Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Day Lisa Came Home.....With a Little Doggy Love....

For his birthday, many years ago, my parents thought Raghav would love to have a puppy and got him a little dachshund. But he didn't want her. He was too scared then of dogs, and would run away or climb onto a chair or bed and not get off at all. And so we had to decline that beautiful gift. Tanya is now growing up and being cared for in my parents' house. Whenever Raghav goes there, he wants her to be kept away, as she barks a lot, and Raghav doesn't like dogs that bark a lot and loudly.

But over the years, without much interaction with dogs, his fear has reduced in intensity. There are some dogs he loves more than others (the quiet ones) and can tolerate the others. A visit to my friend and fellow unschooler's house in Pune two years ago, was instrumental in helping him understand and start liking dogs. She had a mongrel, who was mostly quiet and Raghav loved spending time watching and playing with her a bit. She was the 'ice-breaker'. :)

Many a time after that, he has asked us if we could have a dog at home. We were not too comfortable with the idea as we travel quite often and also living in a flat where not everyone is open to allowing and having dogs, was another reason for us to veto the idea in its seed. We spoke a lot about it. We shared our experiences with our mongrel - Trampy - who adopted us soon after we got married. We loved him like our own baby. But both of us used to work and had to leave him either inside the house, locked up, or outside within a protected/fenced area, until we came back home in the evening. Both were unpleasant experiences for us and for our little dog, with him getting upset and angry due to a lack of freedom, and also being hit with stones by some unruly, callous neighbours, who disliked his barking during the day.

That forced us to take him and leave him every day at my parents' place, which we treated like a day care :). He used to happily plonk himself on the petrol tank of our bike every morning, when we lugged him with his bag of food, bowl, etc. to my mom's place, where we dropped him off on our way to work and then picked up in the evening. Initially he was fine, but later, we felt that he did not like this arrangement. Perhaps it was too stressful for him - the travel back and forth. So we spoke to him and to my parents, and left him with them, to be taken care of there. And we used to keep going and visiting him every few days.

I don't know if he ever understood why we did that. Perhaps he didn't. Because he never smiled after that. He lost his bubbly spirit. There was a sadness in his eyes. He was never the same after that. And we didn't know what to do. I have never felt so much guilt for bringing up and taking care of an animal, as much as I did then for dear Trampy. I never could forgive myself for what I did with him....that I couldn't take care of him like I so wanted to. And I decided then that I would never again have a dog. Not because I didn't love them. But because I loved them too much. Too much to leave them under anyone else's care. Because I would never know for sure how they were feeling.

And Raghav understood when we shared our feelings with him. He never again asked us about having a dog. I don't know if we did the right thing by denying him what he wanted. But I know that we did the right thing by sharing our feelings of guilt, helplessness and sadness with him honestly and vulnerably. I know that we said 'no' to him with a heavy heart, because we told him that. And I know that he understood.

So yesterday, when we were coming back home after cycling, we saw our neighbour in the lift, with his little pug. Raghav absolutely adored her and crouched down to pet her and look into her eyes. I started chatting with him, asking him what he did with her while he went away to work everyday. He smiled and shared how she had a little community of young people - his friends - who took care of her in turns, while he was away or busy. It was such a lovely arrangement!

When we got back home, Raghav who had probably overheard the conversation I had had with my neighbour, asked if he could also take care of her in turns like the others. I smiled, and instantly realised how Life was showing us a way of fulfilling his needs :) I told him how I thought that was a great idea, and asked if he wanted to go and talk to our neighbour. He wanted to do it right away. And so he went and rang the doorbell of the flat opposite ours, where this person stayed along with his friends, bombarding him with questions! What to feed her and when, how and when she goes to the loo, how she likes to play, whether she barks and so on. He patiently answered all his questions, and agreed to having him babysit her once a week to start with, for a few hours. He also warned him that she was teething as she was just 3 months old, and that we had to be careful with things around the house! We decided to start today :)

Raghav woke up this morning asking me if I had put things away. When he found out that I hadn't he went around the house, checking and telling me all the things that were at her height, which had to be put away! And then we looked through some of his old stuff and thought of things/toys to give her to chew on and play old tennis ball, a wooden spoon, a rope and a belt for tug of war and a cardboard roll to chew on or play with. It was great fun organizing the space with him for the little visitor!

So this evening, Lisa came home....with a little doggy love!!!:) Yeah, and we had so much fun! And I guess she did too! Her favourite place was the beanbag, which happens to be Raghav's favourite place too!! And she usurped it with full rights! :) What a beautiful evening filled with doggy smells, smiles, laughter, non-stop fun, bubbling energy and so much grateful to Life for showing us a beautiful way to fulfill our needs...

When I run after what I think I want, my days are a furnace of stress and anxiety.... 
If I sit in my own place of patience, what I need flows to me, and without any pain. 
 - Rumi

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