True friendships are beautiful and rare. They require no words, language and span across religions, culture, nationalities and even species. Friendship between our Misha, a Labrador, and my son was such.

There are loads of heart-warming stories of friendships between man and animal. The only ingredients are unconditional love and care…it is just a connect of the heart. Once the trust has been established animals love ceaselessly and forever. The excitement they exhibit on seeing their beloved friend is a balm to soothe frayed nerves, stressed minds, dejected hearts, ensuring a smile and a leap of joy at such a happy welcome. Truly Misha’s friendship with my older son was such.

First meeting
Both Misha and my son seemed to be in perfect harmony from the day they set eyes on each other. She came to me with her beautiful honey gold eyes and half bent ears, a lovely little golden girl staring at me with wonder in her eyes as to who I was, unmindful of where she was. All that she was interested in was her food and sleep. This piqued the interest of my little one who thought he had the right to food, sleep and being pampered and getting attention.

Mommy to two young ones
She was like a child to me and very soon I was mommy to two beautiful young ones, one a two-month-old Labrador and the other a ten-month-old little boy. Almost immediately they became friends, with the ten-month-old trailing the two-month-old all over the house. One can’t think of one without the other as they were inseparable and partners in mischief.

Growing up together
They grew up together and as they say for dogs, that a year of a dog’s life is equivalent to seven years of that of a human, Misha grew faster. As little kids they played like siblings, squabbling over the same wooden sticks or slippers. Misha had a fan in my son who insisted on emulating her and would end up eating like a dog from her plate! My ten- month-old wanted to eat like his best buddy and at meal times he had to be told the right manner of eating.

Merry circus every morning
It was not uncommon for them to fight over a broom, play with potatoes or just plain relax with sonny boy reclining on her tummy playing with his little GI Joe soldiers. My little boy learnt to eat salad as his friend loved salad and would often get it as I would chop. That fondness to salad stays with him till today. Both of them wanted the attention of the maid. They would follow her around, trying to grab her mop or Misha would put her nose in the water and sonny boy would simultaneously splash it! It was a merry circus every morning.

Good look and mannerism
It was a beautiful time watching both the kids grow. For me it was like raising two children at the same time. The little lady understood everything I said. She would understand if I told her that we wouldn’t be going for a walk as the baby was sleeping and she would wait for him to get up. Such was her level of patience and understanding. Misha did not like being left alone and showed her displeasure in so many ways. The little lady was as beautiful in her mannerism as in her look. A gentle, affectionate one who understood every word I spoke.

Misha as my son’s safe spot
For my son it was a live toy he had while growing up. He would spend hours lying down with Misha as his pillow, playing or going through picture books. And Misha never shrugged him away or got up and walked off. It was a happy time they shared together. Misha was his safe spot. She never told him what to do, questioned him or told him to study, eat well and do well. She was just there – his buddy who accepted everything he did, loved him and was happy to be with him. There were no expectations of any kind and that is what makes friendships not only with dogs but with anyone special and beautiful.

Legacy still lingers
My son, now is a 25-year-old young man and to date he loves dogs, not just the dogs we have in our homes, the cute, clean cuddly ones but dogs on the streets as well and has no qualms petting them. Complete strays come and sit next to him and he happily pets them and feeds them unmindful of germs and diseases. This is the legacy of his nineyear- long friendship with Misha! She continues to be his ‘fur’ever friend.

Remembrance


We miss you Shadow!
–Gurjit Saini, SBS Nagar, Punjab