Bringing zoozoo home

“St Bernard!” I screamed with glee, when Vivek asked me which breed I would like to bring home. It was the most evident choice. Ever since my ninth grade, ever since I had first laid eyes upon that adorable St Bernard in Beethoven, I had wanted to bring home a St Bernard.

“Are you sure?” he asked me skeptically. Was I Sure? Of course I was sure! It was like a dream come true for me.

Behind every dream is a lot of effort.

Vivek absolutely refused to indulge me, till I had invested a lot of my time and effort researching about the new puppy I so wanted.

“It’s going to be but a baby!” he explained. “We are going to be responsible for him. A little knowledge wouldn’t hurt!”

It was then that I realised the enormity of what I was about to do. Adopting a pet is not as easy as bringing home a stuffed toy. You cant get bored of playing with it and then store it away in some corner of your wardrobe or use it to decorate your room. You have to care for your pet, you have to understand things he does not and even those things which he does!

How could a little baby, just a couple of days old know what he is supposed to eat? I would have to know what to feed him. How would he know why he had taken ill? I would have to know it for him. I would have to understand all that is good for him and all that is not. I would have to show him, teach him and train him to lead his perfect life.

It was definitely not going to be easy.

I religiously applied myself to the internet to understand everything I could about St Bernard. I read everything available. I read about the history of St Bernard. I read about their grooming schedules and their exercise needs. I read about the precautions I should take and everything that I should avoid. I spent more than a couple of weeks understanding what problems my St Bernard puppy could have.

Every time I read something, I wanted to read more. There was just not enough material out there to satisfy me. What would I do if something went wrong? I primarily needed a vet who had handled St Bernard before. I needed someone who would and could guide me in those spaces which I had left blank.

Even before we got our puppy home Vivek and I set about researching vets in and around our area and setting parameters to finalise on which vet would be responsible for our baby. Of course along the line we changed vets.

Did we have enough space to house a St Bernard? Would it be cruel of us to bring him home? Did he need more space? So many questions plagued our mind and we had no idea where to find the answers.

I joined all possible St Bernard groups available on the net. Answers came in the form of Betty. Betty, is an American I met through one of the St Bernard groups on yahoo. She patiently replied to each and every mail of mine. She had four St Bernards of her own and was well aware of my concerns.

“I cant wait for you to bring your St Bernard home,” she wrote to me. “It is as if I am bringing a new baby home. Please send me his pictures the minute you can!”

I had made a friend in Betty. And Vivek and I finally felt equipped enough to bring a St Bernard puppy home.

“Ready?” He asked leaning out of the window of his car.

“Ready!” I beamed.

All through the drive I could barely contain myself. We were really doing it! We were adopting our first baby!

He was sleeping in a tiny corner of the cage in the pet shop. He was so small? Such a small puppy was going to grow up to be a big dog in a span of twelve months! I was going to be responsible for his healthy growth! Was I really ready?

Vivek picked him up and he opened his sleepy eyes. Vivek handed him over to me. I cuddled him on my lap. He sniffed my hand and licked at my fingers with his tiny pink tongue. Was I ready? Of course I was ready!

I picked him up and headed to the door.

Surprised, Vivek called after me, “where are you going?”

“I am taking zoozoo home,”

I smiled.

– Hitesha Despande
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