promoting emotional bonding to others. So now you get it, dogs are clingy. They don’t even leave you alone to the bathroom – ha ha ha ha ha!

Every dog should have a home. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying every home can have a dog. There are a lot of factor to be considered before getting a dog home like money, size of the house, number of members at home, city you live in, etc. And having a dog does not mean a piece of cake. It’s a huge responsibility. But once you have a dog, then there is no looking back. Your life changes for the better.

Let me share another benefit of having a dog. My dog’s Instagram account has more followers than my personal account. Also, many a times when I walk my dog, I have had many people approach me to pet my dog and just start a random chat with me. Not that it is safe to talk to strangers each time, but I have made many genuine friends only because of my dogs. Socializing at its best!

Let’s talk from astrology point of view (though I do not believe in astrology). It is considered lucky even in astrology to have a dog at home. People who are superstitious and believe in astrology have even told me that, “something evil was going to happen to me which Casper absorbed instead and died”. Once again, I do not believe in all this, my dog was ill and passed away; that was the actual case. In India, in many religions when food is being cooked at home, the first chapatti is given to dogs.

Whatever the reasons may be, my dogs have bought a lot of positivity into my life. I am extremely lucky to share a part of my life with Casper and Junior. They came into my life out of nowhere, when I was not even prepared to own a dog. But now, my life revolves around them. Has I not owned any dogs, I would have missed out on the best parts of my living. I am thankful and grateful for this beautiful experience.