Sensitive – Blessing or Curse?

Being a dog lover, and, a dog mom, my family and friends keep asking me for suggestions for some good dog related movies. Honestly speaking, in my whole life I have watched only 2 dog related movies because even in movies, I cannot see a dog getting hurt or dying.

I am a big cry baby in real life. Sensitive to the core. Till date, I still remember the sadness I felt in the end while watching “Marley & Me” and dwell on it. Even when there are news articles about animal abuse or similar, I do not read it. Or if someone suggests me to watch some movie, my first question to them is “is the dog tortured or does the dog die?”. Only after that I will consider watching.

The other movie that I watched was “A Dog’s Purpose”. Though the movie was fantastic, I have cried buckets of tears throughout the movie. Ever since then I decided that I will never watch any dog movies, irrespective of happy or sad ending. Since so many years I was eager to watch the movie “Hachiko”. As I know the real life story very well, I do not have the guts to watch this movie.

My close friends and family are aware of my sensitive nature towards dogs. One time, a friend was suggesting me to watch a Netflix Series. But he very clearly mentioned to me to start watching the series from the second episode; as the first episode would leave me in tears because a dog dies in it. Another time, another friend of mine had posted a dog abuse awareness article on his page. Soon after he called me and said, “I have posted an article, but do not open the video.” Well, I didn’t even have to question why.

But it’s not just about dogs. Some months back, a very tragic incident happened in south India. Some jerk filled an empty pineapple with crackers and left it in the jungle. An Elephant came and ate the pineapple. But soon ran towards the stream and submerged herself in water as she got poisoned by the crackers and was trying to cool herself down. Unfortunately, she died. On autopsy, it was revealed that she was pregnant. It’s been months, and I still cannot forget about this.

When COVID19 came into light, there were many rumors all over the world that Coronavirus can be transferred through dogs as well. To say this was utter nonsense would be an understatement. But many morons started abandoning their dogs in the fear of the virus. I kept coming across so many articles of the same that I uninstalled the news app completely.

But then, I even know some people, who are dog parents and lovers just like me, but when it is time, they become extremely particle and are ready to put their dog to sleep. I can totally understand that sometimes it is the need of the hour. But no matter what, I can NEVER take that decision, come what may.

Am I the only super sensitive person or are there people like me? I hold on to some memories so tight and it gets overwhelming, when in reality I know I have to go. But mind it, I am only sensitive when it comes to animals, more over; when it comes to dogs. It’s funny when I ask does the dog die in the movie and my friends reply, “no, but the human dies.” And I am like, “oh ok.”

Some say I am too sensitive. But the truth is; I just feel too much. Every word, every action and every energy goes straight to my heart. This does not mean I am too dramatic, too emotional, too intense or too much of anything. As most think and say, “be practical, he is just a dog. You know he won’t live as long as you” or “not everyone is a dog lover like you.” This is just my keen awareness to their pain and my passion to understand the unspeakable. I have always felt things deeply and differently than most people. That has been both my blessing and my curse.

I have been tagged as an over thinker and dramatic person when I have cried for stray dogs or when I have expressed my intention of not watching a dog movie. People have even called me fake and an attention seeker. What they do not understand is, I am not a miserable person. I am an intense person. When I feel happiness or love, I feel those things intensely, and I feel pain over intensely. It’s the price I pay for FEELING. Do you feel for others intensely? Do you understand dogs even in their silence? Let me know. I would be glad to connect with people like me.


Dogs Myth De-bunking

All my life, even after a few years of getting a dog, I believed in a lot of things, assuming them to be true
facts on dogs. With time, and experience, I realized they were totally false and baseless. I am sure, even
you must have heard and assumed some of the below myth to be true:

1) Wet nose is a healthy dog:
I always believed that the shinier and wetter the nose, the healthier the dog. But this is
completely not true. Whereas, the reverse is true, that if the dog’s nose is dry and appears to be
cracked, then definitely you should take your dog to the vet. Casper’s nose was shinny and wet
throughout his life. Infact, even till two days before his death, his nose was twinkling. But the
fact was, he was very ill. On the other hand, Junior has always had an orange semi glow nose,
but in his 8.5 years of life, he has been doing relatively good.

