A little preface: I’m the kind of person who is pretty fierce when it comes to protecting the personal aspects of her private life. So as a consequence, I was naturally in a bit of a dilemma when I came across tata motor’s #madeofgreat campaign , urging us to come forward with our own personal accounts of people with an extraordinary character who made an impact on our lives for the better.
My fingers hovered uncertainly over the keyboard, debating whether or not I should came forth and recount my experiences of what was personally a dark phase of my life; should I, or shouldn’t I? After investing some amount of time in sitting back and doing some thinking, I decided to see this blog post through with my story. Or rather, his.
You see, I have a Dog. And what I’m about to put forth in this blog post is his story of (a lot) of personal struggle. Reading this, I hope that you, the reader, will feel empowered to soldier through this hell of a rollercoaster we call Life, when the times get tough. Aanyway, I’ll cut to the chase and dive straight into the story without further ado. 🙂
It was the August of 2014, when I came back home from college one late evening; tired and ravishingly hungry. Happy, as is his favorite way of passing time, was playing in our Balcony with his favorite squish toy. Throwing my backpack in my bedroom, I sunk into the sofa next to the balcony and ritualistically leafed through the day’s newspapers. And suddenly, the calming silence of the evening was broken by Happy’s yelp. My head jerked towards his direction as a natural reflex and the memory of what I saw that day still chills my blood to this day. What happened was that as he tried to jump over the balcony ledge back into the hall, his legs got slapped against the hard wall, and falling down, he suffered a slipped disc. And losing sensation in his hind legs was the most immediate of the consequential aftermaths. So there he was, struggling to get up, whining; his hind legs completely paralyzed and unresponsive. I stood there with a blank face for a few minutes, still registering and processing what happened. My dog, my bestest friend in this whole wide world lay in front of me, constantly failing in his hopeless attempts to stand back up. I let out a shriek. Sprinting inside, I brought the situation to my mother’s notice, and together, we rushed back into the balcony and tried to figure things out. I gingerly pressed one of his hind legs. He didn’t yelp or whimper. So the thing didn’t pain, maybe it was just an harmless sprain? It was only after immediately rushing to the vet and getting him checked, that I realized how wrong my assumption was. Happy had paralysed his hind legs, and that was no innocent sprain. When I asked the Vet about how long it would take for him to recover, she told me what such injuries have no guarantee of healing, owing to their nervous nature. She said that there’s a 50% chance of him recovering, and that we shouldn’t keep our hopes up too high. She also advised that we do an MRI scan asap, and get the problem area of the spinal injury diagnosed. I was aghast. Why, only two hours ago I was on a bus back home, debating on what snacks I should have upon coming back home. What just happened? What was the probability of something this bizarre happening? Only an hour back, Happy was playing, and now he was lying motionless in my arms staring at me with obvious pain in his chocolate brown eyes. It broke my heart. Hell, it broke my soul. I started bawling in the doctor’s clinic. I didn’t know what to do. She kept an assuring hand on my shoulder and told me that there were ways to get him to feel better, the physiotherapy was one of them. She also prescribed some medication and told me to go home and rest. So I took him back home, and from that point on, began our trial. the following video is of Happy on the 7th of August, the day after he fell. (sorry for the crappy video quality, it’s kinda all i had. )
Every morning, I would scoop him up and take him downstairs for a walk ( well, my walk actually, considering that only one of us could do that at present) Thankfully, he could still poop and pee at his will. So in order for him to do those things, I would have to firmly grasp both his limp hind limbs with my hands. I’m not gonna lie to you, it was pretty gross. My hands were stationed mere centimeters from his ass, and there were times when his poop partly fell on my hands( dog poop, by the way, smells awful.)
I can’t even begin to tell you how courageous my dog is, internet. He took each day so, so very bravely; and his eyes never lost their brightness. He was still my furball of sunshine…the injury had only impacted his legs, and not his spirit. Those were dark, really dark days. He underwent physiotherapy thrice a week, and the doctor marveled at the strength of his spirit, and how tactfully he handled this predicament. I marveled too. I was depressed all through those 6 months. Seeing someone you deeply love and care about lying there is really painful and unsettling, especially when there’s nothing you can personally do about it. My heart broke into tiny pieces everytime I returned back from college, and he dragged his lower half of the body forward, his tail which wagged so furiously upon seeing me presently limp as a log, yet his eyes ever so full of happiness, love and life upon seeing me come back home.
I think that it would be useful to add here that my mother is a music therapist. She regularly worked with patients with autism, Parkinson’s, and a host of other maladies, but full-fledged paralysis, that too on a dog? Could music be able to help tackle something of such gravity? We wondered. Turns out, that it does. 🙂 Happy underwent physiotherapy and music therapy regularly, coupled with his dosage of medicines.
Days lapsed into weeks, which subsequently melted into months. Happy started showing signs of improvement. I think it was his sheer strength of spirit and determination to get back on all of his four feet that helped more than any kind of medication. Determination, as I learned after observing Happy during those months, worked wonders. You’re only about as paralyzed as your mind.
To be able to conquer a disability and emerge out of it more strengthened than before, requires a special kind of character. And I can’t tell you how fortunate I am to have been able to witness this magical phenomenon posed as a life lesson in guise of a painful experience. Magic exists, folks. I have seen it. I have seen it in my dog. I have seen it every time he laboured to stand and everytime he ended up falling, only to attempt standing up again. Happy taught me a lot of thing thus far in life, but the biggest and the most important lesson he ever taught me was to have faith in myself, and to believe that I can do anything, anything, if I worked for it and wanted it enough. A lot of you have had humans teach you life lessons, in my case, I had my dog. 🙂 To me, he is a billion human beings put together. Today, he can walk normally. He can run. We go for our routine walks just like we did before he fell. Yes, he can’t break into those mad sprints the way he did when he was uninjured. But as someone really wise once stated, We can’t have everything in life, can we? Life leaves us all a bit broken as we progress through this monstrousness that is time and space. And presence of some small part of that brokeness even after we’re whole again is the proof of our trials and the perils we’ve been through. More than anything, they’re parting souvenirs of those dark phases we’ve lived through, which by the way we should happily accept and keep. Today, I can tell you without so much as batting an eyelid that my dog is #madeofgreat. He really, truly, is. Because how many dogs do you see running after a frisbee, especially after having come out of a severe case of paralysis?
Tata motor’s #madeofgreat campaign is what inspired me to come forward and share the story of my dog’s extraordinary journey with the world. Here’s the link to their super awesomesauce website! Click here!