In a world where everyone is continuously trying to outshine the others to reach the top of the elusive ladder of success, whatever that maybe, there seems to be surprisingly little time for the finer things in life like affection, sympathy or loyalty among fellow human beings.
Parents, blinded by the need for a “better” life, seldom find the time to imbibe these seemingly unimportant qualities to their children who grow up not knowing a life outside the virtual cyber world. Computers might be a great distraction but in order to evolve into something better than a human automaton, the vigor of life pulsating with the warmth of love becomes important-and this is where the role of a pet might be considered.
The lengthy introduction might seem a bit tiresome but I feel the need to expressly impress upon my readers the “pros”, if not the absolute need, of keeping pets; not simply as a household accessory but as a member of the family, holding as much importance as any other individual member. Having had a couple of dogs around me for almost as long as I can remember, I shall now restrict myself into the realm of these hairy four-legged friends instead of speaking for the entire “petdom” of animals, failing which my skills may come to be unduly tested.
I won’t bore with the saying “dogs are man’s best friend”; rather, I would like to cite a few instances which would prove the same to be true. Having a dog as a pet gives one the taste of that most sought after thing-the experience of unconditional love. A dog never seems to question anything you do or say, but accepts you just as you are, whether you make an effort to be accepted or not. With the same unquestioning spirit, it becomes your companion during the happiest hours of your life, causing a few of them itself. It lends you its entire attention when you need someone to talk to and believe me, you’ll rarely find a more understanding or empathetic friend among humans. It gladly offers you its furry coat to wet when you need a cry and a hug from a dog is the best antidote against all evils in life.
When you get yourself a dog, you commit yourself to the task of looking after it; you undertake the responsibility of bringing it up, feeding it, bathing it and being as good a friend to it as it is to you. For children having parents both of whom are employed in time consuming jobs, this becomes an effective lesson in learning to take responsibility of others. The most important benefit, i.e., getting someone to do away with the loneliness which would have otherwise been filled up with artificial intelligence- the illusion of companionship, is quite obvious. Also, dogs are pets that are not only cuddly and playful but useful in a number of other aspects.
For one, they are the best burglar alarms you can possibly get, setting the house in absolute uproar once an intruder attempts to cross the threshold. This is just about household dogs you keep as a pet in towns and cities. In large farms and ranches, dogs play the double roles of a loving pet as well as a helping hand in the field. They can guard the sheep and other timid animals from wolves and hyenas. Sniffer dogs are helpful in tracing criminals or lost objects, once provided with their scent. This, however, digresses from our focus on pets, but serves to illustrate the nature and usefulness of dogs in general.
I could go on about why dogs are such a blessing on the face of the earth but this article would remain biased and incomplete if I skipped over the rougher side of keeping a dog as a pet. The added responsibility of having to care for an extra mouth to feed can be looked at both ways if time and money seem to be of equal value to the joy of having a friend “fur-ever”. Female dogs need more care than males as they are usually more susceptible to the diseases that their particular breed is prone to. Having a good veterinarian contact for your dogs is extremely important if you want them to be in good health as long as they live. In India such contacts are rare, but not entirely unheard of. Before deciding on getting yourself a dog, you should make sure none of the family is allergenic to proximity to dogs, be it for their fur or breath. So it’s advisable you get a dog only after any child in your house has crossed the age of 4 at least. A puppy, while growing up, may tear up anything and everything within its reach same as any infant does while growing teeth. Toilet training for dogs is extremely important if you want your house to be fit to live in. But this habit does not take too long to imbibe if done properly. Through all this, it must be kept in mind that the dog should be treated as any other member of the family and nothing less than that.
The worst pain in keeping a pet is always the part where you have to say goodbye. This ordeal is less difficult if the event of farewell is quick and painless. However, the grief that it leaves behind is all encompassing and often becomes a reason for not keeping future pets.
But as they say, pets don’t last through the whole of your life, but they sure make your life whole. Having to say goodbye to a pet is like having to part with a piece of your own soul. Instead of breaking down over it however, you could take the loss in your stride, as a memoir to all the good times spent together with your beloved one, and try to comfort the insensible grief with the thought that from then on, you have a guardian angel keeping a watch over you wherever you go, whatever you do.