Written by Averee Burman*
Almost two years of being a ‘dog-ma’, in every possible way a kaleidoscope of emotions, thrills, hopes and dreams. She has taken me to the moon and back - several times - and continues to do so in her magical way every day.
Jimmy walked into my life with her four little salt and pepper paws a year earlier. I believe she was Godsent. Maybe my Guardian Angels realized the trough I was facing in life then and to bolster me out of my own crevice and had sent this furball my way.
We started living together from her 5th month onwards. My parents had never allowed me to have a dog though I had always yearned for one. I knew deep in my heart I needed one and I could raise one.
Little Jimmy helped me burn myths associated with being a dog parent, and live a life of love, laughter and "light".
Let's talk about the myths first -
- Being single does not make any girl equipped to raise a dog -Jimmy and I strongly disagree. She has learnt to spend her free time at her productive best (the doors, walls and endless toys can speak up for that). I am solely responsible for all her needs - walking, barking (she is an extremely quiet dog and I need to teach her how to bark or howl now), OOH pooping, playing with other dogs and playing with me inside the house. Food is her frenemy. She takes out all her mood swings on food, which has to be strictly home-made (she is very health conscious). My maids support me when I am at work. Else she is an independent woman, just like me. Being single or plural makes no change on call of duty / inherent responsibility drive/heart full of TLC.
- Mother knows best - So not true! I have a mother who carries me around like a trophy on her purse or a credit card. Jimmy came in 'her' life (here, life = awareness) as a dent to that perfect credit card that could run on its own fuel. She then tried to insinuate herself as a positive catalyst in my life by removing the negativity. Little did she know, (or she did not) about a mother-child love. Jimmy and I remained rock solid while my mother with her Utopia made her exit permanently from the boundaries of my home. It’s a sham when most parents today, take it upon themselves, to 'straighten' or 'keep the child on the right path' - what does it even mean? That just shows a materialistic, dominating and a controlling mindset - where the child is an object and must flow in the course dictated - not guided. Guidance needs interaction - my mom and I have never talked.
- Dogs will bite - of course, they will. They are animals. And when cornered even humans bite and bark. It took patience, love, caring and prayers for me to get past Jimmy's teething phase. I even visited a hospital for anti-rabies shots, where the doctor shot furtive and suspicious glances at my significant other fearing domestic violence. But in the end, looking back, it was worth it all. She is more loving than ever, with occasional mood swings. Protective, she will run and come in between anyone who presupposes a negative vibe which she picks up on instantly. Many times, if the ‘Significant Other’ and I are fighting, she will come and sniff - once she senses the heated-up atmosphere, she will jump on her paws and try to push him away. Otherwise, if the pheromones suggest that "all is well" or "there is love in the air", she is quite happy to share me.
- Indie dogs are hard to handle, OR Female Indie dogs are akin to signing a death warrant - A vehement no to this. Agree and concur that before Jimmy walked in, I had always dreamt of the branded good looking doggo to buy from a breeder. Jimmy managed to open my eyes to a whole new world where I have come across concepts of adoption, Indie bias, male fetish for simplicity measures and looks decide love quotient. Jimmy is most probably a Border Collie and an Indie mix - which makes her a delicious energy ball, active runner with a vibrant demeanour. Given my own inertia to playing, Jimmy seemed not to be my cup of tea. She ran around, dug into carpets/ walls/door frames, scratched me all over, appeared disobedient to any training - basically she was a curious mix of Allauddin Khilji and Tughluq.
On top of that, being a female, I kept hearing other so-called issues such as, imminent mood swings, heat cycles which would leave the house messy and create a stench and my own plate being overloaded keeping her (the temptress/seductress) away from the male poachers. The warnings had been registered, but as I fell in love with her, I saw no signs of the above. Her first heat cycle in December left her calmer - my house was as clean/dirty as before - her no cause of any stench/mess. A female was just a gendered label - I soon discovered - she wrestled/wrestles with all male dogs, has no mannerisms girly (bitchy?) and clearly, she enjoys being her own self. There is no "handling" aspect to her – it’s only about seeing her grow up into a swan-like graceful creature who makes each day worth living for.
My life of the three Ls now - Love, laughter and 'Light'
The term 'spring' would best describe the entry and impact of my Little Jimmy on me. She came to me at Springtime, when all of Bangalore bloomed out in its glory into an explosion of colourful blossoms. With Jimmy by my side, there is a season agnostic spring in my step every day.
She works like a spring too - pulls me up when I sink. I remember a couple of weeks back, a viral had struck a low blow which left me bereft of any energy or stamina. My sleep cycles were similar to any Rip-Van-Winkle's dreamland - where I seemed to lapse into - with a slight fear of slipping into Forever land. In the REM stage of sleep, I dreamt of her calling out with a keen look in her blazing eyes and her mouth set in a hard line. With a start, I awoke to discover I had been asleep for more than 5 hours in the afternoon. Mustering courage, I took her for her walks and stuck to a normal 'routine' - not allowing myself to 'sink.'
I know it’s 6 am when I feel Jimmy licking me awake. She rises with the sun and tries to program me like her body clock too. Of course, it’s mainly for her OOH refreshments. But eventually, after a period of curses and frantic look-out for dog walkers, I realized that mornings are beautiful (the Goth in me has always been an anti-morning person). I started looking forward to the little walks or runs with her, smelling in the clean air, feeling the mist/chill in the air or simply "being" in tune with nature.
It’s because of her, I have made friends with all her friends - and their walkers and maids too. Her friends are of different shapes, sizes, colours and fur types. I do have my favourites and clearly so does she. She smells the puppers - no harm done - she sniffs at the females, rejects shorter / smaller males and only waits/advances towards the big male dogs. As she plays, I keep interacting with her friends too - who realize my greed to touch them and walk closer to me too.
I love watching her indomitable spirit as she plays with the big male dogs. She does not stop, is virtually never bereft of energy while the other dog surrenders panting on the floor and she loves to climb on top of the dog. It’s a lesson learnt from watching her moves - don’t be bullied by life no matter the size of the challenge. She, in her subtle ways, is my Guru.
To come home is my biggest joy. She has taught me to be simple, appreciative of the small joys of life. When she hears the key turn in the lock, she is ready to greet me with all her love, licks and tail wags. She demands her quota of love - and I'm only too willing to abide by. Evenings are spent walking, talking and playing ball. My house comes alive with her paws darting from room to room in search of the elusive ball.
She has taught me how to control my short temper (put it on leash), be more patient, loving and finally what it is truly like to care deeply for a child. She remains my elixir, the knight in her shining fur, the love of the long licks and my guardian angel in an animated form. My SO / parents often ask me about career/ambition etc - somewhere Jimmy has made me realize that intrinsically my metrics of happiness/success is not about career/travails / vertical ambition - they are scattered but at its root is my need for freedom/flexibility intact. The best part about being in Jimmy's life is that she makes you famous, popular and well networked across a slew of people from varied backgrounds = which in my current metrics of success/happiness = endless opportunities to grow/ be/do + varied interests.
Today I am me because of who and what Jimmy has made me to be. I am happy. On cloud # 9 / top of the world looking down on creation.
*Averee is a researcher by trade but a writer by heart, soul and mind. A happy mom of two wonderful pups (Jimmy and her newborn sister Poppins) - both rescued but have managed to rescue her soul. Her dream is to live on an animal farm. You can follow her on her blog: www.wordosaurous.blogspot.in / www.soliloquy.blogspot.in & Jimmy on Instagram at @jimmyburmansah