Parenting A Pet
For Vatsala Shukla, there is a need to change the law because she lost a precious pet to irresponsible building contractors defying noise pollution norms…
I was all of three years of age when I saw a stray black puppy walking on a street of Karachi one evening while my parents and I were out on a drive. My Dad humoured me and we brought the puppy home. I named him Tommy after my favourite Teddy Bear.
One of my favourite memories of that time is my Dad giving him a shampoo bath in the sink and sprinkling Old Spice aftershave on my insistence. I’m not sure if Tommy qualified as a rescue, but we went on to have many dogs in different countries where my late career diplomat father was posted. Each one was either a rescue or given a home because the owner was being transferred. In any case, the basics were the same. If my sister and I wanted a dog, we had to be responsible and give it the respect due to a fellow living being.
Then my parents rescued a miniature dachshund couple who were to be put to sleep in Doha because the female came into heat during Ramadan and the owner couldn’t stand the ruckus. Everybody wanted Buster, the male but there were no takers for the girl, Juju. That started an entire relationship with Buster, Juju and their descendants that lasted for 20 years until Bruno, their son passed away at a ripe old age, 5 months short of his 18th birthday. These dachshunds travelled the world with my parents and we had a new rule- if we were to ever adopt another pet after the dachshunds, it would always be a girl because we had witnessed gender discrimination even in dogs!
Not surprisingly, after Bruno left to join his family in Heaven, we had to get another pet – the house didn’t feel like a home. That’s when Miss Coco, a Shih Tzu & English Cocker Spaniel hybrid, joined us. She stayed a full 12 years before she passed away from multiple seizures. The culprit was a contractor working in my housing complex who used equipment meant to break roads inside a building to break a floor. The noise level violated the Noise Pollution Laws and also affected her brain. All efforts to save her went waste and the RWA didn’t take any action.
Work is still required to protect the rights of domestic animals. They have rights under the Indian Constitution but the right to feel safe in their own home from outsiders or for their humans to protect them is not enforced. Miss Coco taught me the art of living. She saw me through the first year of the pandemic keeping me grounded and stable when others around me were having anxiety attacks. I couldn’t get her justice because shortly after sending the legal notice to the contractor, the second wave started and the courts closed. Heartbroken, I didn’t want her to be forgotten. I wrote a tribute to her in a Kindle eBook which hit the top of the chart in Amazon for the Pet and Animal Care categories.
A year later, I’ve brought home Coco Junior, a delightful Shih Tzu girl, who is teaching me that life does go on with the gift of friendship that only a pet, whether a dog or cat, can provide.