One of every three people in the world is an animal lover (or pretends to be). However, loving an animal and being just, loving and caring towards it, is not the same. Many of us adopt or buy pets but how well are we taking care of them? How selfish are we being with the bonds we share with our pets? Are we taking our pets for granted? There are many such questions to which we may not know the answers to because we are simply so pre – occupied with our own worlds to care to find out.
Let us read this small story of a boy named Luca and his pet dog Piro; (This story is inspired by a youtube video)
Luca was a shy and reserved boy of fifteen. He was not like other kids his age. He was not the kind who had as many friends as the stars, he was never invited for birthday parties, he wasn’t a part of any of the clubs at school, and neither did he have a gift for sports. As the stereotype goes, he was one most picked on by bullies at school. He was the only child to working parents who were always busy with official assignments and hence he was as lonely at home as he was at school.
With no one to talk to and nothing worthwhile to do, one fine day Luca decided to go outdoors for a stroll around the neighbourhood. As he neared one of the corners round the block he heard a low whining whimper. Luca looked around for what it was. He soon realized that the sound was coming from under a stone bench and discovered a little puppy. Luca had no experience with dogs. He didn’t know if he should pick up the puppy or let it be there, after all, wasn’t it possible that the puppy was trying to sing some kind of dog song? After a lot of pondering, Luca decided to pick the puppy up. A small puppy the size of a brick shouldn’t be very harmful right? And even if it was, Luca’s father was a doctor so any kind of consequence could be taken care of later! When Luca took the puppy in his arms, he noticed that it was the most beautiful puppy. Even photoshopped google images couldn’t beat what this tiny little life form looked like. And as he looked into the eyes of the puppy, Luca felt an instant connection with it. There was absolutely no judgement in its eyes which was very unusual to Luca since he had found it in the eyes of every kid, every teacher at school and sometimes, he had felt it in the presence of his parents too. It was at that very moment that Luca knew, that his dark days have come to an end, he knew he had to take the puppy home, he knew he had to convince his parents into letting him have it, he knew it was his one last shot at having a friend!
The convincing part was indeed a very difficult task, given the fact that his parents were always at work and Luca has never had pets before but boy was Luca determined! He promised his parents that he would do everything that he needs to in order to take care of the puppy, keep the house clean and to not be a nuisance to his parents who were always so occupied with their work.
Piro! That is what he named his puppy. The name just appealed to him and for some reason Luca felt that the puppy looked the name (whoever knows what that means!)
It was not long before Luca and Piro had become the best of friends. They were inseparable, of course except when Luca had to bare the torment of the school hours. But obviously Luca rushed home as soon as he was done with the last hour of the day at school and at his porch at home, Piro was always seated neatly with a tennis ball, awaiting Luca’s arrival for it was time for a game of fetch as soon as Luca returned. Luca attended to every need of Piro’s like he had promised and in turn Piro had changed everything in Luca. Luca was a happier and more confident person. He made it through high school with better grades, Tennis trophies, popularity amongst the faculty, more friends and not to forget, Penny, his girlfriend.
Piro had been adorable all along. All of Luca’s friends loved him and Piro had given back all the affection he could to each of them, but as Luca’s friend circle grew, he began to spend lesser and lesser time with Piro. He would be back home, tired with all the parties, Tennis practices and dates with Penny. He would as much as stroke Piro a few times and retire to his bedroom to catch up on pending school assignments.
Luca’s applications were accepted in the best of universities and college life had been a hell of a ride. There were days in a row when memories of Piro would not as much as scrape through Luca’s thoughts. Piro, on the other hand waited each day eagerly for vacations to arrive and Luca to return home. But what a disappointment the vacations would prove to be to Piro as Luca would spend most of his days hanging out with his friends.
Soon out of college, Luca got a job at one of the leading firms at driving distance from home and married Penny. Such a lovely couple they made! Piro was thrilled because the entire household was in a state of celebration and there were so many happy people around, but sadly Piro was getting old and he was not as good at the game of fetch as he was ten years earlier and the people around him gave up playing with him pretty soon.
Within a year of their marriage, Penny gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Luca and Penny let Piro near the baby, he was so fascinated the little thing. He saw how important this baby was to Luca and Penny and hence guarding him with his life was the ultimate priority of Piro’s life now (well whatever was left of it at least).
Soon it was time for Penny to get back to work and so they hired a baby sitter to take care of the baby. Piro and the baby sitter wouldn’t get along as Piro did not find her to be pleasant, he did not like the idea of her being around the baby and she seemed like a potential threat. The baby sitter did not like Piro either; she stopped giving him food because the dog wouldn’t eat anything she gave him anyway. One fine day, the baby fell ill and wouldn’t stop crying, no matter what the baby sitter did, the baby would still cry. Piro was alarmed, he kept barking at the baby sitter but she would not put the baby down. Piro was furious; he ran towards her and bit her arm.
After the entire episode, the whole environment around the household turned grim. Piro could sense something wasn’t right, but he knew in his heart that he had done everything possible to save his beloved master’s baby. The baby was safe and the baby sitter was gone for good, but things at home were still not right.
The next day Luca called out to Piro and let him in his car, something that Luca hadn’t done in a long time. Piro was pretty excited, he loved the car rides with Luca. Luca kept driving in silence while Piro enjoyed the ride and stopped at a place unfamiliar to Piro. Piro’s ears twitched as he heard a lot of barking coming from inside a building. He felt uneasy. Luca tied a leash round Piro’s neck. He had never done it before. Piro did not try to struggle free. He was scared, where were they? They went in and Luca shook hands with a man. Piro sniffed him, he seemed friendly. Piro looked around, it did not seem like a nice place at all.
After a while, Luca handed the leash to the other man and knelt down in front of Piro. He looked into Piro’s eyes, the same eyes that had no judgement in them, the same eyes that made connection with his heart when he was fifteen. Over these years, nothing had changed in them. Those eyes were the same as they were the first time Luca looked into them, only letting go seemed like the right thing to do now. It would be hard but times have changed and so have Luca’s priorities. With a last pat on Piro’s head, Luca gets up and walks away. Piro does not understand. No one knows how he must have felt inside. Probably he was as scared as he was under the stone bench the day Luca found him. The other man looked down at Piro “He isn’t coming back buddy” he said. But Piro would wait. There was a bond that he and Luca shared and he knew that Luca would come back for him. He refused to eat. He had become very weak and inactive in the days that followed.
The authorities at the animal shelter tried everything to cheer him up. After a lot of futile efforts, they decided it was time to let Piro go. He was growing old and things will never be the same for him. There was hope in Piro’s eyes when they were taking him away to be done with. As far as Luca was concerned, Piro had faded away a long time back.
Luca might come across as a heartless selfish being after this story, but the harsh reality is that, this is a case with most pet owners. With change in life situations, the relationship between humans and their pets get jeopardized. The commitment between a pet and a human is a sensitive one which must be undertaken only if the human is sure to be loving and caring towards their pet even in the long run. Let us all learn from this story and understand that taking our pets for granted is very unfair because we mean their life to them. Let us make their world a better place to live in!