The man with his two dogs…
This is a story about a middle aged professional and his two four legged furry friends Murphy & Jaggs. A story about their friendship which became eternal during the pandemic. All three came together to give up their baggage of past and live life fully… It was never planned, it was the outcome of choice made by the man who is the author… or should I say, it was destined.
Apart from our handsomeness, if there is anything else common among we three, then that will be our disturbing childhood, optimism and “love at first sight” moments…
Let me first introduce the only two legged creature here, myself. A middle aged professional whose life had been always struggling from childhood and continue to be…But I consider myself as extremely successful and content though all worldly parameters suggest otherwise.
Entry of Murphy…
Now let me introduce the most important character of the plot Murphy a four-year-old Golden Retriever who was adopted by my wife from an abusive young couple when he was barely six months old. He entered to my life when I was in an extremely low state and completely denial state. I had just lost my 2 years old Labrador dog Oscar primarily due to my inability to not sense his health condition. Murphy was underweight with limping back legs when he kept running to me… It was a love at first sight! I got the echo… Dude ! I have arrived… !!
Murphy never liked any human touch… He had lost all his faiths on humans due to the trauma he had to go through from previous parents. Today except me, he even growls at my wife and daughter when they accidentally touch his nose. Murphy was aggressive with other dogs due to his bitter past. I kept a walker to take him out twice a day as my wife could not mange him on roads. I felt good as he was better off than his past but he was not a confident dog. But he always gave me his generous hug and obedience. When I am in official tour, he will become sad and wait near the door till I come back even if it is in months. Life continued till the pandemic hit. The walker stopped coming. I had no option but to take him out twice a day for 30 minutes… In fact, I made it 15 minutes. Apart from basic commands, he was not trained and attacked other pedigrees multiple times. Those were a very embarrassing moments for me. By this time, Murphy had earned his bad name beyond my building in entire township. We both had similar temperament, hence my wife used to tell me, he is a complete reflection of me. But we both were happy and content in our own company, we never felt the need of any other friend.
Forced Entry of Jaggs…
More than three months into pandemic when me and my wife were completely drained both physically and mentally without help of any maid, then entered a black two and half month puppy a mix of Mastiff and Labrador.
A teenaged kid of two high flying corporate executives had made puppies by mating two of his pet dogs to make some quick buck. Things did not go as per plan and his business plan got doomed due to pandemic. One day he got frustrated with continuous nagging of his parents in absence of help. In a moment of madness, he left all the puppies [ waiting for sell] on road and one of them was killed by strays. This was the time lot of humans abandoned their dogs on road as it became a burden on them and they just wanted to get rid of this additional responsibilities. Today I see lot of new pet parents in my township who now realizes dog can take care of their kid’s emotions… In this urban jungle everything is a transaction. Jaggs was adopted by my wife for fostering. She never had plan to keep him forever. But for me, it was a Love at first sight again !! I again got the same echo… Dude ! I have arrived…!!
I could never let him go, in spite of my wife advertising multiple times for his adoption. Jaggs has a tremendous power in his eyes… which always told me silently… “I am in your life with a purpose…”
Formation of Boys Gang
Jaggs the tiny fellow dominated Murphy from day one. The most aggressive Murphy the alpha male was behaving like a puppy in front him. First he took possession of all Murphy’s belongings including all his toys. Whenever I gave any treat Jaggs will finish his and take away Murphy’s share. He was more focused on Murphy’s plate than his own. However, whenever I gave biscuits to Murphy, he will not eat till Jaggs eats. First time I realized beneath the tough exterior and bad name he has earned for himself a highly compassionate and generous dog. He truly is a royal dog like his look. I just recalled, he is a true reflection of me…
Initial days were very tiring both for me and my wife…taking both the untrained dogs out in turn, their grooming…etc. But it was a Man’s word to his Dogs which made me rise to the occasion. Keeping two large breed dogs in a flat was not an easy decision, but then it was a decision not transaction which can be reversed.
We all three are so different like the three points of a triangle but are always connected.
In spite of me knowing my health condition [High BP & Sugar] since last decade, I could never motivate myself to walk to the next room and switch on the treadmill. Rather I preferred to pop up the pills. I could never motivate myself enough.
Born and brought up in Pandemic Jaggs was never socialized and became very aggressive. He thought it is his moral responsibility to safeguard his mom [my wife] 24X7. He started charging the watchman, any dog or human he met on the way. Even a dog trainer could not calm down him.
