Last week I saw a viral video of two medical students throwing a dog off a three-storey building. I was so deeply disturbed by it that I shared it with a few others. At the time of writing this, the men have been found, booked and out on bail, and the dog (named Bhadra) is recovering with people who love and care for her. Just pause and understand this. That we live in a world where a man is filming another man throwing a living, happy dog off the roof of a building. For. No. Reason. Whatsoever.
That night I held my oldest son a little tighter. My oldest son is a four-year-old golden Labrador who we brought home in the winter of 2011, three months away from having our first (human) child. Clouseau fit into our lives like a glove and little did we know how much a dog was about to teach us.
As parents, we all want to teach our kids basic lessons that will prepare them for life. In our home, we strongly believe our dog is doing that. And the more we see it, the more my husband and I relax our lessons.
The Lessons My Dog Teaches My Sons Daily
Patience: With two babies under 5, our hands sometimes tend to be literally full when it comes to attending to Clouseau’s meals, his playtime, or his walks. But however hungry he is, or how much ever he needs to go out, he will wait patiently till we are done attending to our baby and toddler and he can see that we are free to attend to him. He will then bark, whimper, whine, or signal to his need and let us know what he wants. Our sons watch him wait his turn daily, and from him, they learn patience.
Compassion and Empathy: Clouseau strongly believes that a hug, a snuggle, or a cuddle can cure anyone’s bad day. And he very strongly practices what he believes in. So whether it was the time my water broke and I was in labour pain or when my older son broke his leg, or even when we are just drained after an especially hard day – Clouseau will sit and snuggle close to you and ask to be petted. That in his own doggy way, is him, making you feel better.
Shrugging bad things off: For Clouseau, the dog days of summer can be especially cruel. The heat and the humidity with all that fur make it really uncomfortable for him and he can’t even think of a daily jog or a walk. But he doesn’t let it get to him. He shrugs it off, finds the coolest spot in the house and then calls it a day. Tomorrow might just be a cooler day.
Eternally hopeful: Anyone who has ever had a dog will tell you there will never be a day when you will eat without a pair of doggy eyes on you. Eternally hopeful that he will get a stray bone or an errant crumb, or maybe we are feeling generous enough to toss him a roti or two – the limits to his fount of hope knows no end.
Happy with small things: Like it or not we live in a materialistic world. Our children often have a long list of things they want from toys to technology and everything in between. But for a dog take him for a long walk or sit with him and give him a rubdown and he will be forever grateful.
Being a pet parent is a tough job but my husband and I are glad that our children have the opportunity to grow up with a pet. We are bringing up children in a world that is filled with gore, terror, loss of innocence and disaster and they are exposed to all this and more daily. They need the presence of an animal in their life – one that is not just impervious to bad news but has the ability to wag its tail and make you smile at the end of a long, hard day all while teaching you lessons crucial to be a better human being.