Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Journey

Many say a pet dog's life is easy. You get everything ready in your bowl, you don't have to hunt or search for food. You make cute faces and you get extra treats when humans are eating. You get to sleep on the sofa rather than on the floor or you doggie bed. You get pampered and cuddled and liked by all. A therapy dog's life is a bit different than that. We do get all this coz we are living with families who have raised us like their own children. The only difference probably is that we are a bit more responsible. We understand what humans want from us, even those who cannot say it.

Though I am a happy and secure therapy dog today, my journey has not been simple from my mother to my current family. I had to go through a lot, like gold has to go through fire to shine. As a puppy I was taken and trained to be a therapy dog for a small child who could not talk and express himself. It was planned that I had to stay with his family as a companion for him. It was all good till then because that's what dogs do, be great companions for children. I was born as Ronnie but was renamed as Spongy by this faily as I was all furry and soft like a Spongy. The kid adored me and to say me name was abig effort for a boy who otherwise did not speak. But he did it - for me. I bonded with the child, he bonded with me, he also started showing great improvement in his behavior after I came. But it was very difficult for his mother to take care for a special child and a dog. Unfortunately, they had to shift to another place where they could not take me. I was still a year old puppy. I didn't understand much, but felt very restless. The days before they were going to move, I felt ignored. I felt the change in every one's emotions. I started sitting under the chair with by head buried in my paws to get away from the emotions I could not understand.

Minal was worried about me, I could not go back and stay with her. Oh how I wished I could stay with her again. But she found another home for me. I was given to a lady who was a retired business women, lonely and middle aged, looking for a companion. She also had some health problems like blood pressure or something. I was given to her so that she would have my company and that she would get up early to take me for my walks and so her health would inprove. She had a big house. The first few days were very enjoyable for me. Very different from my earlier family. Here I was alone with the lady. This lady was strict. I was still a puppy, a very frisky puppy. I would get in trouble many times. But what would I do. She would leave me alone in the house and go out for the entire day. I would get bored and find things to play with. How would I know that ' Ray Ban' sunglasses are not a chew toy to be chewed off!!! :D She would shout at me for the mess that I would make. It was so scary when she would shout at me, I would crouch and sit in a corner. The morning walks did make her healthy. I kept her company when she cried at night thinking of her loved ones or when she was sitting alone looking out of the window. But she was moving on with her life. It was I who had started feling lonely. I had no one to play with. I was not taken out that frequently. and I was not allowed to chew stuff!

But then I met these kids who stayed right next door. It happened so that my owner had to go out for a few days and there was no one to take care of me. So she asked this family next door to take me for a few days. They had two kids and i instantly bonded with them. They adored me and pampered me when I was with them. We had a blast playing ball and other funny toys they made for me at home. I fet like a happy puppy again after a long time. I loved to cuddly up with them and sleep. Back at the lady's house, I was strictly kept off the bed and had to sleep alone. My days with these kisd were the happiest. Then this lady had to go out frequently and I was often left with these kids to play. Things were fine until one day the lady suddenly decides to give to to a completely different family. The neighbours with whom i used to stay were very keen on taking me as their pet. But this lady did not even ask them. And I was sent away to a completely new home, new people, new place. And they had a dog too! Thank goodness for that. Her name was Pheobe. She helped me adjust to that home and to the people. They were good people but missed the kids, my neighbours.

But as fate would have it, this family also had to move and could no longer take care of me. That is when they contacted Minal as they didnot want me to go back to the lady. Minal called up my neighbours and asked them if they would like to take me. They were thrilled to hear that but the only problem was that the lady stayed right next door. She would notice if I came back with out her knowledge. The day my neighbour came to pick me up, I ran into her arms and jumped all over with the kids. I was happy again.

I came home with them and its been 4 years now that I am living with them. They are my family, the Srivastava family. They loved me and made me feel secure. All these changes had made me feel abondoned, had made me insecure. I would intially crouch when someone tried to pet me on my head. But slowly with the love from this family I regained my confidance. I played with the children, cuddled with them, went for long walk with my new 'mother'. I did many naughty things like eating up a scotch brite, chewing up Saket's branded foot ball, digging upp the plants, but never got scolded or beaten up for that. They corrected me in a way I could understantd that these things were not to be messed with. My life was stable again.

Minal was happier that ever to see me in a good home, with loving people and secure emotionally. Every time she used to visit us, I would be ready to go with her thinking I would be staying with her now. After all she was my first 'mom' I love her a lot. Now I had also started going to special schools with Minal and her team and continued with the work that I was originally trained for - to be a therapy dog. I had now matured, I had all this experience of being with different people, sensing a range of different emotions. I myself had gone through a phase where I felt ignored and unwanted and 'different' from other dogs. So I could understand these kids better. I could sense the pain of the families who had lost their loved ones in a train blast. I Felt really good when I would see smiles on their faces and when they would hug me I would feel my purpose in life was fulfilled.

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Aren’t I Lucky ..?

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