I had never spent time in understanding Murphy. So, he had accepted the life as it is. For him, ok to growl at other pedigrees, given a chance, attack once a while, get forced fed and sleep. The only thing Murphy could not share with Jaggs is his world, that is “me”. Jaggs had an undue advantage of cuteness being a puppy. He was getting away with all his mischievous acts making Murphy blamed every time. Murphy knew life is not fair.., but what he could not accept the undue partiality of mine. That hurts him the most. He tried his level best to stop dad connecting with Jaggs but that joker knew how to make space for himself.
One fine evening, we all three were roaming in a car aimlessly, and we saw some visibly happy pets playing unleashed in a park with their sport dads who looked much fitter than theirs. Both of them looked at me, and I realized… we deserve much more than what we have… We need to unleash our life from that 100 sq ft. AC room. We need to walk on grass, wet in rain, sweat in sun, play and celebrate life as if there is no tomorrow. We realized, if there is one thing which is standing between our happiness and us that is our not helping to each other.
Helping to each other…
From that evening, life had been never been so boring again… Now every morning comes with new possibilities, possibilities to learn new things, unlearn, realize, correct, trust, respect… possibility of Jaggs being a Therapy Dog, Possibility of Murphy becoming famous for all good reasons in the town. And I becoming a more responsible and sensitive person, fitter, content and happy. The aching muscles no more could stop me from showing on track. What more lesser mortar like we three could have expected in this life??
Next day, we all three were same, the strays, the pedigrees, humans around us nothing had changed… the only thing that had changed was, we consciously becoming reflection of each other and learning / unlearning from each other. Charity begins at home… the first change that happened in me is, I gave rest to my mind while walking with Jaggs or Murphy. Instead of analyzing I started observing. One smart thing I did is, I tagged myself to Murphy & Jaggs for both morning and evening walk. As a result, I started walking 10Km average in a day. Both Murphy who was obese and me became fitter day by day. Even today after the walker came last month, I still walk them in once in a day by turn.
I trained myself on Dog behavior more through observation rather than reading. I realized like humans, dogs have their own personality. Like a twins which are so different, Jaggs and Murphy are completely poles apart. I started my training during the walk. It was a continuous unlearning and learning process for me. I knew one thing; I do not have luxury of giving up. There were very low days when Jaggs or Murphy will behave horribly not listen commands. Soon, I realized if I cannot expect from humans why am I expecting too much from them? I took Jaggs and socialized with all strays, pedigrees, watchmen, housekeeping staffs and small kids. I knew Jaggs is a highly sensitive dog and can be trained as a therapy dog… I realized the purpose with which he came in my life. Today Jaggs is an extremely happy confident Dog getting trained to be a certified Therapy Dog soon.
Murphy is having the best days of his life. Roaming in the entire township off leash… sniffing objects, peeing on all plants on the way, without a choker belt, occasionally looking back at his proud dad. He is the most desired dog among all bitches in township. Same people who hated him want to pet him and want their pet to learn few things from him. There are some people whose pets were attacked, cannot believe their eyes.
What Murphy taught me….
1. Your insecurity should never affect your loyalty. There was not an iota of drop in his love for me knowing, Jaggs shared my span of attention with him.
2. We always prepare to live but we never live. Live in the moment. Enjoy what you have. Life is a celebration.
3. You will always have a reason and choice to be generous and compassionate. Find your reason.
What Jaggs taught me…
1. In life, do not take anything for granted. Be loyal to people who helped you when you needed them most. Even if he loves our boys gang, he is still more loyal to my wife than he is to me…the hands which fed him first time.
2. Observe more, Judge less. Today I will encourage an obese person walking instead of ridiculing him as I would have done in my earlier version.
3. There is a tremendous healing power in love. It is has got more power than medicines. It may not help you live longer… but it will help you live fully.
What Jaggs & Murphy learnt from me…
You can still believe a two legged. You just need to find the right one.
I can keep writing on this, but just wanted to end the story with the caption I read during the cremation of my previous dog Oscar.
“Dog do not stay your full life… but they make your life full…”
Somebody asked me, what is the toughest thing in keeping a Dog, I said “to let them go…”
Every time, Murphy gives me a hug, I repeat to myself, “the fear of losing, should never stop you from living your life fully….”
Every time I pet Jaggs, I tell to myself, “Love has the biggest power to heal…”
Finally, today we all three are known for all right reasons in the township…
The man with his two Dogs.