A lot is being said today about the benefits of growing up with pets in the house. The benefits that people list range from young children developing better resistance to allergies to better behavior training. Yet, when I look back at my growing up years, I remember the two dogs (one succeeding the other) that tottered behind me and unknowingly taught me a whole lot of things that would later change the way I look at our world.
The first dog we had at home was a golden Labrador. She was the most beautiful dog I have ever seen. She stood tall and slender, her eyes betraying the softness of her heart. She was brought home when I still very young, so her size alarmed me and my friends. When I overcame my initial fright I learnt that Ruby (which is what we named her) had many lessons to teach us.
When I look back now, I am appalled at how we played with Ruby. We tugged at her tail, climbed over her like a horse, hugged her tight and pretended she was our dog detective on mysterious journeys into different lands and what not! Yet, through all those years Ruby never once so much as scratched any of us. She never barked in protest and always followed us into every nook and cranny! One of the greatest lessons I learnt from my beloved dog was the virtue of patience. She somehow understood that we were children and was always patient with us, through whatever we did.
True love and faithfulness:
When Ruby was a grand old lady, her master (my grandfather) passed away. For 3 days she refused to eat a single meal. We coaxed her, brought her favorite foods, tried to feed her by hand and tried every other trick in the book. But Ruby never touched a morsel, she mourned for her beloved master, for it was he who used to feed her every day. Soon afterwards, she lost the will to live. She fought terrible disease and finally passed on to join her master. There is no love in the world that is purer than the love and faithfulness of an animal to her master.
Feeling pure joy:
After Ruby, we brought home another Labrador – a chocolate colored fellow, whom we named Brandy. When Brandy came home he was forty days old. He had blue eyes and fit into my palm. It was love at first sight. Brandy missed his mom terribly and would choose to cuddle up to me or my mother as he slept (he conveniently ignored the men of the house!). As he grew up, we taught him to climb stairs, sit, roll, play, all like he was a human baby. The hours of joy that Brandy brought the household as he grew up remain unaccounted, but the memories of our little boy can never be erased. He is now an old man, but still behaves like a child when he sees us! And the way he looks at me when I walk in through the door, still fills my heart with immeasurable joy that only he can bring!
There may be a hundred researches that suggest the medical benefits of children growing up with pets. I have just a few, but these to me are the most valuable! Do you have incidents from your childhood or those of your children’s that you would like to share? Share them with us in the comments section!
Article by Madhumita Ganapathy
Madhu, having grown up in a household that always had pets, fell in love with animals at a very young age. She firmly believes that until one has loved, nurtured and cared for a pet, one’s life remains incomplete. She loves writing, travelling, and meeting new people. Madhu lives in Stamford and joined STARelief as Social Media Director to lend her marketing expertise in spreading the word and creating awareness. Connect with her on Twitter @MadhuG86