2) Labradors should be shaved:
A big NO NO! I used to shave my dogs when they would shed a lot. But my vet educated me on
not doing so as their coat is their natural protecting layer. It helps them in maintaining their
body temperature and if we shave them, we disrupt their routine and daily living. Besides this,
Casper and Junior always developed bad rashes after being shaved and they would scratch their
selves like hooligans.

3) Training is only for puppies or young dogs:
Absolute rubbish. When Casper was 5 years old, he learnt how to do Namaste. Even today, I try
teaching Junior some new tricks. Infact, it is a good idea to teach your dogs some new tricks
every month. This helps in keeping their minds stimulated and engaged.

4) All dogs are great swimmers:
Most of the dogs are good swimmers. But not all. Casper could swim very well, but Junior
drowns and is even petrified to come near the pool. On the other hand, Casper hated baths and
I had to literally drag him inside the bathroom, but Junior knows Sunday is his bath day and
when he sees me taking his towel in the bathroom, he will walk in without me having to call
him. (he doesn’t hate baths, but isn’t a great fan of it too)

5) The guilt looks on dogs when they do something bad or when you scold them:
What all we do to gain followers on Instagram or for more likes. We make videos of scolding
dogs just to show the world how guilty they look. The look is not of guilt, but the dogs are
scared. Yes, we should stop them if they are doing something which they shouldn’t or train
them, but never raise our voice or scold them. This only increases fear in dogs and under no
circumstances this should be a content for any social media site.

6) Dogs eating grass to induce vomiting and they are sick:
I am absolutely guilty of this one. Something I believed for the longest time. But this is not true.
Dogs do vomit after eating a lot of grass. But many a times, they eat grass just because they like
it. It does not necessarily mean they have a bad stomach or they are ill.

7) Dogs should be mated atleast once before being neutered:
I got Casper mated four times before getting him neutered. And, I never got Junior mated
before neutering him. Neutering has a lot of benefits. It helps in calming the dog, it also helps in
controlling the population. The puppies born are not randomly given out for the sake of
adoption. Many breeders over mate the female dogs for money which results in low quality life
of the dog and many puppies are born with a weaker immune system. Casper was a result of
over breeding, which I didn’t know back then. He had a weak immunity and would fall sick often.
I always suggest to neuter dogs as it really calms them down and hopefully lives a quality life.
Trust me, your dog is missing out on nothing if he/she is neutered without getting mated.

8) Tug-of-War game can cause aggression:
Absolute No! Junior’s favorite game is Tug-of-War. And he is the friendliest dog you will ever
meet. Many dogs truly enjoy playing this game. It is a healthy display of their predatory nature,
and, an excellent physical and mental workout. It is also a great way to reinforce the human-
canine bond.

9) Dogs heal their wounds by licking it:
There are two myths associated to this. Dogs mouths are cleaner than humans and their saliva
help in healing wounds. Just imagine, some dogs eat their own poop. Think about all the
bacteria that is transferred from the poop or the wound to their mouths. Their mouths are dirty.

10) Some dog breeds are more aggressive than the other:
A dog’s behavior is 100% based on how a human trains them. No dog is aggressive or bad based
on the breed. This is baseless. If you train your dog to bite or bark at people, or if your house
atmosphere is volatile and bad, then the dog will learn the same, and that is your problem, not
the dog’s. Sometimes, if your dog is anxious or aggressive, it could also be out of fear. It is
important be a responsible human being and not to blame our actions on the breed of the dog.

