Dogs and Me

by | Feb 8, 2022 | Lifestyle, Personal Stories | 11 comments

In our family, we have always had dogs.

Tuppy was a beautiful little silky-sydney that my grandfather had before I was born. Mom told me that he had smuggled her into India from Australia – in his waistcoat pocket when she was just a tiny ball of fluff. What amazing, innocent times we used to live in – that one could get a little ball of a puppy on a flight from Perth to Bombay! Tuppy and I kind of grew up together – though she stayed with my grandparents, and not in our house. She would jump into my grandfather’s bed every morning at 8:00 am and lick him awake. What was amazing was that she somehow knew when it was a Saturday or a Sunday and on those days would let him sleep.

Jockey, me and my sister in Matheran

My uncle had a lovely bungalow in Matheran – a hill station near Bombay. We were lucky to spend the blistering hot Bombay summers in a beautiful, pleasantly cool, middle of the forest bungalow. The caretaker there had a dog – his name was Jockey and he would come with us on the lovely long walks we took all over Matheran. Mom and dad would allow me to go wandering in the forests there, because Jockey would always go with Anant and me – Anant was the caretaker’s son. The monkeys in Matheran are notorious for attacking you – especially if you are carrying any sort of food. Jockey had once attacked a group of monkeys who had snuck up and tried to steal the bhelpuri that I was munching away. It was quite an adventure for a 9 year old to be involved in.

Tuppy died when I was around 10 years old… And soon a neighbour gifted another beautiful little ball of fluff to my grandparents. Tuppy was white as snow, this new one had silky brown hair – and my grandparents called her Tiny. It was the first time in my life that I had encountered the devastation of death and the joy of a newborn, all in less than a month. I remember how Tiny would walk from Parel to Dadar with my grandfather every Sunday evening. My grandfather was a towering 6’5″ and the little dog would have to almost run to keep pace with him as he leisurely walked with her. She would be huffing, puffing and panting when the two of them would reach our house in Dadar.

By now, you can imagine how much I loved dogs. I always wanted to have a dog of my own – but in our miniscule Bombay flat, mom and dad would keep telling me there was hardly any place for the humans – how would we make place for a dog…

Bobby jumped into my hands while I was taking a walk – the poor little tyke was being chased by some other dogs. He had been abandoned by his owners. It always makes me wonder why people buy pets when they are not ready to take care of them. A pet is a responsibility. You are taking another little being with life – who will more or less consider you to be God. If you are gone for 15 minutes, and you come back home, you will be greeted by wags and yelps and kisses like you have been away a whole year. These little creatures ooze with love and cuteness. And there are people who would simply abandon them because they peed on their carpet. Makes me wonder about why we called ourselves Homo Sapiens – The Wise Ones. Maybe it is just an aspirational title… But back to Bobby.

Of course, I bought him home. Of course, my parents said a vehement no. And of course, everyone in the house fell in love with him that very evening. I finally had MY dog. My fondest memory of Bobby is how he would compel me to go to bed when I would be studying late into the night. He simply wouldn’t sleep until I had slept. When he thought I had worked enough, he would jump onto the table and just spread himself out on my open books and look at me meaninfully with those beautiful deep brown doggie eyes of his. I knew, I had to shut shop and go to bed then. He actually ensured that I got enough sleep! Maybe that’s how I became smart enough to get into IITB.

Bobby, my sister and me in Khandala

Bobby loved to go driving – in a car, or on the scooter. He would expect to be taken for his ride every morning before any of us went to college, school or work. If for any reason he was not taken, the little devil would go and pee on the pillows of the person who didn’t take him. He always knew which pillow to pee on. He had the sweetest temperament of any dog I have ever met and scores of people got over their fear of dogs when they met Bobby. I would refuse to shut him in a room when someone who was scared of dogs came to visit. This was Bobby’s house, and he would not be jailed because some silly human had a stupid fear.

I got into IIT Bombay and moved away from home. Then I became an Art of Living teacher and started to travel all over India to teach courses. I would always get a rousing welcome from Bobby whenever I came home. Our entire family started to meditate with Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar’s techniques, and turned to a cleaner, greener lifestyle – choosing to be vegetarian. Bobby too, turned vegetarian. He had always eaten the food cooked for the family – Dhansakh and Dhandar Patio were his favourites. Our neighbours would say – it’s ok you guys are vegetarian – why are you making the poor dog suffer? Hutoxi, our neighbour would give him some leftover chicken or meat, and he would just sniff it and disdainfully look away. He started eating and loving raw tomatoes, salad leaves and cucumbers.

After Bobby died, for the longest time, we had no dogs. My sister was quite broken when he passed away – his last lick was for her. I was not home when he went…

Fast forward almost two decades, and I found myself living in Art of Living’s Bangalore Ashram. We have two dogs now – one of them Donny is a beautiful, but horribly bad-tempered stray who adopted us. He showed up at our doorstep and refused to leave. He is so handsome, everyone wants to pet him. If it’s anyone he doesn’t know, he just bites.

