By Sagar Gwalani

I never heard of a Jack Russell Terrier until 2 months before welcoming Monk home. The first time I heard the name, a quick Google search led me to two statements that have continued to define my relationship with my boy. 

 First – “A JRT is a small breed with a large personality”  

Second – “A JRT will try to become the leader of the house. Do not let him succeed” 

3 years into having Monk, I can safely say that despite his small size, I have let him succeed. 

Since late 2020, I have been pitching the idea of bringing home our 2nd dog with growing seriousness. One day in January 2021, my family caved.  

Within hours of this, I was reading those 2 statements on Google and about 2 months later, on March 8th 2021, a tiny 1.5 kg package boarded a flight from Coimbatore to Mumbai, giving me my first pangs of the anxiety that comes with pet parenthood. 

 My first fondest memory of Monk is on the car ride back home. After a couple of minutes of being nervous, he clung on to me like he belonged and in that moment, I became Monk’s Papa.

 Monk’s First Car ride from the airport to his new home

On day one, Monk quickly made our home his own. In just a few hours, he’d explored the whole house, had a couple of meals, fought with that other bad dog in the mirror, chased after his new toys, and fallen asleep on my lap. All in one evening. 

Over the next few weeks, we started to become inseparable. When Sagar’s disciplinarian dad wasn’t watching, Monk’s undisciplined dad would let him up on the bed for shared nap time. Subconsciously, I’d developed my own dialect – filled with vocabulary only Monk needed to understand. We talked a lot and he listened to everything I said with the most curious eyes. That is when he wanted to listen. Other times he chased me around with his toy of the day (loudly) , demanding that I drop everything and play with him.

 Conversations with Papa

In a  few months, Monk grew from extremely tiny to less tiny. We started going on walks and runs. We were eating adult food now. We’d visit the Dog Park every evening, where I saw him bloom from a scared little kid to the gunda of the park. I remember this one time when Monk fancied a particular Beagle at the park, but so did this other (much) larger German Shepherd. When provoked, Monk shooed away the German Shepherd and claimed his love for the Beagle. The Pet Papa in me always retells this story with great pride.

King of the Dog Park

The Pet Papa in me is also very serious about celebrating his birthdays right. His first birthday was a pool party, second one was a trip to the beach, and just last week, we celebrated his third, where I cooked him a steak dinner and took him shopping. There are those who say “You’re only doing this for yourself, the dog won’t even remember all this”. Those poor souls don’t have a clue. Today, when I wish Monk a “Happy Birthday” , his tail wags a little faster and there’s a taller spring in his step and that’s an unmatched feeling.

 Happiest Birthdays

I know I’m not a textbook or ideal pet parent. I spoil Monk because Monk isn’t just my baby, he’s my best friend. He’s the last one I say goodbye to before leaving the house and the first I say hello to when I’m back. After his initial burst of excitement where he’s made me play fetch, chewed on my socks, and done his zoomies, comes my favourite moment – one where he claims his spot on my lap and stays there until I’m done petting him. Every now and then he’ll look up to give me a kissy. While he’s affectionate with everyone, kissies are only for me. The Pet Papa in me brags about that too.

* Founder of Pettle, is a Pet Parent through and through and fuels his inspiration from his adoration for his pet, Monk.

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