This post is part of the 500 Words Challenge, which I have undertaken to pen at least 500 words (for myself) regularly and make writing an enjoyable habit.
Move Over Snow White, Princess Paula Is Here
Her beautiful brown eyes were shaped like the most perfect almonds. She nudged closer, bumping her nose against mine. Sighing contentedly, I rubbed behind her ears and massaged her neck. She rolled her eyes in ecstasy and flashed a graceful smile – thawing my heart faster than a tiny piece of ice on a hot stove! Then she stood up, waited for me to follow her cue and promptly placed her huge paws on my chest. I laughed out loud at her antics while she happily wagged her tail.
SHE is Paula – a giant dog, of unknown breed and thick snowy-white fur. I met this gentle beast at a pet hospital. Oreo – my black and white puppy – has a deformed paw, and hence our rescue agency suggested we consult a renowned surgeon to ensure that nothing was serious. But my boisterous cookie never lays still, which forces the nurses to sedate him before X-Raying his paws. Consequently, my husband and I are forced to cool our heels in the waiting room for an hour.
Paula tiptoed into the brightly-lit area while I was brewing coffee for myself. Our eyes locked, and I fell head over heels in love at first sight. Tapping my legs impatiently while the black nectar dripped oh-so-slowly into my cup, I watched as she slobbered all over my husband. When my cup was FINALLY full – hey, it had been less than a minute since the coffee began brewing, but time seems to stretch when there is such a gorgeous furry-gal in front of you – I almost leapt to where my husband sat, dumped the coffee cup on my chair and allowed her to smell my hands. That’s when she gave me her full attention, and those huge eyes pierced through my heart.
From Biased Phobia to Blossoming Passion
Watching me coo like a ‘crazy dog woman’, my husband grinned broadly and shook his head. With sparkling eyes and a smile wider than his, I asked him what was going on in that awesome brain of his! He said, “I can’t believe you are the same person who was so scared of dogs less than a year ago. Look at you playing with the hugest dogs today”. Chortling, I agreed.
I hail from India – a nation that homes several abandoned dogs on its streets. These stray dogs live in deplorable conditions and, as a result, are scarily aggressive. I remember being chased by several frightening dogs during my stay in India. Hence, I was extremely biased against these four-legged creatures and quaked in my shoes every time one of them crossed my path. Since I didn’t fully understand how dogs communicate, I misinterpreted a wagging tail as a sign of aggression, instead of a sign of love, and equated barking with bad behavior. In fact, I distinctly recall bursting into tears when Oreo barked for the first time after we adopted him. I thought he was going to hurt me.
Biases. Aren’t they scary? I guarantee that most fears spring from incorrect assumptions. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if – instead of permitting prejudices to lead us astray – we trust our experiences to show us the right way? (That said, I am frikking scared of snakes, and I am NOT going to place my hand in a snake-pit to befriend them any time soon :P )
For instance, my unexpected ardor towards dogs arose because because I let one kind dog open my eyes to the multiple facets of our furry friends!
From Urrghh to Arfff…..
The adorable Bassett Hound – Ginger – featured in the following picture (with me) is the primary reason for my sudden change of heart:
Ginger is my sister-in-law’s first dog and one of the most affectionate pets you will ever find. She taught me that, when properly raised, dogs are faithful, adoring and oh-so-much-fun! They trust implicitly, love generously, live wholeheartedly, lead wisely and elate perpetually. It took me only one meeting to embrace these fascinating four-pawed animals! Since that fateful day when Ginger stole my soul, my pulse pounds with excitement at the sight of most dogs! It’s amazing how a single good experience can counter multiple negative experiences (and the vice-versa is true too!)
Oreo has only reaffirmed my belief in the power of pets to enliven our lives. While he can be annoyingly rambunctious, I cannot imagine living without him. Heck, I find it hard to leave him alone at HOME even for an hour. It breaks my heart to see his limpid, pleading eyes when he realizes my intention to go out. My husband teases my obsessive devotion towards my munchkin, but his amusing quips shall continue falling on deaf ears.
Oreo has transformed my life in more ways than I can count, and I am not going to take this blessing for granted. In fact, I created an “Inspired by Oreo” series in the month of July as a tribute to the pup who brought loads of laughter into my tiny world. For twenty-five days, I outlined his teachings – one lesson a day – in the form of stories. However, his influence extends far beyond just a month. Every single day, my dog educates, empowers and encourages me to become a more giving, caring and loving person.
My only gripe is that Oreo never allows me to cuddle him. Hence, I steal such moments with other dogs – such as Paula and Ginger – who do enjoy such human ‘rubdowns’!
Has my cynophobia vanished? NO! It is too deep-rooted to disappear within a year or two. In all honestly, I am still not comfortable around small dogs (and cats). That said, I don’t tremble in fright or start bawling at the sight of any dog anymore, which is quite a relief!
Thanks to Oreo, Paula, Ginger and every dog who is responsible for the most beautiful memories and moments of mankind. We can all learn a lot from your selflessness, spunkiness and sweetness. We love you, darlings.
Were you ever the victim of a bias, either due to a past experience or due to incorrect information? How did you overcome this prejudice? Oh – and if you have any furry friends, I would love to know more about them! :D Thank you for engaging with me, dear readers.