I've been begging my parents to let me get a dog since I was five. For the first time ever I'm a little glad they never agreed.
I've met dogs who I've patted, fed and played with from time to time before being on my way, but recently I had my first ever prolonged exposure to a dog. A little black stray puppy with white paws who wandered into my office and adopted it whole-heartedly. We named her Kunti because she happened to turn up when the Mahabharata was being discussed and it just remained, as did she. She went from a nervous, cautious wreck of a puppy to a happy, trusting, bouncing thing in no time at all. Soon she was a regular at work, turning up everyday, whining to be let in, sulking and crying when we sternly kept her out as a punishment for peeing inside and tripping people up while happily exploring the office. She attacked everyone's feet, appropriated everyone's shoes and tried to eat all the computer wires she could find. From time to time the boss would lift her up onto his table and she would sit contentedly on his warm laptop charger and sleep off while it baked her little butt. She was beautiful.
She hadn't been turning up to office for a week or so and so I went to ask the neighbouring office people, who usually fed her, where she was. They told me she died. She wandered out onto the road and was hit by a car.
I knew that puppy for exactly a month and I fell fully in love with her. In the back of my mind I vaguely feel like I might be overreacting to the death of a puppy that I knew for barely any time at all, but... the memories of this one month itself are a tad painful. How she would always go and sit on the feet of the one girl who was terrified of her. How she would weave in between everyone's legs as they'd crowd around the table for lunch. How she'd attack the little plastic bowling pins that are always (inexplicably) lying around in office and run around with them. She was a very tiny little thing that barely lived before she died, just because she didn't know any better.
This probably happens a hundred times a day around the city, around the country. It makes me glad to think there are organisations out there who go about sterilising stray dogs so that there are no puppies to go and die when they can't be taken care of, caring for them when they fall sick, urging people to adopt stray dogs over buying pedigreed ones so that these scrappy things can have better lives.
These are two organisations that I know of and keep hearing of. Head on over and donate to them, or any other that you might know, so they can do what they do a little better, because of you.
How I'd feel if a dog I had known for years had died is unimaginable.
But I will still adopt a stray puppy whenever I can. I'll adopt a whole bunch someday. And I'll coddle them and love them till I'm known as that crazy animal lady.