Woof away your blues…

For some they may be just some four-legged creatures wagging their tails and running after you in hope for a piece of food you may throw towards them. But for many, and a growing number of people, they are the very reason to be in love with life.

As Covid rapidly transforms our life and make outdoors unreachable for plenty, dogs and other pet animals became like beacons for us. During these stressful periods, people turn to their pooch friends as a great source of emotional fulfilment.

Ritu Ghai talks to a few dog lovers who couldn’t be happier than now, spending time with their best friends.

Puja Monga with her German Shepherd

Puja Monga, a dog obedience trainer and rehabilitation expert based in Melbourne, Australia is a proud owner of two German shepherds – Sultan and Khinza. “My dogs are my world and have shown me things I have never known or experienced before. I have always loved dogs since I was a child but never thought I would ever be a trainer. But this is life. It has different plans and here I am and I couldn’t be happier. Its like I have found my destiny. As a dog lover and trainer, I have always told people that they must treat dogs as living beings and not toys. This is why they need training and guidance to survive in the human world. If they are not shown consistency or training, then dogs can be lost and develop unlimited issues, dangerous behaviours, disrespect towards family and friends. But their training has to be imbued with lots of love. Dogs love us unconditionally and bring so much happiness into our lives. Descendants of Wolves, dogs are the most incredible animals to roam the earth, with amazing senses and strengths. For me, my daughters and family, they mean the world. Our best friends and just like children, an inseparable part of our life. Being a trainer is no longer a job for me – its my passion, my pleasure and I wouldn’t change this for the world”, declared Puja while cuddling up with her two canine companions.  

Her Aunt, Shobha also shares her love for them. “Dogs have the same feelings what we feel. Love them and they reciprocate four folds. They are very affectionate, obedient and loyal towards us.  Since childhood, I have always kept dogs but ever since I shifted to Australia, I have lived without a pooch, owing to the busy lifestyle and post marriage adjustments. At times when my husband is on tour, I miss having a pet to fill my loneliness. I then drive down to Puja’s house and spend some happy moments with her daughters and two loving German Shepherds. I have fond memories of my three Russian dogs, I had in India. Having a dog is like a blessing. In fact they make us see our shortcomings and help us to become  caring and empathetic. Locked down at home, coupled with the feeling of uncertainty during the pandemic, they act like a silver lining to calm stressed nerves. For people working in this fast paced world can be gritty and gruesome and when they return home to be greeted by your enthusiastic four legged housemate, can act as an immediate relaxation technique”, explains Shobha.

Today an increasing number of youngsters, preoccupied by the digital world, are adopting pets to fill the loneliness in their life and seek a greater bond of friendship from them.

Daman seth with his shih tzu

Daman Seth, a new pet owner is a 12th grade student living in Gurgaon. Ever since, he has bought his four-legged companion home, his joy is unparalleled.  “ It is rightfully said that dogs bring the goodness and happiness in human beings. Despite all the cleaning, protection from furniture, biting, and regular vaccinations, we enjoy their growing moments. As pet owners we learn responsibility, parenthood from them and become more empathetic towards other animals as well. Since the age of 7, I wanted to have a pet dog. When we moved to Gurgaon in a society apartment, I daily saw people walking their pet dogs. I started persuading and convincing my parents about the numerous advantages of having a dog in your lifestyle. I did have a tough time convincing my parents to buy me a pet dog as they felt I would not be able to handle the responsibility. But on my 16th birthday, they decided to surprise me by bringing home this beautiful furry shih tzu puppy. It was like a dream come true and I can never forget the first time I held Mars in my hands. A sheer moment of euphoria and joyfulness. Now he has become the cornerstone of our family and gets all the attention. Today, whenever Mom calls home, she asks about him first. Even I can’t seem to stay away from him. Extremely active and loving, he is getting overly pampered. I think a little training would mellow him down but at the moment we are enjoying his daily pranks and growth patterns. Having a dog in life bring not only happiness but time management and consistency. Giving him food on time, taking him for regular walks creates a sense of discipline and routine among us as well. Additionally, the notorious behaviour, the teething, playing with toys reminds us about our own childhood and thereby, makes us relive childhood moments and instances. Mars has brought in a lot of positivity in the house. The sheer joy when you enter the house and have him running towards you and jumping all over to grab your attention is indescribable. Also walking him has made us interact with other dog owners and expand our social network”, says Daman and believes that dogs often act as a medium to connect you with others. “These canine friends help you cope with issues, sadness, loneliness and crisis, particularly during the pandemic. As anti-depressants, they fill us with the feeling that we are not alone. In any situation, through the ups and downs, good days and bad days, failures and successes, you will always find him wagging his tail, licking your feet or pestering you for a treat. Getting a pet home does not only save their lives, but enhances our quality of living, especially during this on-going Covid pandemic”, he concludes.

Dogs are like family members for Shatrunjai Singh Chudawat, a scion of the Deogarh family and owner of Dev Shree, Deogarh Rajasthan, a luxe haveli with eight exceptionally comfortable rooms set around courtyards.

“We have 5 dogs – Two labradors and three Jack Russle terriers. They stay in our bed room day and night. Even though we have kept beddings for them all around the place but Bhurrie Bai, our female Jack Russle sleeps in bed between my wife and me. We regularly take them out for drives and walks, they swim with us, they have their biscuits and bed tea and evening tea biscuits. They live with us just like a family. Even my children call from all over whenever they are travelling and ask about them. Amazingly they recognise their speech on the phone by their voice sound.

We don’t only love dogs but even birds and butterflies for whom we have made multiple bird nests and bush cover in the premises. Our hotel is dog and pet friendly. I feel these beings a great source of happiness and positivity. They make us see the unselfish side of Gods creations. How they love us, look upon us and play with us can actually lower our blood pressure, improve our mood, make us physically active and keep us healthy”, avers Shatrunjai Singh.

Relationship between animals and humans is beneficial for both parties mentally and we wanted everyone to know this”, says Sinduja Krishnakumar, one of the co-founders of Pawga. A first of its kind concept in India, where one practices beginners yoga as shelter puppies and kittens run around them freely. Pawga was conceptualised pre-pandemic in Chennai by three college friends, Sinduja, Swathi and Subhashree who shared love for animals and volunteered at shelters.

This was a viable way to help shelters raise money. We also give away a  portion of the earning towards animal welfare. With the support of Blue Cross of India, Pawga also helps shelter pets interact with humans and avoid any depression. After a 60-minute session of Pawga the vibe of the place is magical. The energy in the place is calming and soothing and you can also see the difference in the puppies.  One could drop it to a session, hang out with the puppy or kitten and if they really like them, can take them home. We see Pawga as a revolution in pet adoption in India and we want to help shelters increase their adoption rates. And the best part is that most quiet puppies would have become friendly and the most rowdy puppies can be seen sleeping peacefully on a participants lap”, says Sinduja and talks about how this experience has changed many participants and calmed them down.

People who come with anxiety and mental stress address us with almost teary eyes as they tell us how relieved they felt after the session. This is what makes the interaction between our practitioners and puppies very special and destressing”, sums up Sinduja.

All dogs bring in a wellness element in your life but a few popular breeds among people are Labradors, German Shepherds, Shih-Tzu, Yorkshire Terrier, Bischon Frise, Golden Retriever, Beagle, Toy Poodle etc.  

Short URL: https://indiandownunder.com.au/?p=17346