When I was rather young, my grandfather, arguably my favorite person in the world, would regularly take me to dog shows where we’d both admire and swoon over the many cute, lithe, beautiful animals on display. I always found it a tad strange that being such an animal lover, he didn’t have any pets at home. When I decided to investigate the matter, it was revealed to me that he did keep dogs at home, as many as 8 in fact. When he got married to my grandma, she put forth a non-negotiable condition that it would be either the dogs, or her, at home! So my poor grandfather had to give away all his pets! Unpleasant as this was for me to learn, at least it resolved the mystery behind my dadu’s love for animals.
Why the background? Because my own love for animals and all species is one of many great things I have inherited solely from him. While no one else in the family is a aficionado (not that they are averse either), he was the one true animal lover. And that has seeped into me, through every pore of my being.
Finally, after years of pining for a pet, when I bought my own place and settled down in Bombay more than a decade ago, my wife Anuja and I decided to get a pet. Although naturally predisposed to larger dogs, our research revealed that for apartment living and for our admittedly sedentary lifestyles, a Pug would be the right choice. And so off we went and purchased a black Pug, our now almost 9 year old 1st child – Mojo. It was our first tryst with being pet-parents. A steep learning curve that but unimaginably rewarding and fun. The only fact that dampened our spirits somewhat was when we, having gotten involved with many animal-groups on facebook and such, learned that there are many abandoned animals out there, we felt very guilty for having ‘bought’ Mojo, and have been staunch advocates of ‘adoption’ since.
Anyway. Our selfish pet hunger was not nearly satiated by Mojo. In fact, it grew exponentially. This time we thought we’d be a little risque (by our own standards only) and decided, in quick succession, to adopt two rescued kittens. That then, some 7 years back, much to a jealous Mojo’s dismay, completed our little home-zoo. Our triad of Mojo, Zachary, and Zeezee. We busted a few myths in the process. That albeit jealous but an otherwise harmless dog could cohabit in harmony with two cats. And that both cats and dogs, wildly different in temperament and outlook, make for incredible pets in their own unique ways.
Four years back we decided to move bag and baggage to my home town of Jaipur (that I’d essentially not lived in since going off to boarding school in 1991). So we boarded the 1st class AC Train Cabin (the only way in India you can travel with your pets accompanying you) with much trepidation; thankfully, the relocation went off smooth and all three transitioned to their new home and to the new city with ease.
A year back, our first ‘human’ baby Krisha, aka Pishu was born. The birth of one’s first child (and for me, especially since she is a girl), obviously diverted our attention from the pets. The poor three, Mojo more so than the cats, has had a rough year. His mum, my wife Anuja has just not been available to him, and he has had to make do with a combination of staff, my mum and I; many though still not a patch on his absolute favorite parent!
Its also been another great learning period for Anuja and I, not just as new parents, but also as pet-parents. Our education continues and we gain new insights into these wonderful creatures each day as we see them interact with our daughter. They are an absolute delight to have and to behold.
Each household should be blessed with a pet. We’ve come to realize the myriad of benefits that animals bring in one’s life. They give love selflessly, are fiercely loyal, and are teachers of great wisdom in their own ways. Being pet parents is one of life’s great joys!