Pet Diaries : When Pets Become Man’s Best Friend

Sudakshna Thampi talks about the special bond she shares with Choco!

Raising a pet today, means a lot more than just owning a fancy animal or keeping a canine to replace security guards. Pets are family, they are our companion, if we love them, spend quality time with them, they become our best friend! Ritz catches up with pet lovers across Kochi city who share their stories about the special bond they share with their pets!

Text: Riya Sonny Datson

Photography: Binu Avarachan

Sudakshna Thampi, Yoga Coach

Pet: Choco – A Chocolate Labrador

What was the trigger to choose Choco?

I happened to see a photo of this puppy busy chewing his brother’s ear and I wanted to meet him, just on a whim. The minute I reached my friend’s place, the puppy detached himself from his family and headed straight for me as if he knew I’d come for him. So I picked him up and played with him a bit and then put him down to pick up another puppy to cuddle. And this tiny chocolate fellow turned around and gave a single tiniest indignant bark. I’m sure it was the first bark of his life, all of 21 days!  He then forced his way between us (me and the other puppy) and settled down on my lap. He was the runt of the litter, thin and scrawny…but he had a lot of spirit and energy- Not a moment did he want to sit still. But what really got me was his intelligence, personality and resourcefulness and how he was ready to explore. When I left, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. All the time I was there, he was right beside me – unlike any of the other puppies. So I concluded that this was love, and this was meant to be. He’s the dog I’ve always wanted. The dog that I’ve dreamt of ever since I was a child.

How has Choco changed your life?

Having him in my life, opened up a deep part of me – a portal to a deeper connect with things around me, a greater sense of awareness and mindfulness – which was key to my actively involving myself in animal welfare and also turning vegan. I started wondering, about how the freedom of another living being is completely in my hands. I feel Choco is extremely intuitive, intelligent, sensitive and loving. It might be a Labrador trait as they are used as sniffer dogs and therapy dogs, but whether it is a bad dream, a difficult day or an unpleasant emotion – there’s something about him that drives it all away and it seems like everything is right in the world. Often the best moments of my day are when he silently expresses his love with a full body cuddle or that special way he puts his head on me. Choco also loves to travel and go places.  So I take him with me whenever I can. We go to the beach, visit friends and go on short holidays together.

One annoying yet lovable habit of your pet?

He falls asleep on me when I am doing Yin Yoga!

A fun routine you enjoy with your pet?

Our early morning walks that are non-negotiable! We have a group of friends who join us, so it’s a fun time. I let him off the leash sometimes as he is very obedient and loves to explore. It is my ‘Me’ time with him!

What is the best advice you would give to people who want to keep pets?

If you don’t plan to treat your pet as family, please don’t get a pet. Especially dogs, they are individuals, who are loving, intelligent and sensitive. It is almost as if we are raising a child, it involves a lot of commitment and responsibility. So if you are not upto it, please don’t get one. It is really unfair to lock them up and leave them outdoor in the night. To them, you are their whole life. They have so much life in them, they have feelings just like us, they love, they have social relations and they are intelligent.