Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Why class pets are a great Idea!

I still remember the day like it was just yesterday. I came back from school and saw this tiny little 5 month old Dalmatian pup with a blue ribbon around his neck yelping by the doorstep. I had got him for my 11th birthday. The best birthday gift ever! We named him Spots. 

I always wanted a dog since I can remember. As a kid, I knew every dog in the colony's name and pestered my parents for my own. I even brought home street puppies on several occasions. With Spots, it all came true and on the very first day I realized that having a pet was more than just cuddling next to it while sleeping. My first time cleaning puke was not pleasant but over the next 3 months I got enough practice of cleaning puke, poop, pee and some more puke. Also being woken up at 3 or 4 in the morning for poopy time was like waking up to breast feed.

I'd race Spots every night after our walks and the reason I won best sports girl at school for four years in a row, was him. Spots was deaf and a little handicapped(he used to walk with a limp) and also the most ferocious dog in the neighborhood (so opposite our present dog Oscar). Spots used to love going out for long walks and used to often run out of the house if the gate was left open. We had to chase him all around the colony to bring him back. He used to love ice cream and chicken, and I used to love sitting next to him on the park bench for hours. 

In my late teens I was just so busy with my friends and my phone in college that walking the dogs thrice a day became such a chore. Mom often had to cover for me whenever I was out or came home late. Towards the end the ever active and ready to pounce spots got really quite. Maybe it was the presence of our new young Oscar or maybe he was just getting old. 

One day he got sick and puked. We thought he was just doing his monthly tummy cleaning, that dogs do, until..... he threw up blood. We took him to the vet and three injections and two bottles of IV later he manged to walk himself back to the car. We had to lift him to bring him into the house. He puked a little more blood. I wiped him and held him to make him feel better and not one second did I think this could be the last time I have his head on my lap, stroking him. He breathed his last on my lap. I can't describe the moment or anything else that happen after that in words, but my initial disbelief and denial did not change the fact that he was really gone. He was my baby. We buried him in one of the million bed sheets he had torn, with flowers and his favorite ice cream.  

A friend of mine gave me this poem, called the rainbow bridge when Spots passed away, which is still my favorite. I shared it with the kids the other day when they lost their class pet and only those who have loved and lost can understand why this poem is more than just words.

Most students in my school did not have pets of their own so the idea to have a class owned pet which the entire class would take care of together, was a great start. It costed below 200 rupees for a fish bowl and a gold fish. It instilled a sense of ownership, responsibility and compassion towards another living creature in them. Each student fed the fish feed daily, roll number wise and fortnightly cleaned of the bowl too. And when Nemo died we burred it with flowers. The students came back to class quieter than usual and at that moment I wondered if they felt the same way as I did with Spots.

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This post is dedicated to Spots. We miss you dearly and I thank you for all that you have taught me.