I don’t clearly remember what struck my head that I suddenly declared-“I am going to own a pet.” I only remember that I was 9 at that time probably. My parents were watching TV as everyone does at early morning. It was not early but for me it was because I was a late riser especially on Holidays. My uncle was preparing any project and my aunt was teaching my cousin. My grandparents were talking about a holiday. I was not brought up in a joint family but that was my session end break so my uncle and family had come. My grandparents used to live with us.
“What a pet?” Everyone said in a chorus.
“Yes, a dog. I mean a puppy.”
No one took me seriously. However after I said the same thing at least thrice a day my mom said –“Look, pets need care. Both your Dad and I have office. Granddad hates dogs and Grandma is afraid of them. So it is not possible.”
“Mom, everything will become ok if you say yes.”
However no was the answer. I was not sad because I expected it.
On a fine bright morning I saw a cute puppy in front of my house. It was badly injured. My mother took him in and nursed him. My grandparents had gone to visit my uncle. My father when came back from tour helped mom and gave medicines by consulting the vet. After a few weeks when he had become healthy enough we left him to fend for his own life. That day when I opened the main door I found him waiting. Mom saw it and said-“Let us try it again.” We tried to leave him but he wouldn’t go. So mom decided that we had to keep him.
“Tomorrow my office starts” Mom said to dad. Mom was a teacher and summer vacations were going on.
“Ok, Mitali. Your office starts from 6am and ends at 1:30 pm and by 2 you reach home. So that time ‘Shadow’ will live in the house and I will visit him every 2 hours because my office is at walking distance and Kamla can also take care. Then after 2 you will take care. My office starts at 9am and every 2 hours I can come.” Dad said. Shadow was the dogs name. Mitali was my mom’s name and Kamla our maid servant’s. Grandparents wanted to live at uncles’ for 2 more years till my cousin passed out school.
“Till yesterday I could have said no, but now we have not adopted Shadow but he has adopted us. He is not a dog to me anymore. He has been promoted to the status of a human being with four legs and a fur. He is now a child to me.”
Kamla left the job but mom kept calm because shadow was a family member. We tried our best to manage but we had to sacrifice many things, especially my. I have to get up early and go for walks with him, I have to share my bed, I have to find time to play with him. I do not complain because he is my brother after all. He has taught me discipline, time balance and gave me a better view towards life. I never feel bored and neither alone because I wanted a friend, a hand but I got a paw which is more precious. I remember that day when he first came. We wanted to get rid of him but now he has become our atleast my raison d’être {Reason of existence}.
I often ask to mom “What will happen when Grandma and pa comes back?”
She gives me a sweet reply “When Shadow came we were not sure how to keep him but now we can. That 24 hours didnot change neither did the chores but we found a way. When they will come we will again find a way. But shadow changed my mindset towards dogs.”
When she finished I realised that Shadow had been sleeping and snoring on my lap. True enough – “Dogs are Man’s best friends”

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