11 Things My Dogs Have Taught Me

I had never thought my life would change so much after getting my dogs. Being a proud mom to two beautiful fur babies, I can bet that dogs are the best creatures that God has made. They have taught me a lot of things, but the most important of it was, being a decent human being. Here’s what I have learnt from my best friend, my companion, my babies, my dogs:

1. Loyalty:

My dogs don’t care if I am rich, poor, ugly, pretty, living in a big house or small. They always come running to me to shower me with kisses when I come home. After my separation from my ex-husband, I was forced to give my dogs for adoption. But they had taught me how to be loyal under any circumstances. So I fought for them, went against the world and never gave them up. They taught me that it is very easy to be loyal. The bond so strong and pure, that it is impossible to keep us apart.

2. Live in the moment:

Do dogs ever think what tomorrow will bring for them or what happened yesterday? No! They just live in the moment. Even if they have been having the same routine for years, they get happy at every walk or every meal that is served. We torture ourselves so much by thinking about the past or future, that we forget to live in the present. But my dogs have actually taught me to LIVE NOW, to be happy with what you have now. Hope for a good future, but never expect.

3. It doesn’t take much to make someone smile:

Even if my dog is sleeping, I will just end up smiling by realizing the simple fact that he exists. But honestly, my dogs make me smile and laugh instantly by just doing anything. I had read an article about a person who had left a suicide note before he took his life. The note said, “even if one person smiles at me today, I will not commit suicide.” I don’t know how far this is true, but one smile can definitely make a difference in someone’s life. So smile often.

4. Some of the best times are spent at home:

I am a very different person now than what I was during my young days. Those times, I would stay out all day long, meet friends, go bowling, play snooker, etc. But now, I love spending time at home with my dogs, in the peace and comfort of my space. Trust me, these are the best moments and I wouldn’t compromise this for any parties or outings. This has made me more of a peaceful person who believes in spending quality time with the ones you love.

5. Family keeps you going on the worst day:

This has been the most important realization by far. I have faced some bad days in my life where once I tried to commit suicide. But my dogs saved me. They have been my reason to live. And not just live, but to thrive. Had it not been for my dogs, parents and brother, I would have either been into depression or probably be dead. Always keep your family close. You will be replaced in a job or replaced by your lover, but never replaced in family. And your dogs will always be waiting for you their whole life. I am sure, everyone has heard or read about Hachiko. So, always keep going for your dogs, for your family.

6. Being fearless:

This doesn’t mean I never get scared. Yes, I do fear. But when it’s time, I throw my fear in the bin and face things with a brave face. I will give you an example. Once I was walking Casper and Junior and this auto rickshaw drive purposely banged into Junior (not hard) and started driving. I let out a loud abuse to him. He stopped his rickshaw, got out, picked a stone and started running towards me to hit me and my dogs. That was time when I said, “come what may, I will protect my dogs from this filthy man.” But before I could react, Casper pounced on that man, scared him and shooed him off. Because Caspu too thought the same, that anyhow he had to protect his Mumma. Fearlessly fight for the ones you love and who loves you.

7. Being happy and content in what and how much I have:

When I see Casper and Junior, I feel like the richest woman in this world. All I want is their good health, long life and their safety. They are my life’s most precious treasure. When Casper passed away, my world had come crashing down. But I had to live and come out of my depression for Junior. I didn’t bounce back for a luxury car or more money or a new boyfriend. I became me again for what was left, and that was Junior. I am more than happy to live in bare minimum, as far as I have Junior with me.

8. Make life simple:

People are strange. So much potential, yet here they are, doing everything that complicates their lives rather than simplifying it. My dogs taught me that if you cannot get something, pee on it, throw some mud and get moving. Just keep it that simple. If there is something you cannot change, why bother. And if there is something that you can change, change it and stop worrying.

9. Never grow old:

Your body may grow old, but always stay young at heart. Junior is aging, but I always tell everyone that he is still like a 2-year-old baby, and I just want to be like him. My dogs have kept me physically active also, but I still play hide-n-seek with my dogs, throw the ball, running around. All this keeps me still young at heart and happy. Just like Junior, who is 8+ years old, but still enjoys playing and belly rubs and ice creams, I too will enjoy all the little things even when I turn old.

10. Always keep a little Wolf in you:

Always keep that 20% wolf in you. If you ever give it up, you’re done. The beauty of a great dog doesn’t lie in its obedience but in its loyalty. Loyalty is a choice. Dogs choose to be dogs and not wolves. That’s what makes them so special. Same way, keep a little wolf within you. You never know, when you have to bring it out.

11. It is very easy to love one person your entire life:

In today’s world, where divorce and breaking up has become a trend, my dogs have taught me that one person is enough to love in a million ways. Every time I look at my dogs, I fall in love with them all over again. They have taught me different ways of loving one person. They have taught to me to love without limits, unconditional love, pure love.

If there is anything that my dogs have not taught me, it is to live without them. I still grieve Casper’s death. That void has never been filled and never will be. But he taught me valuable lessons in my life. Most of all, he saved my life. And for Junior, he still fills my life with a lot of joy, happiness and love. This Accidental Dog Mom is so grateful to God for accidentally bringing her dogs into her life and making her a good human being.

