Nanouh, Tasha, Natzi, Tynee and Hiccup (the last of whom just happened to lick me as I write this) are all my favourite albeit first of my non-human, but most humane, friends. I started an internship at Studio ABCD on December 5th and during my interview, the director of this organisation, showed me a picture of his dogs. (After I bagged the job, yes!)  At the time, I asked him, “Will these dogs bite?” and he replied nonchalantly “How many humans kill?”. “That’s reassuring. Thanks a lot!” I thought to myself (sarcastically, of course). I was sure that I was in for a real rollercoaster ride. From a very young age, I was frightened of dogs. With their deep growls, loud howls and menacing teeth, what’s not to be afraid of? So, when I turned up at the office to meet 4 VERY excited dogs, I thought I would faint of fright. They were all at the door, staring up, eager to meet me. They did a little jumping and a little barking but, as I entered the office, I found myself being surprisingly comfortable around them.

Tynee was the youngest, an Indian pup who was only 6 months old. He had these beautiful, golden-brown eyes that were transfixed on me as I walked to my chair. Nanouh, an absolutely gorgeous dog with brown-black fur, was a little shy and would come centimetres from me only to smell me and run away. Natzi, a labrador, was the calmest of them all as she wagged her tail at me, delighted at the prospect of a new friend. She was the one who made me feel like nothing could go wrong. And Tasha, the oldest, was the most graceful dog I had ever laid eyes on. She would sit like a true princess in her bean bag and was way too dignified to let me pet her on the first day. I’d have to earn my trust around her! Hiccup came a few days later to take Tynee’s spot as the youngest. He was like a small, happy dragon. Always excited, energetic and eager to lick me. 15 days into the internship and I can’t imagine the studio without these five lovelies.

But, sometimes, I wonder. Why did it take me close to ten years to get over my fear of dogs and where did this fear even come from? I suppose it has something to do with a childhood experience where I was chased by a couple of street dogs. But, I think it goes beyond that. It’s to do with the way society treats dogs and animals in general. People portray them to be ferocious creatures with a sole purpose to harm humans. And hence, they say, “it’s okay to hit them and treat them horribly cause it’s only self-defense!”. But, that’s not the truth. They are just as important and special as the rest of us and they need just as much love and care as the rest of us. Many people, even today, harm these wonderful beings, just for fun. It brings them a joy to see them hurt, to hear their pained yelps. They fail to look at them with the humanity and compassion that they so clearly lack and the dogs so ironically display. They fail to understand that these dogs, too, feel pain and seek love. I have finally understood this and accepted the fact that dogs have their own way of communicating and are each, unique with personalities and temperaments of their own. It’s hard to know anyone who has Tasha’ grace, Nanouh’s compassion, Natzi’s warmth, Tynee’s mischief and Hiccup’s excitement. And, such is the beauty of these creatures. They’re so full of character and so wonderful to get to know that it beats me why anybody would look at them otherwise. I’m glad to have had this experience where I ended up making some new friends who I deeply care for and trust. Something about them just makes my day better and every morning, they’re all there to say (or bark, rather) good-morning to me and I wouldn’t want it any other way.