Saturday, March 17, 2012


Being a dog is not easy. Our senses are much more heightened then you humans. We can not only smell and hear more than you, we can also sense things that human experience. We can sense changes in your emotions, changes in your body, changes in you moods...sometimes much before you can experience it. This ability makes it possible for us to help our humans by sensing any kind of trouble or danger to their mind or body. I have known cats who can sense head ache in their human and make them feel better by licking them. I can also sense tension in my human and make her feel better better by hugging and licking her. But one of my buddy, a Labrador named Coco is a master when is comes to sensing pain and healing it. He is our Therapy Dog from Mumbai team of Animal Angels Foundation and besides doing great work for children in need, he has also been of tremendous help to his human, Meghna. Meghna and Coco are now inseparable, he is not just her baby, but a very important to her health as well. Here is Coco's very inspiring story....

"Hi to all doggies, dog lovers and not so much dog lover....

My name is Coco and I'm here to share a few moments from my life....though I'm only 3 years old but I thought it would be great to bark (blog) like my other doggy friends who have shared their stories.

I was just 2 months old when I first met Atul and yes I remember it was 6-1-2009. Among my many siblings Atul choose me, well I could say we had a bond an unbreakable sort of connection, though Atul later came to know that I was the only one who among my many sibling, came from my mothers womb leg out.

Well I made my journey and though it was a long ride from Pune to Mumbai it felt all love and warm, because I was so small and scared but all the while I kept my head under Atul's one hand while he drove us both with the other to our way back home. When we reached there, I was received by Meghna and she was the one who called me 'Coco', well I liked the name. Once in, I was all into exploration, by that very night I knew I was home.

Coco with Meghna

Few months passed by and I kept Meghna on toes as being naughty I would love to take garlic, or socks or napkins and run and make her chase me, though I wanted her to play with me, I wondered why would she mostly lie down all day long and not play as much as I wanted her to.
Then one fine day I met Aakash, he came to see me, at first I thought it was some sort of a school that Atul wanted me to go and learn but it was so much fun. I was being trained to be a Therapy dog with Animal Angels Foundation. I didn't know what it meant, but Aakash was very patient and gentle in teaching me all the new things. Among the many basic commands like sit and stay he actually trained me to be a bit more patient, a bit more gentle and adding to the natural flare that all dogs posses that is to 'LOVE', I was now a therapy dog, well that is what they addressed me.

I remember I was six months old and I went with Atul and Meghna along with other volunteers of Animal Angels Foundation to a school for children who were a little different from the other children i had seen. It was amazing, there were almost 40 kids and oh! boy I loved it. They would come and pet me, I would lie down and they would keep their head on my stomach and sleep, they would tell me poems and laugh and giggle. There were some who were scared of me but I knew I was too charming for them too withhold back, some of them would start shouting but since Aakash had taught me to be more gentle and patient and not jump in time they too came and petted me. Then I went to that same school a couple of times and met kids on a personal small group session, I knew I could be all naughty and run around in the house but here I was all ears to what those kids wanted to share and I could see that there were many shy kids but they too opened up and had something to share, they would touch my ears, tail, face and I would let them do and they would be so happy. I came to know later that they were called special kids, but if you would ask me I really don't know what is meant by special kids, it's just that I felt they were more open to receive my Love and I too was happy to be with them.

Coco with Aakash

As time went by I grew and had a better understanding, I could sense that though I wanted to be the center of everything in my house and make sure that Atul and Meghna played with me all day long, I could sense that Meghna was in pain. I could never see that, I wanted her to be fine and to play with me more but I knew I had to be patient. When we all three would go for walks Atul and I would be on a faster pace and she would be walking behind, I would stop and wait till she joined us, I didn't mind walking slow as I wanted to be with her. Though she would call me her 'Babishhhh', one of my many nicknames, I knew I could be her baby all the time but I had to help her out of this pain.

Atul has always been my alpha but with Meghna I shared some beautiful moments; once she was in too much pain and Atul was out working, I couldn't see when she broke in tears, I went and licked her tears that maybe she would feel good, she smiled and said ok Coco don't worry I'm fine, but I just couldn't let go and I kept checking her eyes for 45minutes or so until I was convinced she was fine. Once it was 5 in the evening and Meghna had to take me for my walk but I knew she is in too much pain, I didn't cry and pushed her, I was just sitting by her side, when Atul came from office in the night she told Atul to take me out, but I just couldn't leave her as I knew I can still hold on even if I had not done my business but I wanted to be sure she is fine. Till the time elevator came I kept checking on her through the door...many a times I've seen Atul helping her to walk from one room to the other and I would just keep circling her and stand on my two feet lick her to make her fine.I even come to know if her pain is goona shoot up as I can sense it in her left leg, I start licking her leg so that my love can make her pain go away as I don't like to see her lying down for days or months, but having me around I can see that the time she now spends on the bed is getting lesser as she now knows that when I warn her by licking her left leg she needs to slow down.

I would see her sketching and painting, I guess she likes to do that,I would just keep watching her, I like to see her this way, I would never step on her paper or colors, and though I know she at times gets her pain episode, she has me and I've been with her even when she was on a wheelchair and then it would be that we would walk for 5mins and I would wrap up my business and slowly those 5mins would again be stretched to 20mins of walk to at times 30mins. It doesn't matter if I walk 5mins or 20 mins as long as I can see her getting back on her toes. And yes I mentioned earlier I came out of my mothers womb leg out so I have always been very curious and love to run and explore and the days when I know Meghna is not in so bad pain I let my naughty side out and run around and make her chase me.

I have even accompanied Meghna to Kala Ghoda, the annual art festival in Mumbai, where she show cased her art work, I know it was not easy for her to travel but she said having me around she could 'DO IT' follow her dream that she couldn't do so for 9 years of chronic back pain and even when Meghna commands me to sit and stay I do that while she is talking with a viewer about her work. She has been showcasing her work since last 2years and I am by her side and I love it in spite of this art fair being so crowded, like thousands of people visit, I patiently wait and let them come and pet me, I greet them and there are many who may have their initial dog fear but I let them be and they feel relaxed and shoot pics with me and leave. There were many people whom I had met last year and they recognized me, they said we know you Coco and I had even overheard someone telling Meghna that there are more pictures of me on FB then artwork and people actually come again and again to pet me and I love it.

Coco at Kala Ghoda with Meghna and Atul

I would love if Meghna again has a show next time and all I would do is keep motivating her and even if she would be bedridden I will Lick her and Love her so much making her push her boundaries that she and I would be doing Many more shows in the future.

As of now Meghna has told me we will be going to a remand home for juvenile kids and work with animal angel foundation and I'm all eager to do so, for I had heard somewhere that God couldn't be everywhere and so He made us dog's and poured all that ' UNCONDITIONAL LOVE' in us for isn't GOD spelled back becomes DOG.

So ciao to all and till we meet again keep licking, wagging, and loving....

To know more about me and my team's work, log on to our website

Inputs by Meghna Loke, Uma Karve and Minal Kavishwar

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