My Guilt

Everyone had been scaring me and I was kind of see-sawing between wanting a dog soooooo badly and giving into the fears. I've been absolutely loooonging to have a lil Lab pup as a pet and have been jostling between how will I manage, will I need a full time maid, what do I do when I travel etc...Fears of how will I look after a pet all by myself with no help? Fear of never having a pet animal before and not knowing if I will take a shine to this new creature in my life? Fear of what if he doesn’t like me? Fear of will I be able to give him as unconditionally as they say dogs give to their masters? Fear of tending, nurturing, caring, training all despite work, office and routine life… Till one day I got the courage to accept a dog – a princely little pup, all of 7 weeks old - whose owner couldn’t keep him for her own reasons.

As soon as Pooch happened in my life I hunted high and low like never before and got the pup a maid who would alongside me tend to him, be there with him, love him, and look after him. I also took time out from work so that in his initial formative days I could be there for him, to train him, make sure he got the right meals, felt secure and safe and knew he was precious for me.

My days were a whirlwind with Pooch. My world revolved around Pooch completely and I have no guilt in admitting this. I found myself talking non stop with this little fellow from his waking hours till he slept, I watched him sleep, eat, and do potty, trained him to go the bathroom instead of any place in the house, gave him his meals, fed him, took him to the vet for his first shots, drove the car so gently and slowly so as to not disturb him if he was sleeping in the car, and to make sure he never felt an “ooh ah ouch” of speed breakers or bumps on the road.

From having a complete grip of my life, I suddenly found my life thrown into 8th gear as I was kept engaged with Pooch non stop for all my waking hours without exaggeration. In the time he would sleep I would check on work, do the house errands, tend to my plants as soon as he’d wake he needed a companion to play and do masti with. The young maid disappeared after one day and so it was back to Pooch and me together managing our lives. I was going nuts cleaning after him but he was just so adorable and so responsive to training and playing and compliments and once in a while ticking off that there was no ways I was turning him away from me.

Every day I would be mentally saying to myself soon I will manage him, the house and work more efficiently. He can accompany me to work and come back home in the evening with me. I will look after him at work. He will soon become magically trained and understand everything. The issue was he was too young a baby, he wanted everything in his mouth from dirt and dust to plastic to vessels to chair and table stands to the iron of the bed to rugs and spoons everything- and making sure none of the harmful stuff went into his mouth, he had become adept at the command “open your mouth Pooch”- so much so at times he even outsmarted me by hiding stuff under his toungue so that he wouldn’t be caught out. This constant tension that he may swallow something wrong while my back was turned away bothered me no end. I badly needed help to keep an eye on him while I turned away for a few seconds and there was none…

Also after being away from office for over a week, I needed to resume work- and that tension had started mounting on me. I wasn’t able to find any help, I was struggling to keep tabs on him not putting wrong things in his mouth, my own eating sleeping patterns had gone awry…I was wilting with some defeat setting in.

Pooch is a little baby, my little tiger, my shweeto baby and I loved him to distraction. I played games with him like when I was young, I cuddled him like I have never before, he was smelly becos I was told by the vet he cant be given a bath as he is too small yet, but I love him much much:) infact I wept copious tears one day becos he slept for 3 hrs non stop and despite waking him so many times- he wouldn't stir. I got so so so worried that maybe I had fed him bad, or too much, or too little…why was he not waking up?! I held him in my arms hugged him and wept a lot- he finally opened his one eye- climbed upto my neck and licked me a couple of times and then went back to sleep- I laughed and cried harder:)

He's been an unadulterated joy:)

The world had frightened me about how I would manage this lil pup alone, without help - and I had been saying “M, one day at a time” - I am equally afraid of such a huge responsibility, but his giving is so unconditional that I am willing to forgo my travel, and my going out etc till he grows up and can take charge of himself. Till then I am willing to be housebound and office bound. I was not willing to admit defeat. I wanted to make a winner out of this situation

Alas the story does not end on such optimism. I eventually came to realizing that real life is not about my own needs and desires but this little fellows needs are more important than mine. He needs people around him who will care for him and look after him without stressing about parallel lives such as outside home there is an office to go to! He needs a full family around him where people can take turns to look after him, rather than one person be there all 24hours around him. And most importantly he doesn’t need to be shunted from one home into another but needs a home that looks after him permanently. This realization brought grief, sadness, guilt, shamefulness, hurt, tears but for his sake I had to give him away till I got my own house in order. He now has been gone 5 days and not a single day goes without me pining for him or crying for him. Keeping my own guilt and need aside I know he is now in a home where he is being done justice to- he has constant companionship, even if people go off to office in that home, there is a the lady of the house, the kids and the servants at home for Pooch to never feel alone and always have companionship.

