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.

How much freedom is too much freedom?

Is there such a thing as too much freedom? In case of dogs, I don’t think that such a thing exists! Atleast in my house. What I believe is, dogs are already confined to in one house, if you have a backyard, then one house and a backyard. In that, if you restrict them to not enter the kitchen or bedroom or on the bed, then it is not fair. But this is entirely my perspective. And far more easier for me as I live alone.

Casper and Junior had no restrictions in the house. They were and are allowed on the couch, bed, kitchen, practically everywhere. They had full access to the house. But before we achieved this freedom, I have paid a little price for it. That is, I had to train both my dogs so that there were no accidents or damage. The price I paid was, eaten walls, eaten wires, damaged shoes, a little fall here and there, peeing anywhere, broken crockery, eating scraps in the kitchen, and some more little accidents.

But this freedom still comes with a price. There is dog hair everywhere. On the couch, bed, kitchen platform, wardrobes, bathrooms, etc. As I mentioned earlier, it is easier for me as I live alone and I pretty much now cannot live without coming across dog hair from anything I use.

However, there are some dogs that cannot be left loose in the whole house. If that’s the case with your dog, do not get disappointed. You can always crate train them. Crates are great to keep the dog safe and out of trouble. Since I was always of the opinion that dogs should be left loose in the house, I never found the need to get a crate and trained them accordingly. I had also trained my dogs to stay alone at home when I was not there. Again, initially I paid a price for it, because when I came home, I would find poop at random places or torn mattress or chewed bottles, etc. I never left them alone for long hours and they always had access to fresh drinking water. Also, they were always fed before I left the house as I have also managed my time according to their feeding schedule.

So, if you are thinking about giving your dog full freedom and if your dog is still having accidents or if he’s chewing off-limit items, it may be too challenging for him to be left loose while home alone at this point. Just keep working on the basics and use a crate for now. There is no magic age that says dogs can suddenly be given more freedom. It all depends on your unique dog’s behavior, so just be patient.

Don’t think about giving your dog too much freedom too quickly. You have to build a solid behavioral foundation for him first. I would like to bring one important point to your notice, i.e. never force your dog into the crate and never use it as a punishment. Always create a positive atmosphere by using treats and extra goodies like stuffed toys or durable toys while you are away.

Besides crates, there are also pet gates. They are fold-able and portable. Let’s say, you do not want your dog in the kitchen. You can put the gate at your kitchen entrance and restrict your dogs from entering the kitchen. Or you can use these gates anywhere in the house where you do not want your dog to have access to.

Now, let me make one thing clear. If your dog is trained and goes hours without any trouble in house, doesn’t mean he can be let off leash or let roam free outside your house and in your locality. No matter how well trained and well behaved your dog is, it is neither safe nor appropriate to allow your dog to roam free or off leash outside, even with supervision.

Every dog is unique. With time, you will understand your dog’s behavior and will be able to take a call if your dog can be allowed in the whole house or restricted to a particular area. None of the decisions will be wrong. Start by leaving your dog alone for 30 minutes, and then gradually increase the time. Accordingly adjust the time as per their meal schedules and your work schedules. If you do not want them on the bed, get them their own bed. I would also like to suggest to not leaving your dogs in the crate all day long. Besides their walks, let them play or roam a little in the house or your backyard.

Never punish your dogs, specially for making funny Instagram or TikTok Videos

Although everyone wants to give their puppy plenty of space to play and explore, allowing it free run of the house too early on is a sure recipe for disaster. Keep setting your puppy up for success by making sure it has toys to play with, has had plenty of exercise beforehand, and has already gone to the toilet.

Eventually, once he is able to go a full month without making any mistakes, he will be truly ready to roam the house on his own. Don’t expect a completely smooth process- but do expect a rewarding one as you develop an unspoken bond with your dog.

Regret getting a Dog?

