There is no love greater than the love between man and his pet. The relationship human beings share with their furry (or not so furry) mates is, for the most part, inexplicable. Books may have been written and movies made about this precious bond, but the mutual love between humans and animals remains to be grasped in its entirety. Every day, every moment, these silent companions teach us a lesson or two about life. Not only do they give us immense happiness and love, but our beloved pets also have the ability to melt the coldest of hearts with their disarming innocence. It’s as if they help us bring down the walls around ourselves. For everything they give us, they want barely anything in return, except our love and lots of food. No conditions apply to this indubitable loyalty between a pet and his master. On Love Your Pet day, Soulveda brings you four different glimpses into this eternal friendship.
Kai, the pup who taught me the greatest life lesson
They say if you want to experience pure love, experience parenthood. Children can turn even the most unsentimental individuals into doting, caring grown-ups who suddenly discover the ability within to think about someone else’s wellbeing before their own. Their simple view of the world and an even simpler expression of love is enough to leave anyone powerless.
I’ve always marvelled at this, and time and again wondered if there is anything else that can make human beings willingly let go of their rational thinking, step down from their intellectual ivory towers, not worry about convenience or comfort, and just be in the moment.
My pet dog Kai gave me a most conclusive answer to this nagging question. Over time, of course!
A five-month-old rescue pup, Kai entered my life and home when I least expected it. A meant-to-be, written-in-the-stars, fated kind of a situation, I like to think. In my organised, systematic world, Kai brought just the right amounts of chaos, challenge and crazy. Life and I both changed consistently as the greedy (for love, attention and food) mutt claimed his place right at the centre of my universe. He managed to challenge not only my idea of space, comfort and convenience but also of love.
Among the many lessons Kai taught me, one that remains closest to my heart is of unconditional love–a notion that seems more idealistic than practical. Let’s face it, we never really allow ourselves an opportunity to love without conditions and strings. It is, indeed, human to not recognise the importance of ‘loving without expecting’. After all, expectations form the basis of most of our actions. Love is no different. Come to think of it, we expect at least a little from everyone we love. And it well includes our children. But, this doe-eyed Labrador managed to teach me what I call the no-expectation rule. A rule that asks you to give every ounce of love, affection and care you’ve got, without worrying about what you’d get in return.
I quickly proved to be a good student. You’d think so too, considering the speed at which I warmed up to cleaning poop, pee, and thick doggie drool at all possible ungodly hours, and managed to smile approvingly at the wounds and bruises from walking the most hyperactive dog in the world.
The no-expectation rule went down surprisingly well. What reciprocal gesture could I possibly expect from a puppy for taking him to answer the call of nature in the middle of a cold winter night (2.45 am, to be precise)?
I’m sure many more lessons are yet to come. For now, I can say I’ve successfully been conditioned in the art of ‘unconditional loving’. And, I am richer for it. – Shalini K Sharma