A Dog’s Tale
Man’s best friend can teach man a thing or two about living and loving, feels Nikita Mukherjee
Being a dog lover, I always had several questions on my mind: What do dogs think? How do they feel? How are they so human-like? As I spend more and more time with them, I realise that they are just like us. They might not have the intelligence and the higher level of consciousness that we have, but one thing that makes us alike is LOVE. And as I spend more time with these lovely, four-legged, cute creatures, I realise that there’s no one else who loves better than them.
A dog is a man’s best friend. This beautiful friendship started around 20,000 years ago when wolves, from whom dogs have descended, started living in a symbiotic way with humans, protecting them in the wild in return for food and shelter. Since then, a dog’s love and friendship with human beings has been pure and unconditional.
This article is an attempt at understanding the world from a dog’s perspective and how we humans can learn some valuable virtues from them in order to become better individuals and, most importantly, compassionate beings. So, sit back, and enjoy this journey from a dog’s eye view.
Chapter 1: Gratitude
Hello everyone! My name is Whiskey. Why ‘Whiskey’ you may ask? Because I am a golden retriever, coloured like whiskey. I was the last-born in a litter of six puppies, on a beautiful, bright day—February 02, 2011. My siblings and I were not born in a comfortable atmosphere; my mother gave birth to us on the roadside. She was abandoned by her owner when she was pregnant, just because he didn’t want to take responsibility for her offspring. Nevertheless, our initial days went by in eating and sleeping. My siblings and I used to sleep the whole day while my mother went in search of food.
Even though I was born in the harshest of environments with a very difficult start, I always had a feeling of gratitude and felt somewhat thankful for being born. It seemed like some gift had been given to me by God, and I needed to utilise it to the fullest.
I have always been a firm believer in hope. From the time I started understanding the mechanics of this world, I started hoping for better days and a good life ahead. And God surely listened to my prayers! Our lives changed on a fateful Sunday when some animal rescuers came and took us with them to their beautiful shelter.
Chapter 2: Acceptance
All of us were taken to a place which humans commonly refer to as ‘animal shelter.’ Coming from a filthy roadside, this place seemed like heaven at first glance! Other than us, there were a lot of other young ones and adults of all shapes, sizes, colours and even types.
My first encounter at the shelter was with this beautiful, peach-coloured cat whom everyone called Hazel. Hazel was a bit distant at first, but soon, we became the best of friends. We used to play, eat, roam, and even sleep together. Soon enough, everyone started wondering if I was even a dog or not! Funny as it sounds, I was closer to Hazel than to my own brothers and sisters. This fact didn’t make me love them any less, but I was always the social butterfly of the animal shelter. I loved making new friends irrespective of how they looked, how much hair they had on their body, what shape and size they possessed, or what creature they were. I never judged them on the basis of their appearance or which breed they belonged to. As long as I connected with them and loved spending time with them, all these trivial issues didn’t matter to me.
Honestly, animals are way less complicated than humans. We don’t have the ego or the intelligence to make judgements on the basis of trivial matters. We are simple creatures who love and accept anyone who is good to us. So, it didn’t matter to me that Hazel was a peach-coloured fat cat who had her own personality and loved her space, or that my rescuers were tall and dark humans who looked very different from us and just had two legs, or that Tony was a dark-coloured, serious horse who just kept to himself and didn’t talk at all. I loved and accepted all of them equally as each one of them played a huge role in my character development and contributed their bit in making me the dog I am today.
Chapter 3: Forever
In my initial days, I used to think that I would spend the rest of my life with my loving mother and my crazy siblings. Our days would be spent in eating, sleeping, playing, and just experiencing life. But as I grew up and started to see my friends go away, never to return, I began realising the purpose of my existence.
You see, we all have some purpose in our life. Somebody’s purpose is to serve humanity, while someone else’s purpose is to educate and enlighten the world regarding certain things. Similarly, every dog has a purpose, and it is very simple—to love and spread love. In a world, where human emotions are complicated, conflicting, and fickle, a dog’s purpose is to fill the necessary void with love and happiness.
Although I speak of love as something which only we know how to provide, I first understood the meaning of unconditional love from my human. My forever.
Dressed in a floral dress, with her hair tied up in a messy ponytail, Tara came to the animal shelter, jumping and laughing all the way. She was accompanied by her parents who seemed to be equally excited. I was mesmerised by Tara’s innocence and wanted to be friends with her right away. Finally, after strolling around and interacting with everyone in the shelter, she came up to where I and my siblings stayed. All my brothers and sisters hopped towards her with their tiny legs and started licking her. Except me. I was just there, looking at them and Tara having their blissful moment. Finally, she looked at me and held me up in her arms. Our eyes connected. For the first time in so many days, I felt I was home. After a few seconds, she spoke, “Mamma! Papa! I want this one!”
Oh! The sheer bliss I felt when Tara took this decision! It seemed as though I had gotten everything I had ever wanted. I suddenly realised the purpose of my life which was loving Tara and filling her heart and life with happiness and joy. It was certainly the best day of my life.
Chapter 4: Being a True Friend
Tara was in her teens when she suffered her first major heartbreak. Her boyfriend broke up with her as he had to leave the town due to his father’s transferable job. Tara was all alone and lost, as if she had lost a part of herself. She wouldn’t get out of her bed for days or eat properly, had stopped talking to everyone (including her parents), and wouldn’t even pet me anymore! Typical teenager issues. Looking at her miserable face every day took a toll on my mental health. But I was certainly not among the ones to give up easily.
