By Shalini Singh*

Having grown up surrounded by canine companions made me familiar with the concept of coexistence and compassion. It was the summer of 2016 and I remember going through a rough patch as I had recently lost my best friend of 16 years “Tuffy”; for the first time in my life there were no muddy paw prints on my clothes or my bed for a long stretch of time. Befuddled as I were, I didn’t know whether to bring a furry friend in haste or wait for some time but one thing I was very sure of was that I wanted to adopt my next dog as we never had a history of buying from breeders. 

As days passed by, I started looking out for ways to fill in the void that Tuffy had left in my life and so I started feeding strays around my house. Six months later, I found that one of the females had delivered a litter of puppies just across the street and in a heartbeat I decided to adopt one of the puppies from the lot; from there began another life journey with Joey. Although, there is a little twist in the tale! When I first saw the litter, it just broke my heart as I could only adopt one of them and had to leave the other 4 there itself. The process of choosing which one to adopt was itself very difficult as I wondered why all puppies can’t be given a home and love they deserved! I couldn’t muster courage to pick one and walk away! So I decided very randomly that the pup that would come towards me as soon as I call out for the bunch would be the one accompanying me home. And then there was Joey! Being a F.R.I.EN.D.S buff, I named him “Joey” and true to his name, he loves pizzas. Also ‘Joey doesn’t share food’! Hyperactive puppyhood along with lots of licks and love aptly describes our time together after I made him a part of my life.

A great guard dog and extremely selective of humans around him but still won’t leave my side if he senses that I am down or upset. He is a big hell of a coconut as he is hard (aggressive) on the outside and a real softy on the inside. From his excitement for his morning walks to his crazy love for pizzas, Idlis, and french-fries, makes him weirdly special! When it comes to bathing, joey hates shower but he loves to get drenched in rain; he is the happiest, when he is out in rain. 

Unlike other pooches, he absolutely hates car rides and belly rubs!! But on the contrary, every morning he loves being pampered and comes to me for a regular ritual of being petted on his head before going for his morning walk where he socializes with ‘selective doggos’ and snubs the remaining! Some attitude! The most special part of his morning walks used to be his mum accompanying us and protecting him on streets till the day she died. I remember when he was young and I was in college – for him, it was the very first time that he stayed without me for good 7–8 hours. I, being a panicky/ paranoid pet mom came home to calm yet a very happy doggo! It became a daily thing for him to bid me goodbye while leaving for college and welcoming me home every evening. I wouldn’t have it any other way! 

In these testing times of global pandemic, Joey has definitely proved to be a stress buster for me. No matter how anxious, stressed out, and disquiet my mind gets, being with him brings me peace and calm, and uplifts my mood.

With Joey coming into my life, I realized the importance of our ‘desi dogs’ and sheer need to adopt them. A few people around me echoed the prejudice of majority that ‘Indies’ are not worth adopting; well! I got two now as very recently, I rescued and adopted a parvo-survivior ‘Jhilmil’. Joey welcomed her with an open heart, which came to us as a big surprise. He is a great big brother to Jhilmil and a blessing for me. 4years and counting!

As an animal lover and a pet parent, I would love for people to come forward and adopt our ‘desis’/ ‘indies’ (as we call them), because when we adopt them they become a part of our families and you don’t choose or customize family on the basis of breed, colour or money. Please adopt, don’t shop. They need you! 

*Author is a resident of Ghaziabad, an ardent animal lover, and a loving pet parent who loves to spend time with all her furkids at home and out on streets.

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