My dog is my best friend

Happy Friendship Day Dog Lovers
Geeta di’ with her ‘furever’ furry pals!

Remember your idea of a best friend from childhood? That guy you shared your lunch box with; the girl with pigtails who helped you with algebra; the street smart neighbourhood hero who would you draft you in his cricket team? And while we are down that road, remember your first friendship band – those rubber/plastic bracelets or swanky threads, the totems proclaiming lifelong affiliation. How many of these best friends are you in touch with?

Friendship Day to me is about the celebration of the canine kind for their gift to us — remains precisely that capacity for timeless love, unguarded by consciousness or circumstances.  This bond no bracelet can build. My dog is my best friend.

You may have many best friends, but your dog has only one.

“This state of being-in-the-moment is what’s so compelling about dogs. It’s hard for a human to get to it. Even in the most difficult times, dogs are cheerful and ready for experience. A dog can’t figure out that it’s being measured for its grave. The three-legged chow that walks on my street every day doesn’t know the number three or have any sense that anything is wrong with her at all (and as I write, the dog is sixteen and still fit). It’s not that a dog accepts the cards it’s been dealt; it’s not aware that there are cards. James Thurber called the desire for this condition ‘the Dog Wish,’ the ‘strange and involved compulsion to be as happy and carefree as a dog.’ This is a dog’s blessing, a dim-wittedness one can envy.” ― John Homans, What’s a Dog For?: The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man’s Best Friend

Far from the corridors of commercialised celebrations, there are friendships which bring alive the meaning that the word encompasses – from Hanuman who looks after stray dogs (the only friends he has ever known) in Nainital to the Chandigarh man who feeds the homeless dogs. Across oceans in the UK, there’s this little boy and his three-legged dog who have leaned on each other  in what is a stellar story of comeback and triumph in the face of adversity.

At Dog with Blog, we understand that Everyone thinks they have the best dog and none of them are wrong. This Friendship Day, if you could thank your furry pal for all that he has meant to you, what would you say?

And please do let me know what to say to my bear.

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Laika come home

Laika come home

Take all the space programs and the satellites and the celestial conquests, this lad still thinks of Laika, the first animal to orbit the earth. Picked from the streets of Moscow in 1957, the then three-year-old Laika trusted humans, heart-breaking as it is – the caretakers she so lovingly trusted had different plans for her. Many a times I wonder if Laika had a choice. If only someone ever asked her if she wanted to be the first dog in space? What if she was content with her place on Earth.

Laika alone space
A loneliness like that…

Before she died of stress and overheating – alone and scared aboard Sputnik 2, Laika must have wondered where she was. Unaware as to why she felt weightless and whether she would see her human again, her terrorized heart beating at thrice its normal rate must have looked for hope. Laika remains etched in our hearts as the face of the ethical debate over experimenting on the mute for scientific advancement. Why not send someone who could provide consent – human volunteers?

Laika postage stamp
Laika, immortalized in a postage stamp.

Decades later at a Moscow conference Oleg Gazenko, who worked closely with Laika during her training, regretted sending her to space – “The more time passes, the more I’m sorry about it. We did not learn enough from this mission to justify the death of the dog.”

Undergirding my mind off this train of thoughts, this I could never do. The alternative ending to Nick Abadzis’s graphic novel Laika heralds hope that someday our cries of Laika come home would be answered. Perhaps this is why I look at the stars.

Laika graphic novel
Laika please come home.

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The world as the dogs sees it.