Lessons from a dog and implications for humanity

My dog, Bares, is now five years old. This cute and adorable creature, black coated in white hairs, was brought from Libang, Rolpa, in 2015. Today, the puppy has become a member of our family and best friend of my father. 

With time passing, I got a student visa from Norway for a postgraduate course and had to leave Nepal. I missed my dog then, but I returned home on June 21, 2019, with my wife and our six-month-old daughter. That time, our matured pet welcomed us with a frequent jump and tail wag as if he wanted to say something to us. I loved the way the pet expressed his emotions and stay disciplined on our arrival and I realised the reason why Norwegians keep dogs with them as their family members. Sometimes, I think the Norwegian dogs are the luckiest dogs in the world as they are loved, cared for and treated as family members. 

My life in Nepal bounced back into a previous lifestyle, busy schedule and working like a cat race however unsatisfied I was. These days, generally, I  arrive home after a long, stressful day at work, and I am greeted at the door by my overexcited four-legged friend that puts a big smile on my face. It motivates me to get out of the door for the fresh air and exercise. Furthermore, it provides me with love and friendship that reduces feelings of loneliness or isolation. 

The dog has been such an important part of my life as it adds different flavours to happiness in my family. Once, Kinky Friedman said,” Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.” So, I also believe a dog is the only creature on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.

My daughter Renisha loves playing with the dog, talks and shares food as the pet is also loyal to her. She loves taking him outside for the evening walk with joy and excitement. It is a fact that the loyalty of a dog towards its owner is something that cannot be questioned nor measured but can be emotionally and spiritually felt. 

So far, my father takes care of the dog and takes his bath occasionally. The love between them is unconditional. I still remember my father used to feed food to street dogs when I was a child, and still he does. He mostly feeds our dog and sometimes even manages by cutting off his own share of food.  Needless to say, we are a dog-loving family. 

One day, my dog missed his way and got lost. We searched almost every corner of the village but could not find him. The lost dog put our family into loneliness and silence; my father was more worried as he used to play with him mostly in his free time. My elder sister cried and ate nothing for a few days. 

Then, one month later, we were informed that the dog was at the next village with his ‘new owner’ who kept him as if it was his own property. As soon as we got the dog information, we approached him. 

It had already been more than a month since the dog was lost. We talked to the man and requested him to return the dog. But, he denied. Instead, he interrogated us to show proof, claiming he bought the dog at Rs 5,000 from some people. After that, I showed him the pictures of the dog which I had captured on my mobile phone. As soon as the dog saw us, he started barking, wagging his tail and jumping over. No sooner had the new owner released the dog than the pet came to my father’s lap. This moment was quite emotional for all of us. 

Meanwhile, my father paid him the same amount that he claimed he spent to buy the dog.   

Psychologists believe such a loss of their pets is painful because owners are not just missing the pet but also a source of unconditional love, a primary companion who provides security and comfort. It can also seriously disrupt an owner`s daily routine more profoundly than the loss of most friends and relatives.

This incident reminds me that the world would be a beautiful place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog. No doubt, they are wonderful animals in the world who love and trust their owners more than themselves. 

Photos: Courtesy of the author

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Sharma is an environmental science student in Kathmandu.

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