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Life With a Dog.


                 The old guy lies on a carpet by the fireplace, worn out and listless. His 'dad' comes over and whispers to him that his place is upstairs, with his parents in their soft bed, but fails to evoke a reaction from the oldie. So, he lies down next to his 'old baby' and wraps his arm protectively around him. His 'mum' then gets a blanket, tucks them in and after looking lovingly at the pair, tiptoes out of the room. 

              If you are a dog lover,  you will instantly  recognise this scene from the movie, 'Marley and Me'. It's a movie I have seen umpteen times, as I am sure you have, too. Every quote by the writer, John Grogan, will resonate with you. Every scene, whether hilarious or a tear-jerker, will make you reach for your bundle of  fur, and hug him tight.

            As I write this post, I  see  my labrador son of 12 years, Chikoo, sleeping by my feet; his breath rhythmic, his eyelids fluttering as he romps about in his dreamland.  As I ponder over our life together, I am overpowered by a medley of incidents that have Chikoo in the pivotal role. I am baffled as to how this little thing entered our lives and took over the position of  head of the family! I wonder how we survived before he came along with his muddy little paws and stamped love-prints all over our hearts, getting us addicted to him for life!

          I often hear people wondering why it is that we make a  big fuss  about our fur babies; they are animals, after all, who can't speak or convey emotions as their human babies do. So, I have gathered a few quotes that every dog-lover can relate to and am presenting these to you.  I don't intend to convert you into  dog-lovers, but to give a glimpse into our lives and understand why we dog-lovers are the way we are!

 "Dogs have this amazing knack of finding those people who need them the most!" 

             I can vouch for this one. This little fur ball  of ours,  who was the weakest of the lot, but with the largest of the hearts, entered our world, which was one big vacuum. Maybe we were blessed enough to have our saviour, our guardian angel amidst us!
            Our canine baby is blessed with  boundless reserves of patience and understanding - a  lot more than humans.  We needed it. It isn't easy dealing with  patients of mental illness. And, I, the care-giver, was  a bundle of nerves, always on edge, on the verge of bursting, like a balloon.     Handling the patient's  nervous breakdowns, dealing with my mood-swings, dealing with us during the worst of our times, requires special skills. We wouldn't have survived these tough times, had it not been for our Chikoo.

           We humans are a  fragile lot, overwhelmed by stress all our lives. It really isn't easy living with us, condoning our rude behaviour, enduring the injustice inflicted by us on those we take for granted. But, dogs, now they are a special species, indeed! You scream at a dog, vent out your frustration on the poor animal, and yet, all it does is look at you with smiling eyes and a wagging tail. As if it were some new game -  this yelling and screaming! Or maybe, they have this innate understanding of the hell we go through, of the amount of love we all are in desperate need of and showering it on us in unlimited quantities.

"A dog doesn't care if you are rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his!" 

           Yes, they do that. Chikoo won't care for gifts.  I just need to call out, "Hey, Chikoo babyyy!" and his tail wags like crazy! I wonder when was the last time I was as happy.  The simple joy at being called 'baby' is something we humans might never experience. Or, we may, but when in the rush of new-found love, when our lover calls us, "baby"! But, for how long does that joy last? We would rather be gifted a solitaire, than be called 'baby' night and day! But, call a dog by that name each day, every day, and he will simply shower his love on you.

           Have you seen the ecstasy in the eyes of a stray dog, when petted by a street urchin? What does the kid  have to give to that mutt by his side, except some words of love or a few affectionate strokes on its back? And yet, the contentedness that drips from the canine eyes can't be measured. Go ahead, spare a few minutes and just have a look. It will warm your heart, I am sure.


"Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day!"__

         It's a shame we leave our dogs at home. The amount of time they spend alone  is a lot for these creatures. And, these babies, they wait with bated breath; eyes glued to  the door, ears straining to catch a single sound of our approaching footsteps, or the horn of our car. And, the moment they realise it's their human at the door, they break into rhapsodies of happiness! The warm welcome they give us, it would melt even the most unemotional of hearts!
         
       
         Lastly, here's this quote by John Grogan from 'Marley and Me' that would receive a resounding "Aye" from us all, because once you have lived with a dog, you can trust yourself to come out a changed person at the end of this journey you have shared with him. These guys, they live in the moment,  forgiving and forgetting the past in a fraction of a second. It's a  lesson we  humans need to learn, what with the amount of grudges we keep moving around with,  for years together.

"A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things - a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in the shaft of a winter sunlight. And, as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and above all else, unwavering loyalty."