Whenever we go for our walks, Donny comes along with us. He becomes quite miffed if we decide not to go on a walk a particular day. The one thing he cannot understand is why we take a walk around a circuit – he doesn’t approve of this silly human behaviour of walking around the same place over and over again. He just plonks himself somewhere in the middle and waits for us to finish.

Donny

Gowrishankar, my dearest friend is even more dog-mad than I am. He is a brilliant film maker and designer and along with Abhi and Mayur had been directing, shooting and editing our videos for almost a decade. Then he had to move to Chennai… And started rescuing strays in his spare time. Actually, I think he makes films and does his designing work in his spare time.

Irresponsible, heartless humans seem to routinely abandon beautiful dogs. Gowri goes out of his way and rescues them, and finds homes for them. If he had his way, he would open a dog sanctuary. By the way, if you want to get a dog, please adopt a stray and don’t get one of those showy pedigree types – they are a product of massive animal cruelty. And an Indie dog is as good as any of those fancy breeds when it comes to love and companionship.

A few weeks ago, Gowri found a little pup in distress – a cute, little black and white and brown doggo with brown eyes that somehow manage to glint a shade of green. When I saw on Instagram that he had this little pup, and was looking for someone to adopt her, I asked him to give her to me. He hesitated a lot, because he knew my life involves a lot of travel – but then he relented and trusted me with her.

Gowri, Akira and Donny

Our little bundle of joy arrived from Chennai. Gowri had named her Akira – Japanese for Sunshine. And she fit right into our little family on the ashram. Donny didn’t quite approve of her to being with… but he is growing old, and soon welcomed her boundless energy and enthusiasm. Together, they manage to keep other dogs away. And if some stranger comes, Akira barks and by now everyone knows that Donny bites.

I love to take breaks from work, and play with Donny and Akira on the grass. It clears my mind. When I am stuck with something that doesn’t feel quite right or if I am struggling to understand a tough concept, playing with the dogs or going for a walk with them almost always resolves my problem. My dogs spark my productivity. I get ideas I never knew I could come up with – just having fun with them.

Akira and Me

The dogs give me so much, and all they want in return is love and attention… and some nice doggie treats. My dogs light up my life, and elevate my heart, as they squeal with joy – tails wagging, their entire being thrilled with the simplest of happenings – Me coming back home. And if I am feeling a little down and out, there is nothing better than being sprawled out on the grass with Akira licking my nose, and Donny flopped down almost on top of me to make me feel great about life all over again.

Thank God for Dogs!

PS – You might ask – what about Dinesh and the dogs? Well – he is not as enthusiastic about dogs as I am… but he is getting there. Akira didn’t help by chewing his favourite slippers yesterday… Though, I did see him going to the lawn and actually calling out to Akira and playing with her this week… And he routinely takes Donny for a bike ride.

Dogs grow on Dinesh.

Dinesh and Donny

Do you love dogs? Or other animals? How did your pets make their way into your heart? Tell me your pet stories in the comments below!

Love

Bawa

11 Comments

  1. Gauri Sriram

    It’s so sweet Bau…I miss Kaali too…she was my first being I. The ashram and she would drop me back to Vasuki if we stayed late. The hugs she gave when I would return to ashram after a course oozed with love. How she knew I was coming I still don’t know.
    She would help keep the monkeys in Vishwamitra at bay which was a relief.

    Reply
    • Khurshed

      Ya – Kaali never came with us to Vyas and stayed in Vishwamitra only – then of course, Donny and Pandi made their appearances 🙂

      Reply
  2. Raghav

    Awesome. I feel like getting a dog now.

    Reply
  3. Shavina Prakash

    My Coco warmed his way into my heart as a puppy when he looked like a tiny ball of fur. I had a dog resistance ingrained within me but his soft eyes were irresistible. He officially became one of the loves of my life. 💜💜

    Reply
  4. Krishna

    Such a lovely post Bau. I was not find of dogs and pets in general. But a few months ago my sister rescued an abandoned pup. It has cream and carmel fur and beautiful golden eyes. Sweta named it Monkey, 😂 we have yet another pet squirrel which was abandoned by its mother and has decided it stay with us after we took care of it. And must say I am so fond of these two as they wait for me each day and shower so much affection.

    Reply
  5. Komal Sagare

    What a lovely write up Bau 😍
    I love love love dogs.
    Long story short it was my pet Chetak’s death which led me to Art Of Living. After his death i decided to love every dog i meet on the streets. Wherever I travel i make sure dogs around me get food before I eat. I really love the way they love. They are the perfect example of how one should love. They are angels 😇

    Reply
  6. Gurpreet

    I love dogs too. Never had one in my life but I take care of the strays that are around my house. I fostered a few dogs and they got adopted. Now am back to taking care of the strays, especially the friends that my dogs made while they were with me. I used to take care of the dogs in my dorm when I was in Mongolia too. They are big dogs there. If they put their paws on your shoulder and stand, they are nearly as tall as me. Nothing compares to the love dogs can give. So unconditional.

