Parenting or pawrenting a dog is a unique experience in itself. Sleepless nights, worrying, panicking over nothing, teaching them right from wrong, are all synonymous to owning a puppy. There are many fun and exciting stages to witness in every step of a dog's life.
Noted neuro-economist and professor at Claremont Graduate University in California, Paul Zak discovered that a dog's brain releases oxytocin - love hormone - when it interacts with humans and other dogs. A human brain releases the same hormone when they're being hugged and/or kissed.
You consider and reconsider your decision to get a pooch. You wonder whether to adopt from a shelter or get a pup from a pet store. When in doubt, you look it up online. Ponder over tough questions like how life would change after getting a dog, or where will you keep him if you need to go for a vacation.
You find yourself strolling through a dog shelter. 'No pressure. You don't have to get one,' you tell yourself over and over again.
You look around, and you find yourself amidst dogs of different ages and sizes; some sleeping, others playing, and barking, busy in their own little worlds. You want them all, be it the one who is gnawing on another pup's ear or the one looking sad in the corner.
Your eyes land on one little puppy who has picked you. It looks as if this little fellow had been expecting you, wagging his tail, he reaches out to meet you. And it's love at first sight. You fill in the papers, and lady tells you that you can take him home in a couple of days. You secretly feel guilty for leaving the others behind.
On your way home you go to the pet store and buy everything he and you will need. Books on what to expect, unique names, and how to train a puppy, medication, special shampoos, water bowls, leash, crate, bed, toys, food, etc.
It's time for you to get your puppy home. You're heart begins to race as you zoom to the shelter to pick him up. Just a couple of signatures here and there, and then you begin clicking selfies, #withtheshelterlady, #mypuppy, so on and so forth. You post it on Facebook, Instagram, and on other social platforms.
You've read many a book, cover to cover, wondering what to name your very first puppy. You've also promised yourself not to choose the usual names like Fido, Rover, Bailey, or Max. So you try out different names one after the other to see what he responds to. But then you end up with Buddy.
You bring Buddy - your new puppy - home, and he relieves himself on your rug. By the time you clean that up, he's quietly gnawing at your cell phone charger, after chewing through your flip-flop strap and the newspaper.
The ingested bits and pieces of rubber, plastic, paper, and wire have done their trick, and your pup Buddy is acting funny. You rush him to the vet, a few hours later and a couple a hundred dollars lighter, you learn that Buddy's going to be just fine.
You return home in the wee hours of the night, exhausted and ready to sleep. But Buddy has plans of playing, yapping, and whining. You lay him in his crate and beg him to sleep; but to no avail.
You tell yourself that he can sleep with you in your bed just this once. Laying in your bed - exhausted - your puppy has finally fallen asleep, only to wake up a few hours later to search where the snoring sound is coming from.
After a long day's work, you return home expecting a grand welcome from your new pup. But you couldn't be further from the truth. You come home to a shredded newspaper, stench of pee, and Buddy grinning proudly at his accomplishments. At this point, you don't know whether to cry of exhaustion or laugh at this predicament.
You dreamed of walking an 'obedient dog' at the dog park. But that has long crashed and burned as Buddy dragged you behind him, sniffed the whole dog park, peed a million times, yapped at a dog ten-times his size.
Just as you're about to give up, he finally poops. You collect it in a poop bag, and find him pooping further more till you run out of poop bags.
You look back over the entire experience so far and begin to wonder if having a dog was a good idea. Taking care of a puppy was not as easy as you had thought. As you crash onto your couch, Buddy tugs at your leg, begging to be lifted on to the couch.
You put him up next to you thinking he'd be less of a trouble sitting next to you. Tired, Buddy slowly rests his little head on your lap, and at that very moment you know you love this little fur ball.
Buddy takes it upon himself to embarrass you in every way possible. You don't have a couch cushion that doesn't boast of a stain made by Buddy. Your clothes have his fur on them. Parties bring out the devil in him as he chooses to display your unmentionables to your guests. He is an epitome of embarrassment.
A couple of months have passed. You find yourself rushing home after work only to meet Buddy, take him for a walk, and play with him.
You've begun to lose weight as half the food from your plate goes to him. He's learned a few tricks, reduced his temper tantrums, has fewer accidents in the house, and you're sleeping better with him next to you.
The saddest part of the day is when you have to leave for work and returning home to Buddy is the highlight. You find yourself making excuses just to spend more time with your pup. Even a day without him feels like forever.
You've distanced yourself from people who don't like dogs on the sofa and have looked up vacation spots where Buddy can go with you. You have forgotten how life was before you had Buddy.
Little over a decade has passed, Buddy and you have aged. He no longer plummets things to the ground or plays fetch. He needs help getting on and off the bed and couch. At times, you wish you could hear him bark like before.
One fine night, you know it's time. You look at Buddy through your teary eyes and kiss him one last time. By the next morning, you're left with a heap of memories, photographs, and his old toys that remind you of him. And you think to yourself, 'he was just a little puppy'.