        So, how did that feel?  Dogs aren't all that bad, are they?

Comments

  1. Such a beautiful post, Shilpa. I know how much you love Chikoo. Dogs are beautiful. They give so much more than they get. Why, oh why, do they have such short lives? Have you seen Hatching? Another fabulous movie. I had written a post on Coco where l had quoted from Marley and me as well. What a movie! Having a pet at home has made my children so much more sensitive and responsible. And what a heartwarming relationship they have with their brothers! Aren't we so blessed to have them in our lives?

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    1. Yes, Rachna, we are so blessed! Yes, they do work their magic on one and all, esp the kids. Parth is so much more sensitive as compared to other boys his age, I feel. Maybe the credit goes to his 'bro', for making him so! Really wish Chiks could live longer, way longer than he actually will...However, he will always always live in my heart, that's for sure! :-)

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    2. And you know kids and I cry
      everytime we see Marley and me and Hatchiko. We then hug Coco a little more.

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    3. Aww! I do, too! Every time I see the movie, I bawl like a baby, and Chikoo looks at me with wonderment when I wrap my arms around him!
      Oh yes, Hatchiko....I saw that movie many years ago, and that day I cried and cried! :(

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  2. The sheer love and amazing beauty of your bond with Chikoo comes through in this piece. I've watched Marley and Me and cried both when reading the book and watching the movie. Dogs do have this incredible capacity to forgive and accept us just as we are. So much we as humans can learn from them.

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    1. True, Shailaja. And, I am hoping some of Chikoo's sensibilities rub off on me, and I am able to better myself as a person!

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  3. Shilpa, you have echoed my sentiments:) My Sparky was another Chikoo...the waiting for daddy to come home, unconditional love, unparalleled joy at seeing us in the mornings. Going for walks, just cuddling, sloppy kisses, licks, I miss all these things now that she is gone. Your post brought back sweet memories, thanks A ton. Your love for Chikoo shines through your loving words, God bless.

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  4. Shilpa, I watched Marley n me atleast 4 times and each time I cried buckets. Your post was such an emotional and heartfelt one....it had me teary-eyed! I think having a pet like yours requires a lot of courage. I would love to have one but the thought of being separated from one so close to you eventually is utterly heart-wrenching....I just don't have the capacity to handle that! Beautiful post girl! Love and hugs :)

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    1. Aww, thank you, Kala! Yes, movies on dogs always tend to leave us misty-eyed, that's how dogs are - too loving and loyal! I wonder, do we even deserve their love?

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  5. I've choked up, Shilpa. That's all I wanna say...

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    1. Vishal, I myself was choked up by the time I finished writing this post!

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  6. Sniff! What a touching post about your Chikoo and the unconditional love of dogs. So sad that their lives are so short, isn't it? Very emotional post. That Chikoo is such a sweetie. Wish I could give both he and you a big hug. Sending one virtually across the miles so you can know how much I was touched by this heartfelt post. Thanks for your friendship, Shilpa!

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    Replies
    1. And, thanks for that hug, Cat! I felt the squeeze! :)
      And,thank you, for your friendship, too! <3

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  7. I can only say one thing, Shilpa.
    You write about Chikoo like I write abotu Rishi. And that's the biggest compliment I can give you :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sid! That IS a big compliment, one which I am going to treasure always! :)

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  8. AS a lifelong dog lover, I can relate to all that you've said here, Shilpa. :) Your beautiful boy, Chikoo, is fortunate to have such a wonderful Mama.

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    1. Thank you so much, Debbie! And, fortunate are the countless fur babies whom you shower with your boundless love! <3

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  9. Dogs are the most beautiful creation in the world. Your post on Chikoo is making me miss my Sirius and Nikki. Their eyes, the wag of tail, the way they jump on me when they see me... it's an amazing feeling. Beautiful post :)

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    1. Yes, Raj, dogs are indeed the most beautiful creation! I am so fortunate to have one for myself! :)

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  10. What a heartfelt post. I have never had a pet in my life. Never. So I haven't experienced that kind of unconditional love. Sad but true. Reading your post made me emotional and I wish a long long life for Chickoo. Hugs to your baby from my side.

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    1. Aww, thank you so so much, Parul! Chikoo sends his love! <3

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  11. It's only recently that I have started interacting with animals. Ever since a bog bite at an age of 5, I have always been terrified of animals and the unpredictability. But in the past 3 years, the love I have seen between pets and their families has been wonderful. And your post makes me want to have a pet dog all the more.

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