    Reply
  7. Cathrin Wechsler

    Cat’s and me.

    Thank you for your touching and lovely dog stories!
    my favorite story is about the smuggled puppy. that’s so cute and great.
    And Bobby was something very special, for sure.
    And i love Danny – sounds like, he is very smart as well. And Akira cute. Okay, i also ask to touch every dog i meet on my ways. Loving most of them. 🙂 If i will ever will come again to Bangalore, will aks you to say Hallo to your friends.

    By myself: in childhood and early youth, we always had birds. songbirds, budgies…

    at some point, in the mid-90s, i was visiting a colleague. there was a very small kitten. the friend’s father said, if none of your colleagues take the cat, i’ll drown her. That’s how I got my first hangover, Batman.
    over the next 20 years, my companions changed a few times. after batman came robin (female), then Bart and Lisa, Norbert a short time (we had just a few good months being together, he was sick), then maggie, for her i had to work as a midwife. Very exciting. She was very young at this time. Maggie i lost because of a car.
    Every cat i was blessed to spend time with, was unique lovely.
    And also for me, especially 2 times where I was together for 10 years, felt heartbreak.

    For a time with ex-boyfriend was joined by a black retriever, he had a lot of power, but was also happy with 6 kitten in his sleeping place or was working together with the cat’s to take food out from the shelf, where just their could reach, not he himself.
    One time coming back from dancing, all the chocolate we got this day for christmas eve was gone – with paper. And he looked at us like only dogs can – it wasn’t me!! :))

    Then due to the move to the german ashram and many many moves in Germany in recent years, I didn’t have a cat of my own. But there is Sally, she lives in Bad Antogast, has been one of my best and most loyal friends for a number of years now.
    If i dont saw her for nearly 2 years, coming back, i just needed to whistle for her, and she came runnig to me like always before.
    Now, back in Black Forrest completely, I haven’t been feeling so well lately and she came into my room in BA quite often, although she usually prefers to be outside. Its like your Story, animals ar best friends, taking care a lot about us. Beautiful support.

    So we started:
    Some time after moving into Bad Antogast for the first time to live there, I discovered on night a very very thin little cat on the garden door. I gave her some cheese and ghee. she was soooo hungry! later i bought food. there was stress because someone didn’t want the meat in the house. But when I got an apartment in the area and later went back to my hometown again, our program coordinator Magda took over the care, so nobody said anything anymore.
    Cat’s got first homeplace in bee house, later in garage, because its warmer in colt times.

    Sally belonged to the neighbors, the hangover in the house didn’t like her at all, so she needed a new place to live and lots of love.
    meanwhile, besides Sally, another cat lives with us and 3 more coming regularly to visit and for a snack. they love being with us.

    Sally also goes for walks with me in the mountains, also high up to an hour, then she plays catch or jumps on trees.
    Recently her friend Pompa came for a walk for the first time too. She is less athletic than Sally, but turned out to be very brave and only at the end she lay down lazily on the path, so I had to carry her as I wanted to be back in time for the seva. So cute she is.

    I love and save every animal i can. Whether bee’s, bumble’s, spiders, mouses, cats…
    my best friend ‘needed’ to take a cat to his home, because i found one. He loved, later. 😉

    I was with some birds at our animal rescue in the city. Always happy, if succesfully.
    In the zoo in our hometown, I quickly became better acquainted with many animal keepers and was able to feed, pet or greet many animals behind the scenes. Could you ever touch a tiger, feed a bear or rhino or got a kiss from a see lion? One day, a small coati wanted to eat my red toenail instead of the red cherries.
    Still grateful. Wonderful time.

    Going for long walks in the forrest, already 2 times i could hear a wulf!
    Just few weeks ago, was following traps in the snow – very fresh – maybe i came to close, so he howeld – indescribable to hear and feel this sound!

    Guruji said each animal has a very specific frequency and is uniquely important. You can feel it.
    also with ticks, which are numerous in the Black Forest – if they bite you. Hahaha.

    Warm regards from beautiful Germany to beautiful India
    Cathrin

    Reply
    • Khurshed

      Wow Cathrin – thanks for writing this for all of us!

      Reply
  8. Donald Young

    I beg to differ about stupid fear. If we experience anything traumatic at a very young age then the impressions lasts a lifetime for many. I have been bitten on neck by a German shepherd when I was only 9 years old. That fear after that pain is definitely not stupid.

    Reply
    • Khurshed

      That must have been really traumatic – I too was bitten very badly on my fingers – a doberman took off a chunk of flesh from my left hand between my middle and ring finger – that place has more than 20 stitches. But, I went back the next day and met that dog again. I realised that the dog had attacked me because it thought I would harm his owner.
      Try taking the Bach Flower Remedy Star of Bethlehem – it might help you get over that terrible incident.

      Reply

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