I started pushing Tara off her bed and dragging her to the washroom. She used to get very pissed and would shout at me, but I was also very persistent. I used to get her food, clothes to wear, played with her from dawn till dusk, and even slept beside her when she didn’t even have even the slightest energy to move her body. Gradually, after a few months, Tara started getting up. That was her first step. She took a look at herself in the mirror and told herself, “Move on and love yourself.”
Since then, she has never looked back. Tara went on to top her higher secondary examinations at the state level. She also won numerous competitions and accolades for her school and got her favourite Science stream! She always wanted to be an astronaut and go on these intergalactic space missions. After passing from school, she got admitted into the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from where she went on to fulfil her dream of becoming an astronaut and a scientist at NASA. One heartbreak surely changed her life.
As for the boy? He came back begging for reconciliation, but thankfully, Tara refused.
Chapter 5: Loyalty
After Tara went off to the United States, I was left alone with Ma and Pa (Tara’s parents). Although I was very close to both of them, it was Tara with whom I spent most of my time. So when she went away, I started feeling a bit lonely. However, it didn’t affect my relationship with Ma and Pa. They didn’t leave any stone unturned in pampering and loving me and spoilt me with treats and adventures.
However, troubles started arising in paradise. With Ma and Pa spending most of their money on Tara’s education, we started facing financial difficulties. It was getting difficult for both of them to keep me. Soon enough, they both started having constant fights due to their personal issues and filed for a divorce. This broke me up. I could see my whole world shattering into pieces. Ma and Pa both decided to give me up for adoption as they were not financially able to take care of me individually.
Gradually, the day came when my new family came to receive me. I didn’t want to go. I was barking, howling, shouting, and crying, but nobody could understand my pain, my anguish. I was forced to sit in the car, and when I looked outside the car window to take one final look at Ma and Pa, they were gone. My whole life was plunged into darkness.
I was depressed and alone in my new home. Even though my new family, which consisted of two cheerful kids and their parents, loved and pampered me to the best of their abilities, I wasn’t happy. I liked my new family, but I just couldn’t connect with them. I missed Tara, Ma, and Pa every day. I used to sit in the garden of my new home, waiting for them to come and take me back. But my prayers were never answered.
A few months went by. Finally, one fateful day, I decided to take the plunge which would change my life forever. On a cold December morning, I left my new house and started running towards my old home which was 20 kilometres away. I didn’t stop till I reached my destination, and when I finally did, I saw the house locked. Ma and Pa had left the house immediately after sending me away. I was lost and shattered. I didn’t know what to do. Nevertheless, I decided to stay back there and wait for them.
Chapter 6: Happily ever after
My decision to stay back and wait for Ma and Pa was the toughest one I had made in my life. With no food and no one to take care of me, I was left all alone in the big bad world. My days went in waiting for Ma and Pa’s return and eating leftover food from the streets. I prayed to God to send back Tara too. It was the wait of a lifetime. As days, nights, and months passed, my health started deteriorating. Still, I waited for them. Waited for my forever. Waited for my home.
Finally, one fine day, my prayers were answered. I heard footsteps approaching me. Initially, I got scared, but when I looked up, I felt as if I had seen God himself!
It was Tara.
She looked beautiful and radiant just like the first day I had seen her. Tears welled up in our eyes as we hugged each other. My happiness knew no limits. I started jumping and running around in excitement, wagging my tail and leaping over her to show how much I had missed her. She instantly called Ma and Pa, and my excitement knew no bounds! They immediately came over and then, we finally did what I had been waiting for so many months—group hug!
Chapter 7: All’s well that ends well
Tara, Ma, and Pa got to know from our old neighbours how I had waited for them for close to a year. They all became emotional while listening to my story. Consequently, they decided to reunite. Tara came back from the States while Ma and Pa decided to give their marriage a second shot. We celebrated Ma and Pa’s 25th anniversary a few days later, where everyone was their happiest selves. It was the second happiest day of my life.
However, I believe that life always has a bitter-sweet ending. Due to the time I had spent alone waiting for everyone’s return, I had become malnourished and developed some serious illnesses which were not curable at this age (I am currently 11 years old).
As I recall my life journey from my deathbed, I can proudly say that I have lived a fulfilling life. From going on adventures, meeting people and creatures from all walks of life, and contributing my bit in making Tara, Ma, and Pa’s journey a memorable one, to loving unconditionally, it was all worth it. I utilised the gift given to me by God to my maximum potential. Maybe that’s what we all are supposed to do on this journey. To fulfil our sole and soul purpose in life. To bask in love, to love, and to be loved.
And so, I shall rest in peace.
Epilogue: As I finish this journey of a dog from a dog’s perspective, I want to highlight the fact that dogs have souls too. For that matter, every animal and living creature on this planet has a soul, and all of them come with a purpose. Everyone’s purpose is different, but there’s one thing, one universal feeling which underlies everyone’s narrative, and that is Love.
Dogs might not have the intellectual prowess to seek knowledge and perform various complex actions performed by humans, but what they surely know is how to love and spread that love, which is the primary need on this planet.
Maybe that’s what we need to learn from dogs—the strength to love unconditionally and heal this world through the power of love. If we could learn how to love from dogs, we can create the utopia we have always wanted.
“A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he’ll give you his.”
—Marley & Me
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