Nothing has ever made me regret getting a dog. They are the best. If you give them love and take good care of them, there should be no regrets. However, I personally know some people who were pretty enthusiastic and formed an idea into their minds of how it would be like taking the dogs for walks, playing fetch, plenty of cuddles, etc. before bringing home a new dog; but later regret it.

I have been approached for advice a couple of times by people who were looking forward to bring home a dog. I have been asked questions which are always of cosmetic nature than practicality. They ask me which breed to buy, the cost of keeping a dog, the life span of the dog, etc. But it is only when I start asking them questions in return is the time they realise that bringing home a dog is just not “for my son/daughter” or “a status symbol” or anything which is cosmetic in nature, but way too different than that.

Nevertheless, they still bring home a dog and regret it later, because the reasons of getting a dog were always wrong and never backed by knowledge and a strong foundation.

Regrets can affect anyone. Whether it’s your first time bringing home a new puppy or a dog. I completely agree that it is not a piece of cake when a new member enters the house. However, if you are prepared and aware of the efforts to put in, there won’t be any regrets.

Often times, after getting a dog, people feel like they can’t do anything right, or the dog and they don’t have a meaningful connection, or they feel their freedom has gone for a toss. You may also have irregular sleeping schedules, and sometimes you can’t even catch a break. Most common sign of regret is feeling trapped, helpless and guilty. Please remember that these signs or regrets don’t last forever. It is a just human to feel all kinds of emotions when any new member enters your house, whether it’s a human or a dog.

Allow me to throw some brutal honest light on what you should know before bringing home a new puppy or a do:

  1. Every member in the house should agree to welcome the dog
  2. Don’t get a dog just for your child. After the initial excitement wears out, it is you who will have to take care of the dog and not your child
  3. Puppies require a lot of attention which will consume a lot of your time
  4. Your sleep will be disturbed for some weeks
  5. The initial few months will be a little heavy on your pockets
  6. Never bring a dog in a congested and a small house
  7. Your furniture, clothes, walls, wires, etc. can get destroyed till your puppy is teething and trained
  8. You will be restricted to travel for long hours for some time as you cannot leave your puppy alone
  9. There will be times when you will have to even cancel plans
  10. There will be poop and pee in the house till your dog is trained. Even after being trained, there will be accidents, plus vomits. Be prepared to clean it up by yourself
  11. Lower your expectations

All the above may seem overwhelming in the beginning or to even read it. But trust me when I say this; if you bring home a dog as a permanent family member (right reason), you will fall madly in love with him/her and you won’t be able to imagine your life without them.

Always consult a good vet and follow their instructions well. Besides the initial hick-up, getting a dog is the best decision in the world. Their unconditional love and loyalty is unbeatable. The fact is, dogs make us more Human, and I cannot explain this in any other better words. If there are problems, do not give up on the dog or beat them up or keep them tied. There are solutions to every problem. Do not give excuses like “I am getting married, so I have to put up my dog for adoption” or “my partner/child is allergic to dog” or “I am relocating”, etc.

Understand that there are teething problems, whether you start a new business, enter a new relationship or have a child. You don’t go around replacing or abandoning everyone and everything right! Just because dogs are voiceless, doesn’t give you the rights to abandon them.

While everyone’s circumstances and experiences are unique, you aren’t alone. Remember that on the other side of regrets of getting a dog are many years of love and friendship with your dog. Feelings of regrets are completely normal, but temporary. Don’t make a permanent decision on temporary feelings. I am no different. I too had puppy blues. But I was determined to get through it and today, I cannot imagine my life without my dogs.

Try to understand, your puppy has just been taken away from everything he has ever known by alien creatures (humans). He doesn’t even know what “good boy/girl” means yet. He’s still trying to figure out where he is and why he’s there. He doesn’t know this place is home yet, and he doesn’t know who his owners are. He’s scared. Day by day, the more you feed your dog with love and care, and the more you bond with him, he will begin to realize that you are his family. It will get easier with time. Whenever I got too frustrated or upset, I tried to remind myself how hard this must have been for Casper and Junior as well.