11) All stray dogs have Rabies and they bite:
No dog bites for no reason. And no, all stray dogs do not have Rabies. It is always advisable to
approach an unknown dog with caution; not because he has Rabies, but maybe he is hungry or
scared and get a little anxious. All my strays in the locality are vaccinated and friendly; because
we do not hit them or kick them or burst crackers on them or keep them hungry. The dogs are
always fed and treated when ill or injured. When a dog bites, it is basically because of the way
he has been trained or treated. If a dog bites, it is our fault.

There are quite a few more myths about dogs, but the above are the ones that I have experienced
personally. A well trained dog is a well behaved dog. Adding a good diet and enough exercise helps in keeping
them healthy. There is nothing more they ask for. But we humans, believe in things without knowing the
facts and impose it on our dogs. If we bring a pet at home, or even stray dogs, it is our responsibility to
know the facts first before taking any action which cause harm to them. Myths and false information are
very easy to believe, but it is time we start questioning anything before assuming it to true.

Do you want another dog?

As you all know, I am The “Accidental” Dog Mom. When I got Casper and Junior, I was not in a position to have dogs. But little did I know they were a blessing in disguise, and, now I am a proud and content mother of 2 beautiful fur Angels.

I have been asked this a lot of times, “would you get another dog after Junior?” And most of the times, my answer is NO. Not because of the responsibility or the costs that comes along with bringing up a fur baby; but because of the attachment and love that no matter what, I will never be prepared for their passing, inspite of knowing they won’t live as long as us.

Many a times, I ponder that I should adopt a stray dog or an abused or abundant dog to give him/her a better life. More often, my friends and family suggests to never get another dog. Their reasons are, “I am stuck”, “my future husband will not accept it”, etc. I know they only mean good, but the attachment and love for a dog is only known to us dog lovers.

I often believe, two dogs are better than one. But only when one brings them home at the same time or at a difference of a year or two. However, there are a lot of things to consider before getting another dog. You often wonder, “Wow! Let’s bring siblings, they bond instantly, your family is complete and you have an Instagram worthy content to share with the world.” Wait a minute! There are a million wrong reasons to get home a second pup. Some of them are:

  • Your family wants one
  • Your first dog has separation anxiety
  • Your first dog has developed an aggressive behavior
  • The first dog isn’t really the breed you wanted
  • You miss the puppy cuteness and play

Nevertheless, also consider the following reasons before getting a second dog:

  • You will spend more
  • Your first dog has already established his territory
  • Gender of the dog
  • Do you have time?
  • Do you have the energy to start all over again with the training?
  • Two dogs, double the fur
  • Space in your house
  • Travelling becomes difficult

I know some people, who bought a second dog after the death of their first dog. Then, I know some who were fostering a dog, fell in love, and, adopted him/her. Me for example, I got Junior because the one who was going to adopt him, never turned up. While I completely understand these reasons and they are unavoidable in most cases to get a second dog, you still need to know that adding another dog to your household is a big decision and definitely shouldn’t be brought for the wrong reasons.

A second dog can be double joy to the family, If done correctly and for the right reasons. But let me ask from the mental point of view – Is it just me or does anyone else think that they cannot bare to come to terms of getting too attached with the dog and eventually they will leave earlier than us? I have lost Casper suddenly and untimely. Till date I have not overcome his passing. I still cry when I miss him a lot. And I dread losing Junior, even though I know I have to be prepared for it.

My dogs have just not been my emotional support, but my companions, my best friends, my children, and my entire life rotates around them. And when I lost Casper, a part of me also went away with him. For me, getting another dog once Junior gets old or worse (which I do not want to mention), is like considering between having another faithful friend who loves you unconditionally for almost 15 years or living in fear and then sorrow all your life once they are gone. No dog is replaceable. Junior can never fill the void that Casper left, and no other dog can fill the void after Junior. I am financially stable, I have space, I have an excellent experience in handling dogs, but I still am indecisive in getting another dog.

Do you’ll consider this point of view before getting another dog? As I know some who never bought another dog for the same reason as the attachment is so great, that you fear losing them every single day. Please share your views on this. It would be enlightening to hear from you’ll.

Flashback of the year 2020!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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