Sage and her superpower of love and affection

Sage, my delightful Indie puppy was born on dawn of 14th December, 2021 (She has turned one!). Calendar, her mum’s delivery was expected two months later. Born under a bench in my brother’s new café, the birth felt more like a crisis than a celebration.

–by Malvika Vazalwar

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Next to the café, I still had about six of the twelve puppies I was fostering in my dad’s wedding banquet that was closed during lockdown. I’d thought I’d get a break but a third litter of four meant another 10 hour-per-day puppy marathon was soon upon me. Nothing could ground me in the present moment than this morning meditation with the little fur balls.

Furry friends bringing a ‘paw’sitive change

I have been always been a nocturnal person, the ‘2AM-channel-downloading-poetry’ kind of person almost all my adult life. This was the first spell that helped me not just wake up early but own mornings: no morbid blues, gloom or pressure to prove, and I am eternally grateful to the dogs for bringing out this hidden aspect in me. I had meal and vet reminders on my phone and putting my recent dog certification to use was thrilling. I couldn’t help notice that the difference between Litter 1,2 and Litter 3 was only of four months but felt like a generation. These four soft-pebble-like looking life forms looked healthier, fluffier, and had no infection. They also met a more seasoned version of me: their pen with a bed, bed-sheet and pee pads was already set with features like a play area and deck, their mum’s food, even their names came swiftly – Archer, Arrow, Unicorn and Sage.

Happy and heavenly connections

If I had to, I would adopt Archer, he gave me the toughest time even as a twenty-day young French-bulldog-look alike. He got stuck twice, was determined to climb the pen, and soon was vocally expressive for food and attention. Sage on the other hand was the quietest and calmest of them all. The two times she got hurt she went in a Hermit mode, kept to herself and fell asleep. Despite nothing being wrong with Sage, despite she being the most harmless and endearing Disney fox fairy of a dog I have ever met, I never intended to adopt her. I never considered myself to proactively commit to “lifelong” pet parenting other than committing to lifelong learning and changing. Even though having companion animals of my own was a childhood dream.

But something turned it all. Sage got a gastro infection and in reviving her, I became recommitted doubly over. It was unbearable to see her lifeless and after that I couldn’t trust anyone else to care for her. She belonged here. Sometimes the pup/s we need find us if only we let them stay. It’s easy to shrug off when we amplify small inconveniences. It’s so easy to discontinue and disconnect from their presence. I’m glad how much ever time it took to actually believe I have a pup of my own, I have her. Pets are high-vibe grounding angels!

Now is the time to bring a change in mindsets

I live in Nagpur where the population of street dogs has multiplied in the absence of a structured, transparent and ethical Animal Birth Control program. Making that worse, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court gave three options to the Municipal Corporation but only the most impractical and inhuman one was highlighted – fining dog feeders instead of creating designated dog feeding spots and recognising feeders’ role in facilitating sterilization and vaccination. Recently, the bench also ordered NMC to identify and remove unauthorized collars from street dogs without considering that collars (reflective) help prevent accidents, aid in vet care and vaccines and help protect free roaming dogs from abuse and can help trace them back to their territory if they get lost due to firecrackers. Instead of using their bandwidth in curbing nuisance like artificial, toxic noise of blaring baraats, honking and firecrackers, something as natural as dogs barking is considered nuisance and humans see it as their duty to remove dogs on this basis alone.

Gratitude for my furry friends

In uncertain times like these, where authorities device innovative ways to witch-hunt street dogs rather than using that creativity in constructive solutions to strengthen human animal coexistence and bond, knowing most of my pups are not at the mercy of human whim feels gratifying. Just watching Sage curled up beside me as I write this, while her mother roams the road with the rest of the pack, spayed and collared but only semi-protected, reminds me of the power and permanence, human intervention can bring in their lives. And in return they raise us in unspoken ways.

(Malvika Vazalwar has completed a certification in Dog Nutrition).

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