While growing up, I never had the urge to buy or adopt a pet. My neighbors had dogs and I remember I'd acknowledge them and give the guys a little pat on their heads, but did I go all the out and play with them? No! My life seemed perfectly fine with a few friends in the neighborhood, school-work, books, extra-curricular activities and regular outings with my family. Pets were a responsibility that I did not want, particularly dogs because I believed they needed a lot of attention and care.
Nevertheless, I had my share of pets. I experienced lovebirds that were a birthday gift from my aunt. My interest in them lasted for three minutes. They moved a little bit around the cage and chirped but I wasn’t very impressed. The birds must have sensed this because they flew away one afternoon before I was back from school. I took the loss pretty well. A few months after the birds, a friend of the family bought me a goldfish. Unfortunately not only do I not like gold fish, I don't even like their bowls. I find them oddly shaped and purposeless once the fish die. My only memory of my goldfish was when it died and my maid took it home to cook it, or so she claimed.
Years passed since the birds and the fish. In that time, I made friends with a couple of stray dogs on the street. They would follow me home and I would, as usual, pat their back. They were not allowed in the house, not even in the garden, probably because my parents were worried that the dogs would stay and I'd lose interest in them quickly. Needless to say, they didn’t want the responsibility of a dog that I’d lost interest in. So I limited my interaction with them to the streets.
In 2007,my cousin, a complete animal lover, moved in with us and on one of our morning walks we found an injured stray pup. She wondered if we could adopt him and I gave her all the encouragement she needed. For me the scenario was perfect: she’d taken on the responsibility of the pup and I’d take on the fun. However, things were harder than we had anticipated. Staying true to his nature of a stray, the pup ran out on to the streets all the time. Soon my cousin moved and so did the dog…back to the streets. Following this experience, I made a decision: no more pets!!!! So imagine my apprehension when my sister made an announcement that she was moving back home to Bangalore with her two dogs. I wasn't very thrilled. Born and raised in the United States, these puppies were no less pampered than babies. I feared all the fuss around them and the constant attention they would need.
They arrived one sultry summer night. Exhausted from their travels, they were nonchalant about their new surroundings and the new people. I believed that their “calmness” would quickly disappear after their jetlag and chaos would follow. The next day, as I woke up to the dogs and gingerly greeted them, I was thoroughly surprised at how easy-going the dogs were. They had seamlessly adapted to the new family, the weather, the smells, the traffic and the environment all in a few hours. But what amazed me the most was that they were very well-behaved. They have been so well-trained that my fears of them being brats were wiped put instantly. With tongue twister names ( Prof Wigglesworth and Sir Plumperton), these dogs are the simplest guys I have ever met. All they want is to eat, sleep and be around us. My love for them has grown so much in the last month that not only do I love being greeted and followed by them, I also love taking care of them. No more do I look at them as chores. They have become family.