Thursday, 2 February 2012

Why wonder when I call my doggies as my children?

Seeing my status message a friend messaged me from Bangalore. “Where is your son? You never told me you had a son.” He was angry on me. He asked me again: “Where is your son, in Doha or India?” I replied calmly: “In India.” He went on, “In India, where?” I said, with a smile: “With my parents.” Then, he really got pissed off. He said: “You people make children & grandparents should look after them for your luxury…” I cut him short before he continued to scold me and lecturing. “I thought by this time, you got it. Gundu is my doggie. I call my dogs as sons and daughters…” My friend was more than happy to know that. Yes, we treat our dogs like family members and we call them, rather consider them as our children. What’s wrong in that? Many dog lovers do that.

When I went to my cousin’s house last year, her sons had to tell me a complaint against their mom. The boys had got a lab pup and mom had allowed it to stay with them even for a day. Morning it came and when they reached home in the evening they found the pup missing. Not that somebody had stolen it, but my cousin had sent it back with the person who had given it to the boys. My mom said desperately: “You could have given it to us.” I wondered how a dog can change our way of thinking and lifestyle.

Yeah, I remember the day when I and my brother had brought a pomeranian pup when we were in school and my mom had sent it back to my uncle’s house. It had stayed with us only for a night. When people were around, it used to be quiet and playful and cried the whole night when we slept and the whole family didn’t sleep that night and in the morning my mom said that she doesn’t allow the pup to stay with us. Times, have changed since then.
Our second dog Nimmu
We got a dog when I went to Class 9 and since then, we have dogs at home and we love them and treat them like our family members. Doggy was the first dog member, a country street dog, who entered our family and our hearts. Then came, Nimmu, a lab and German Shepherd cross, who was like my daughter till she passed away last year, after staying with us for 12 years. In between came Dinku, a naughty and cute lab, who stayed with us for only 2 months. Even my mom cried when he passed away and it took 2-3 days to convince Nimmu that Dinku was no more. It hurt us to see Nimmu searching for her little playmate around the house. Dinku’s death had coincided with my KPSC results. I had not made through the exams, I cried a lot in the class when I came to know about the death of Dinku and my students thought that I was inconsolable because I had failed in the exam! I couldn’t muster strength to go home and see him.

Four years ago, another black lab entered our family and my mom insisted that he should be called Dinku. Dinku loved everybody, especially my mom. Both shared a strong bonding and loved each other a lot.
Dinku with his grandfather
Taking care of a dog like a family member is not easy. We can’t go anywhere and someone has to stay back and my mom has done that for years. We bring dogs, but she sacrifices her outings and stays back for them.

I was not surprised when she said that she would have taken care of the dog if my cousin had given it to us. No one addresses our dogs as dogs in our family, we call them by names and he or she. My mom has been grandma, my Dad grandpa, me mom and my brother uncle to them. They are like kids to us and we treat them like that.

Sometimes, I wonder how people abandon their dogs when they become old or sick. Pets are like our own children. When we stand for our children when he or she makes a mistake, can’t the same rule apply to pets? If we decide to bring a dog into the family, we are bound to take lifelong responsibility of the animal. And those owning pets should stand up for their animals when faced with a choice to dispose of the animal.

It hurts to see dogs fully-grown, that have served as loyal companions to their masters for years together, abandoned on streets.

I would love to have dogs around and I want my children to grow up around dogs and be sensible and passionate towards them.
Subbi when she was 45 days old
Dinku had some health problems and later doctor told us that he’s suffering from throat cancer and he passed away when he was three-year-old. After Dinku passed away, my dad was so engrossed in other things that he hardly finds time to indulge in a fitness routine, forget about going for a morning walk. It was not the same with him earlier. He had a walking partner in Dinku, who liked to jump at the mention of walk in morning. Evening, he gave company to my mom. Together, they used to go for a walk, rather say, a fitness walk.

Dinku always had time for us, come rain or sunshine. He had to be taken for a walk twice in a day. It made my parents to take him along for a walk regularly. So, even if they were not in the mood for a walk, he kept them pestering, till they gave in and put on their walking shoes. When he was there, they hardly missed their walking sessions.
Six-month-old Subbi

Dogs can be great companions. Once my parents developed a routine of walking with him, he ensured that they follow it on a regular basis, that too at a fixed time. He never ever let them forget that it is the time for them to get up and get going! Specially, he had that capability of charging my dad up, enhancing his energy levels, so that he walked faster and with much more enthusiasm. Need not to say that it burned more calories and improved his overall fitness levels. People never believe that he has crossed 60 years! Dinku served as a great stress buster and walking with him helped us forget all our worries and relax our mind as well.
My dad has made several friends. Many small kids in the neighbourhood talk to him and fondly approach him for he allowed them to talk and go close to Dinku or Nimmu or Subbi or now, Gundu.
One-month-old Gundu (in my right hand) with his little sis
And today, I read an interesting story on Reuters. Bereaved pet lovers in Bangkok go to Klong Toey Nai temple by the Chao Phraya river to mark the passing of their animal friends with full funeral rites which begin with short prayers by monks, a two-hour cremation, and a trip down the river to spread the ashes.
Four-month-old Gundu
The temple started to cremate stray dogs and cats nearly a decade ago, before they began offering funeral services for pets. Now they perform five to 15 funerals a day. While most are dogs and cats, the pets have included turtles, fish, rabbits and monkeys.
Seven-month-old Gundu...
It's a Buddhist belief that cremation sends you forward into the next life while a burial might not do that, dropping chips of fragrant wood and flowers into the incinerator.

The cost of a cremation is 1,800 baht ($60), including the boat service to spread the ashes. Cremation of dogs heavier than 20 kg (44 lb) costs 2,000 baht and those who want a gold-plated wooden coffin will have to pay another 3,000 baht.

The temple in the capital, which has an estimated 800,000 or more homeless dogs, also offers free services for those who bring in strays but cannot afford to pay.

The monks chant: "This life cycle is completed. We pray that Bai Toey be born in the next life blessed with prosperity and good health, in a better form, like one of a human."

Watch for more blogs on Gundu and how he was saved even after docs had lost all hopes.

1 comment:

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