Let’s just say we were pet sitting for someone this weekend. A nine weeks old yellow labrador puppy. Named Sunny. The most adorable long ears, a lovely shinny yellowish brown coat. And the biggest paws you’ve ever seen on a puppy. Bright twinkling eyes. And trust me when I say this, he snored like an 80 year old man.
In the day and a half that I spent with this little yellow ball of droopy eyes and snuggly paws, I have absolute new found respect for pet owners. For people who bring home an animal and give him/her the love, affection and the time. For human beings who devote their lives and share their space with a non-humans. I didn’t realize until recently, the efforts that go in to bringing home an animal and loving him to be like one of your own.
Because puppies are nothing like human babies. Yes, they are cute and adorable. And they sleep a lot. Not to mention they have small frequent accidents. But, the truth is that they demand your love. And not just the affection, but the kind of attention that makes you wanna drop everything and pick him up. And the minute you pull him out of that crate, where he kept racing up and down, all whiny and teary, he drops his head on your shoulder and blends in. He might as well be a part of your t-shirt, he’s that quite now. Complete camouflage.
I’ve always questioned unconditional love between parents and their children. And to a large extent, I believe that there is no such thing as unconditional love among human beings. How can it be unconditional love, when something is expected out of children at every step. Something that includes trophies, medal, degrees, a fat salary package, a spouse, children. Not all parents expect their children to be prodigies. I guess there are exceptions to every rule. But nobody wants their children to grow to be street musicians or a painter.
But I realized over the weekend with a puppy running haywire in the house that the love between a pet and his owner is as close as it gets to being unconditional. Well, the fact is that your dog is never going to get home anything except the occasional dead bird or a dirty rag from the road, but his owner will love him the same amount. Without any accolades or achievements, a dog will still wait for you everyday. With that long drawn face and a wagging tail, he will still wait for you to command him to eat. No matter how hungry he is, he will fetch the ball you’ve just thrown. Without any temper tantrums, he will wait patiently for you to unlock the front door and take him for a walk. And trust me, I haven’t even experienced half of this. But somewhere I know, that if I do ever get over my fear of dogs, it will be picture perfect.
One fine day, Sunny, changed the way I looked at dogs. As we dropped him back, I wondered if I’d ever be able to explain to people that somewhere beyond my irrational fear of dogs is the sheer concern that I wouldn’t be able to appropriately reciprocate his love and that I would fail this little puppy.
He’s in a happier place now. Chewing on a bone all day long.