In a slightly emotional, yet relieved state as I write this. I almost lost my dog Joey — or at least that’s what it felt like, and it got me thinking — Do we deserve dogs?
Losing a pet is a terrible experience and I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy, having been through it once. It’s been years, yet I still beat myself up over all the things that I didn’t do. Not spending enough time, not getting enough pictures, not noticing him enough. It helped me be a little more conscious when Joey came along as a tiny puppy — whenever I’m at home, most of my time is spent around him. Or rather, he is around me. I document moments with him, annoy him and we frolick around all day.
The internet is rife with millions of pictures and quotes about Dog being man’s best friend. But do humans return the favour?
What you are going to read might sound silly or surreal depending on the kind of person you are — try to get into the shoes of a pet. I sometimes wonder how they can be so unconditionally loving and non-judgemental, cope with your moods and still come around wagging their tail for cuddles and games of fetch. Try giving someone love the same way a dog does. See if you can be consistent with it.
It surprises me how beautiful some of my interpersonal relationships became after I tried to, for the lack of a better phrase, “be like Joey”. It helped me realize who my circle is, and gave me an all-new perspective about my social and personal life.
I tried and I continue trying. But it does reach a saturation point where I’m tired/hurt and need a breather before I can begin again. Humans are selfish — and it’s sad how they appreciate things only when they lose them and take things for granted when they are around. I look back and realize the number of people that were ‘like Joey’ and aren’t anymore because I didn’t appreciate it or reciprocate or even take notice of it. It was only when I entered that space that I realized how hurtful it is to have your feelings invalidated. And that is exactly why my respect and love towards pet dogs has grown by a magnitude.
Sometimes I wish Joey could talk. For starters, it would be totally fucking cool — specifically when he can inform us when he is feeling ill. Second, I wouldn’t need to leave my house or ever feel like I don’t have anyone to talk to. I imagine it would be like a Ted-type situation with us sitting on the couch, sharing a pizza and watching a cricket match and yelling at the top of our voices. Third, he would be able to tell me how and why he is the way he is — with his unconditional, fluffy love and affection. I would ask him how I can make it a default setting within myself.
It is indeed sad that it took me a sudden health scare to appreciate the smaller things in life a little more. But a lesson is a lesson, no matter what. Despite the exhaustion, my little puppy(I don’t care if he’s a giant now, he’s still my puppy) dropped a bottle near my chair, curled up at my foot and chewed away at it like usual. It’s a routine of ours — he notices whenever I am unsettled or busy, comes near me and drops the bottle like it’s a way of saying — “Here if you need me, bro”. I respond by moving it a little with my foot. And he just sits there at peace. Knowing that he’s around offered me all the comfort that I needed, and I can only hope that I’m doing the same for him.
A lot of times, I question myself about ‘being like Joey’. I ask myself if it’s worth all the pain it can cause at times. But considering how much ‘being like Joey’ can brighten even the darkest of days, today, as I write these lines, I come to the conclusion that it definitely is worth it. Considering the shit-show that the world around us is turning into each day, we need more Joeys, and I realized I am happy to be one no matter what — because I realized that while the outside world does have the power to hurt me, invalidate me and break me, I know that I have my furry best friend waiting at the foot of my chair at the end of the day. Dogs have been fulfilling their purpose for ages now, it’s time we humans start stepping up and doing the same for them and for ourselves.