Don’t shop, Adopt!

Many of you must have heard the latest catch-phrase, “Adopt, Don’t Shop?” If not, then you might be wondering what it means. Adopt, Don’t Shop is a campaign slogan that a growing number of animal rights proponents are using to promote adopting pets from shelters, rather than buying them from pet stores. Now you must be wondering that I had 2 dogs, both Labradors, one passed away and the other I can’t top raving about, and, I am talking about adopting and not shopping? As oxymoron my title and my current life may sound; I can safely confess that I realised this only after getting my dogs and becoming an animal lover. Today, I take care of some stray dogs, and over a period of time I have realised that no matter the breed, each and every dog has only two things to give, unconditional love and loyalty.

Initially when I was a new dog mom, wasn’t much involved with strays; as funny as it may sound, my involvement with stray dogs has also been accidental. One day, I was driving through my local market and had to suddenly brake as there were puppies on the road. On reaching home, I couldn’t stop thinking about them, and so, the very next day, I went back to the same spot with a packet of milk. I wasn’t even aware how many puppies were there or if they were even being looked after; I just went there to feed them. Now that I think about, my love for strays didn’t exactly start there. When I was living happily with my husband, I would always see a stray dog at a particular hour come near my apartment in search of food. I guess it all began back then; I would feed that dog every evening after realising his pattern.

Post separation, I shifted to a rented house and continued to take care of any and every dog I could. Once, I recollect, I saw a puppy limping at a traffic signal which was at walking distance to my house. I immediately went there and noticed there were not one, but two puppies out of which one was hit by a car. I called an NGO and got the puppy admitted to a hospital. Since I was in continues touch with them, the NGO volunteers informed me that the puppy’s internal organs were inflated and had to undergo a major surgery for the same. I donated some money, and after the puppy recovered, he was adopted by a loving and caring lady. His brother, unfortunately was not so fortunate, and while I would take care of him and give him the vitamins he needed, one day when I went to feed him, he was nowhere to be found and the locals informed me that the puppy passed away suddenly.

A piece of advice for all those of you who want to feed puppies’ milk; dogs genetically are lactose intolerant. So, if you intend to feed them milk, please dilute the milk with water. 1/3rd Milk and 2/3rd Water. When I used to feed the stray puppies in the market, a very old gentleman man there as well would come often to feed them. I was glad to see that there were still people living who cared. Soon it became my routine to feed those puppies on my way to work. From there, my journey began and without even noticing, I started looking after more than 40 stray dogs. Each one I would get neutered, vaccinated, fed, etc. I have even had a million fights with people for feeding them. Some for religious reason, some for spreading dirt, some with the fear of being bitten and some for no reason at all.

Not many people in the world know the realty about stray dogs; majority believe strays are untouchable beasts and carrier of rabies whose only motive in life is to bite them. What they fail to understand is that no creature bites without a reason. They bite only if threatened, or if they have had a bad past experience with humans.  If you have hit them, or something that a human has done has scared them, their natural defence mechanism will kick in and they will tend to bite as a reflex action.

The one thing we as humans are the worst at is being human! At times, we are so harsh and cruel that we forget that even strays are living beings who feel pain, anger, sorrow and happiness, just like us! All these strays want is some food, and a little love. It is a pitiful situation for them to run about for food and they don’t even know when and where their next meal will come from. To add up to their misery, the harsh weathers of the country severely affect them. I have lost several dogs and puppies to rains in Mumbai. Last year, one of my stray dogs had 6 puppies right before rains. Let me tell you, rains in Mumbai are pretty heavy. After the first rainfall, I lost all the 6 puppies as the bitch and one more stray dog got stuck in the drainage as they were trying to take shelter from the rains. Another incident that still brings tears to my eyes; I had once gone to feed some puppies in an under construction building. All the puppies came running towards me except two. When I went towards them, they had both passed away hugging each other in their sleep due to the severe cold weather. I have seen many dogs run over by cars, many being poisoned and some even being stoned. The laws in my country are weak and not at all strict against animal cruelty. So, the culprit always walks out free on bail within minutes of being reported. I myself face a lot of issues in my apartment because they do not like dogs and pick up fights for no reason. People have actually threatened me to throw me out of the building because of my dogs’ inspite of laws clearly saying that no apartment complex can ban dogs.

What people don’t understand that Indian strays are not only intelligent, but over the years their survival skills have made them live longer with lesser medical complications. My parents had adopted a stray dog in their apartment building. We called him Caddy. He was such a calm and patient dog. At the same time, he was so alert that in his entire life spam of 16 years that he lived in their building, they didn’t have one single robbery or theft. Even today, every morning when I go down to walk Junior and feed my dogs, they are eagerly waiting for me wagging their tails at the building gate. Not just that, there has been an incident when I was inappropriately approached by a man, but my stray immediately realized the danger and started barking at him, ensuring he left me alone. Love, loyalty and security, this is what every dog gives. No matter the breed or colour. And this I learnt after having Casper and Junior. I have pledged that if ever I get another dog, it will be a stray dog or an abandoned dog or a dog that has been the longest in a shelter or the most undesirable one. Because, every dog is an angel and every dog deserves a home.

Playing with one of Junior’s toys