Life with pets around

National Pet Day celebrates the happiness that pets bring into our lives.
Last Updated : 29 April 2024, 08:52 IST
Last Updated : 29 April 2024, 08:52 IST

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As April arrived, Dev started feeling sad. All his friends were celebrating National Pet Day with their pets. He had read a little bit about it online. It was first observed on April 11 in 2006 in the United States to highlight the plight of animals in shelter. Now it is celebrated all over the world. This special day celebrates the happiness that pets bring into our lives. It also encourages people to reduce the number of animals in shelters by adopting them. When humans and animals come together, the world becomes a better place for everyone and there is peace and harmony in nature. To commemorate National Pet Day, all of Dev’s friends would pamper their pets the entire month.

Sadly, there was no special animal for Dev to play with. His parents were allergic to fur, so cats and dogs were out of the question. Dev disliked keeping birds in cages, so parrots and other pretty birds were ruled out. 

Around National Pet Day, Dev’s mood touched rock bottom. He moved around the house with a long face. 

“You can always keep cockroaches and lizards as pets,” his sister Reva teased him.

“Mind your own business,” Dev scowled. “You keep them as pets.”

“Don’t be rude, Dev,” his mother warned. “Else, I’ll give you extra chores.”

Dev instantly fell silent.

His grandmother who had heard the entire argument beckoned to Dev to join her in the balcony. The young boy trailed his dadi. 

“Look around,” she said.

Dev stared at the trees opposite his house. His eyes widened when he saw a couple of sparrows perched on a branch. A murder of crows cawed from a tree, as though having a serious discussion. A monkey swung from a branch. A few squirrels chased each other up another tree.  

The garden cat Gigi (she had walked into their garden one day and refused to leave) was acting as though she owned the place. Dev watched as Gigi ambled across the lawn, followed by her kittens. 

“When did Gigi have kittens?” he asked.

“A few days back,” his dadi said. “Did you look around carefully?” 

“Yes,” Dev replied. “I see many creatures around me.”

“That’s what I wanted you to see,” she said. “Why do you need just one pet when you can have so many?” her eyes twinkled. 

Dev looked puzzled. 

“If you take care of them, you will be serving mother nature,” she smiled.

“How? I can’t play with them or give them a bath or call them my own as they don’t belong to me. They aren’t my pets,” he said.

“Who says that one must only look after their pets?” she asked.

Dev fell silent. 

“You can at least look after their needs,” dadi explained. “It’s summer, these birds too must be feeling the heat. So, if you fill a large bowl of water and keep it in a corner of the garden, it will help the birds. Scatter some grains for them, feed the crows some bread or chapatis, leave fruit or nuts for the squirrels, instead of moping around the house.”

“Good idea,” Dev said.

“Take out some time and give these creatures the care and affection they deserve. Due to deforestation, they have lost their habitat and sources of food and water. Help them out. If everyone does that, they can try to restore the balance in nature. Though with National Pet Day, the idea was to show the importance of pets and saving animals, let’s tweak it to all creatures in nature,” dadi said. “The message Colleen Paige, an animal welfare advocate, who started this day, wanted to spread was ‘adopt, don’t shop for animals’.”

Dev was thoughtful. “I’ll suggest to our class teacher that our class can visit a local animal shelter. We can also volunteer there and make a donation,” he said excitedly.

Running into the kitchen, he asked his mother for permission before assembling several items on a large tray.

Dadi stood on the balcony watching as Dev stood on a stool and filled the bird bath with water. He spread pieces of chapatis for the crows. He placed a banana for the monkey and some nuts for the squirrels.

Soon the crows swooped down to feast on the bread and chapatis. The squirrels squabbled as they ate the nuts. The sparrows perched on the rim of the bird bath and drank water. The monkey ate quietly.

“Who needs one pet when I can have so many,” Dev said, waving to his dadi.

Published 29 April 2024, 08:52 IST

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