I heard the term 'pet parent' somewhere and thats when it really hit me like a punch on the nose...THATS IT! Thats why it feels like a huge responsibility to have a pet! Because its just like having a 3 year old to take care of. Like a child who is solely dependent on you for all its needs.
Mylo is my mongrel-labrador confused dog. He's just over 2 years old. I remember the day I brought him home. I'd heard that a friend's mother was upset with the new litter of puppies that were born in her house, of a stray that she used to care for. She did not have the heart to throw the adorable, tiny fur balls out but did not want all 6 of them and their mother living in her small house. I jumped at the opportunity to get a puppy that would not entirely be a mongrel. Not that I have anything against mongrels, they are the best pets you can have. I just thought that it would be really nice if the puppy looks anything like a Labrador because I am extremely fond of the breed. Plus, I would not have to shell out the thousands of rupees that a pure breed Labrador would cost.
The timing could not have been better to bring home a puppy..my mother was away for a few days and would not be home when I'd bring my new pet home. It would give the puppy a few days to get used to his new home and by the time my mom was back, he would be a part of our family (just my mother, me and my dog!). I knew that my kind hearted mother would nOt ask me to abandon a dog that I'd brought home from so far away to be my pet. (We kids know our mother's weaknesses, see!). So my husband (then fiance) and I bought a bright red leash and went to my friend's house, all excited to find out which one of the adorable pups would be ours.
As my friend opened the door of his home out tumbled a confused group of six yelping puppies, tumbling over each other to be the first one to meet us! Glad to meet you too, I thought, and sat down to pet each and every one of the adorable creatures. They were least bothered that we were strangers. Their mother stood still looking at us cuddle her offspring and just sat there with a sage - like expression, almost as if she knew that we meant well.
After their initial excitement over the new visitors, the puppies rushed back inside the house as we walked in. We sat on the sofa looking at them play and were trying to single out the one meant to be our pet. I observed them for a long while, wishing I could take the whole lot home. How could I pick just one? Just like we people have distinct personalities even as babies, each puppy displayed a different nature. Two of them were like twins, they kept to each other mostly. Another one, a female, quietly hid under the furniture with just the tip of her nose showing. I took to her instantly. It may be true that pets and owners resemble each other in some way because she came across like a canine version of me! Shy, withdrawn and introverted. I was about to zero in on her when my guy drew my attention to the only fully white puppy in the lot..He was harrassing all the other puppies by biting at their tails, pawing them, climbing over them, trying to irritate my favourite puppy and make her come out and play with him. He was chubbier, looked cuter than the rest and resembled a Labrador the most from the entire bunch with his white fur, flabby body and drooping flesh on the jaw. What really caught our attention was his mischievious nature and tiny tail. He had a stub in place of a tail. Almost like it lost the will to grow mid way.
'Lets take the white one,' my guy said. 'He'll be fun. Look how mischievious he is!'. So I dejectedly wished I could keep the shy girl pup too and took the white pup in my arms. Protesting at having his terror spree interrupted he looked into my eyes for a few seconds and silently demanded to be put down with his legs going in a cycling like motion in the air. I took a last look at the others and fastened the leash around our hero's neck. He looked confused and sat down looking at the leash fo a minute and then almost as if he suddenly understood what we were about to do, began backtracking and then pulling at the leash, falling backwards and trying to join his bothers and sister who were now quietly looking at us and him in turns.
His mother came near me and sniffed him and me. I stroked her head gently a few times, hoping she would trust me to take good care of her boy. She sat down again with that wise look still on her face.
He was quite heavy, the little mutt. I held him close like a baby and by now he was mostly quiet with the occasional whimpering and struggling to break free from my strong but careful grip. He had never gone beyond the entrance of the house and as I walked down the steps of the building I could sense that he was very scared. He now alternated between leaning in closer to me when he looked at the new surroundings and pushing away from me, almost climbing me as if I were a tree when he realised that I was holding him tight and that we were going somewhere far from his home.
To be honest I was sad for him. Just a while ago he looked like the happiest puppy on earth, playing with the others and now he was like a scared little baby. I wondered what he was thinking? Maybe that he would never see his family again. Or about where we were taking him. Maybe he was just quietly taking in all the new sights and sounds. He was awfully still after a while.
I kept him in my lap for most of the time on our way home. He buried my head in my lap, occasionally looking up at the passing sights and getting startled at the new sounds - of traffic, of people. He made a gurgling sound and I quickly sat him down. He threw up. A LOT. I comforted him by gently stroking his back and head and softly told him that he will be home soon.
He seemed heavier when I carried him out of the vehicle. He was tired from the unusual experience and fatigued from throwing up throughout the ride back home.
Once we reached home, I cleaned him up with a wet cloth and placed him on a rug. He lay there staring into nothing with droopy eyes. I went into the kitchen to find something for him to eat and to give him water to drink. When I returned to him, he had gathered strength and had begun to explore his new surroundings. He was a far cry from the playful puppy that I saw an hour ago. He looked disinterested, sad even. I felt pangs of guilt at having torn him away from his family. He had nobody to play with here.
I sat down on the floor with a bowl of water for him and watched him take weary steps, looking around the room. He walked past me and I placed the bowl of water near him. He stopped to drink. He drank slowly but drank a lot and then sat down staring into thin air again.
I picked him and kept him on my lap. He did not protest this time. Maybe he was too tired or did he just resign to his fate, accepting that this is now his new home and there is no fighting the fact?
He lay curled up in my lap while I caressed his soft white coat. As I watched his eyes slowly closing and his body relaxing, giving into sleep, I silently promised him, 'I'll take good care of you, boy.'