This Sunday I was on a secret mission — secret only because my parents would disown me if they found out (yes, you may think, ‘why does this grown woman with her own kids need to worry about what her parents think or say’, but I do care and their angry voices boom in my head and I shake with fear every time the phone rings because I’m afraid they’ve found out). They hate animals in the home with an inexplicable intensity. My kids and I, on the other hand, have craved for a dog for years, ever since we had to give up our six-month puppy when I left my ex-husband’s home (since my parents wouldn’t have allowed it in their house), and before I could find it a new home, my ex gave it away to his driver — and we don’t know what happened after that. There was always deep guilt and regret in our hearts about Wingo, and I had a desire to adopt an abandoned dog, preferably a grown one, preferably from a good family with nice manners. Maybe a friendly pure breed. No compulsions, of course, I told the Universe.
On Sunday then, my kids, partner and I went to a dog shelter in Vasant Vihar. We’d been there once before, at the recommendation of a vet in my area, whose number I got off Justdial. The last time we went, there were a few stray puppies there, and while my younger one got attached to one of them, I could not bring myself to accept the responsibility, nor did I feel any connection with it. This time, however, it had been a gap of a month and I was feeling more mentally prepared. We saw a few dogs, no puppies this time, but since they were all jumping around and barking in excitement, we didn’t really spend time with any of them in particular. We came home and pondered.
I called up the shelter owner and asked her about the dogs we’d seen, especially a golden retriever and another labrador. “Why would anyone give away such lovely, healthy breeds?” I asked. She said they belonged to her sister, who had died a week ago. The husband and family didn’t like dogs, so they’d turned five beautiful dogs out of the house. She’d had to rescue them from the streets. Three of them had found homes and these two were left. The boy, Ronnie, was almost five. The girl, Miyake, was three and a half years old. (Her twin Issey had already been adopted.)
We decided to go back in the evening. This time, we spent an hour with them, trying to decide which one to take. I cuddled both of them, found a connection with both and was totally flummoxed. The kids were divided: The elder one liked Ronnie the lab, who was playful, dominating and demanding (like her). The younger one liked Miyake, soft and feminine, loyal and sentimental (like her). I saw my two kids in both of them. I couldn’t choose.
To cut a long story short, we took both. They arrived at our place the next day with their beds, leashes and dog food. I was busy at work but my mind was nervous about what was going on at home. I also reached home very late and then it was time for bed, so I didn’t get time to bond much, but I made up by skipping yoga and spending a lot of time cuddling them this morning.
They’re really cute — very well-trained, polite and never do something without your command. We’d never have been able to train them so well on our own. They make me laugh — wagging their tails and bringing their ball to me at 6.15 in the morning, one long stretch and they’re ready to play! I sensed they’d be hungry, so I made egg and toast for them, which they gobbled up in half a minute (with no judgments about my cooking, thank you). A few minutes later, my partner took them for a walk, their tails wagging madly, their eyes lit up with excitement.
Right now as I type this, Miyake is lying at my feet and Ronnie is asleep in his bed, tired from the energetic long walk. Her face is so very soft against my ankle. I can’t help wondering at God’s benevolence — I got exactly what I wished for, and then double. It’s going to be a lot of work but we’re all in this together and I know we’ll be fine.
Now if only I can keep this a secret till the end of time…