What I am left behind with are memories- happy ones where I remember Pooch walking like a lil tiger strutting his ware from room to room in my home, I remember him playing with me when I would throw the ball or he would want my toes for his playtime- he’d jump like a horse doing equestrian events at show- so majestically, and sometimes he’d be slipping and sliding all over himself and fall like a bundle of soft wool, he would get himself entangled in his own legs foolishly and then would get up looking dazed- give himself a good shake and then once again go diving for my toes and fingers…god he was such a delight. Absolutely worth having in my life. I miss him.


rajindermakkar said...

WOW..... bow wow!!!

Pallavi said...

They bring light into your otherwise mundane lives dont they? :)

keshi said...

I completely agree and empathize with all that you have written. A puppy needs all your love and attention and time. I am happy for you he came into your life even for the short 2 weeks. Maybe once you feel more settled on infrastructure you can get another one.

Anon said...

M - Brilliant story - about Pooch! And very well narrated! I
wish you had told us how Pooch felt about leaving you - to join
another family. Ajoy V

Anon said...

awwwwwwwwwwww.... absolutely heart tugging , this blog ... wish I could hug u and relieve u of ur loneliness ..... must hv been really hard to give him there anything I can do to help u ? talk to u or anything else?

It reminded me of the time when I had Jai at 2 months when I went back to work , I , just like u , would worry abt him choking on his food/toy etc. Till date , I am fine when I know he is not alone but tend to think abt him constantly when he is alone in the house .

Lots of love.

Anon said...

am feeling quite sad for him away mustve been tough. But am proud of u too..brave and gallant to put him ahead of yourself.
cheer up as u hv , is suspect...he is in safe hands...
there will be a time when u can keep one full-time.

Neelu said...

ohhhhh...he looks adorable. maybe you can visit him once in a while. i'm sure he'll love that.

Shvetal said...

Sad.... I can imagine how you feel. To be honest, Ishira and I love dogs and want one badly. In fact since the past couple of years, Ishira has been demanding one as a birthday gift. But Fora wisely has kept putting her foot down and saying NO. Her argument, and I see the merit in it, who will look after that pup when we are all gone to work/ school, etc.... Our house is locked from 9:00 in morning to about 5 in the afternoon.

But I can imagine how you feel....

Anon said...

Magnificent. But yes u will need a full time maid. If u travel & leave them in kennels most pick up infections.

Anon said...

They are family members.... and labs r very sensitive

kalpana said...

So true... I've also been wanting to have a dog but have not ventured into that realm because I'm not yet ready. But I will do so in the future...
Lovely story

Anon said...

Read your blog. Its a happy and sad story. Had all my emotions going. First happy for you to have Pooch there and for him to have you too. Than sad because it didn't have a happy ending for you as you had to give him away. Love can be expressed in so many ways and this was just one of them.

I'm going to forward you an email one of my other friends sent. Its a film about the crazy things dogs get up to. Hope you enjoy it :)

FM :)

ALLEX said...

pets add happiness to your life and thier separation is always sad. i have also gone though the same so i can feel ur pain. It better to remain with apin than with a guilt

Vox Populi said...

I'm speachless... No words to expain how I feel.But can relate myself very well. I myself have been through this phase when I had to give up on my Tiger. Still have his pics. I thot no one would be able to replace Him. But one day I found Bruno (Bru). The joy was back in my life. Cared for Bru just like the way I used to look after Tiger. Those memories still haunts me.
But I'm sure ur Pooch must be very happy:) Tho they never forget us. So just like you writing beautiful blogs about him. I'm sure he might be dreaming about you and him enjoying, playing around non-stop:)
Dogs do can feel mush more than us. So I'm sure he would be getting all those vibes from you. Tho far but always in touch emotionally:))