Parallel universe

Sage came to us in the usual way.

4 year old Sahana said ‘Mom, may I please have a dog?’

Mom said, ‘Not right now!’

4 year old Sahana said, ‘When can I have a dog?’

Mom said, ‘When you are older and can take care of it?’

4 year old Sahana said, ‘When I am 10?’

Mom (to end the conversation) ‘Sure!’ Thinking the little girl won’t be 10 for a long, long time.

Well, she turned 10 in the blink of an eye.

What can I say about Sage? Take a look for yourself, but do hold on to your heart. The cuteness overload in these pictures have wreaked havoc in mine.

Sage at 8 weeks.
Sage at 8 weeks.

One pup sleeping, two others faking.

What did I do?

Peek a boo

Just a boy and his dog.

Dental care.


Sage is the most wonderful, most Sagely, kindest, gentlest, smartest dog that ever graced the face of the earth. What, you think I am biased? Well….! He is the gentle salve for Sahana’s teenage angst ridden, troubled soul, he was the non judgemental listener to Ryan’s halted reading when he started to read, he is my silent companion and the soft presence just under my feet when I settle on the couch with a book, and he is Sean’s shadow and a supervisor to all his chores. Nothing comes into our house without a quiet inspection of a reddish brown nose and a long snout.

He has faults too. He considers himself an honorary lap dog and wants to get his 94 pound body on to guests’ lap to show them his affection. He also feels it is a privilege for humans to scratch a particular spot on his back, right where his tail begins and in letting them do so he is doing them a favor. When they stop, he uses his wet nose and long snout to give a gentle nudge to remind them of their sacred duty.

But this blog is not about my dog, Sage (did I say, he is wonderful?)! This blog is about the parallel universe that we discovered because of Sage. The universe of dog lovers.

We learned the protocol of never exchanging greetings with a dog’s human before greeting the dog. That is a big no-no. We scratch the dog, pet him/her, shower him with attention, focus all our energy on our dogs playing, try desperately to untangle the leash which, inevitably gets entangled while the doggies wag, and jump, and play bow and play. We smile at them, comment how cute they are together, we exchange information about our dogs – their name, age, chewing habits, vet care. All this conversation happens, primarily without eye contact and without formal introduction. We don’t need those. Introductions in these cases are redundant. We just pick up and go with it. When our dogs lose interest, we do too. We mumble a ‘Have a good day’ and move on…till we see the next pup on our walk.

Dog lovers universe is very black and white, there are no 50 shades of grey in between. You are in if you completely, utterly and unconditionally love dogs. You are out if you don’t completely give yourself up to canine love. You don’t have to own a dog to belong, you just have to feel the love for dogs (and animals in general). We are pretty inclusive that way. We applaud the works of those tireless humans who dedicate their time and energy to save, foster, care for and adopt dogs and try to give them their forever home. We encourage our children to volunteer at animal shelters in the summer. We inform our fellow citizens of this parallel universe that their dog has gone to the bathroom and whether they need plastic bags to pick up the poop. We discuss the nitty gritties of doggie behavior for hours and think nothing unusual about it. We feel most comfortable in dog parks and automatically bend our knees without thinking when big dogs come bounding at us. We, as I said, earlier, bond quickly, deplore puppy mills and we stand united in our condemnation against those who do unspeakable things to man’s best friend.

We understand the joys of watching a puppy tumble, a young dog run leash free, a senior snooze in the sun. We feel the warmth of the wet nose just by hearing a description, we love each others’ pups and firmly believe puppy kisses are good for the soul. We read SPCA newsletters cover to cover and get overjoyed at every successful adoption story. We wish the dog and his/her human well. We watch back to back episodes of Dog 101 and look forward to more. We baby talk to the pictures of our friends’ dogs that they post on Facebook and engage in lengthy conversation with perfect strangers on social media about dogs.

And only we understand the full depth of sorrow of fellow members of our universe when they lose a canine child. No words of consolation suffice, so we just sit by their side and hold their hands and feel their grief.

15 thoughts on “Parallel universe

  1. Not sure if I belong to the ‘black & white universe’ but I sure loved the note. And yes, nothing matches the pain of losing a ‘canine child’ and you can never forget.


  2. These photos are precious not least because of two little human persons I see so obviously in love and so lavishly loving this sweetness overload of a dog named Sage. (A wonderful name by the way) Sage as in herb or as in wise guru? My son has been asking for a dog but I’m telling him the same thing – only when you’re 10! The Lab is one of the best dogs we’ve seen. And I can imagine just what a little saviour he is – a salve on those days. I love dogs. Grew up with dogs from my earliest childhood. At one time we had a whole menagerie of strays in our compound which had turned into a temporary shelter (much to my mother’s dismay). I’m also born in the year of the Dog. Oh maybe we should get a dog soon! Hugs for this happy blog. Give Sage a big squeeze!! Sharon


    1. Sage, as in a wise man/dog. Yes, every child should grow up with a dog, I feel. Like you, Sharon, I grew up with stray dogs and 17 stray cats. And yes, much to my mother’s dismay. Although, I must say, she was quite indulgent in giving in to my love for animals. And guess what? I was born in the year of dog also 🙂 !


  3. How handsome is Sagey! Tell him I’d love to sit next to him and scratch him where his tail begins 🙂

    You’re right, it’s terrible to lose a canine child. I miss the exuberant welcome mine gave me every time I returned home, even if I’d gone for five minutes. I even miss her play bites when she felt overly affectionate.

    Such lovely, happy pictures, Piyali. Loved this 🙂


  4. Wonderful writing…my heart goes for it. As a kid we always had a dog at home. My last dog suffered a lot before dying (four month bed ridden – paralyses in both his legs); I resist getting a dog at home. My son Krishanu, who is 12 now, has been trying to convince us to get one in the house. Alternatively, he has adopted street dogs who stay around the gate of our house and come in for food and pampering. Instead of having one in the house we have four there. He loves to learn about Sage on your Facebook and has lot of admiration.


  5. Throughout my life animals have adopted me and given me the kind of love and nurturing that my parents could not afford to in their emotional frugality. If it wasn’t for my beautiful dogs Lucy and Alfie I wouldn’t have survived my darkest days. If it wasn;t for my little monkey Pippin I wouldn’t be alive to write this comment today. Reading about Sage on a particularly difficult day yesterday filled me with so much love and so much hope. There are those who do love unconditionally and forever and will never ever seek to hurt you in any way. It is a privilege to be loved by an angel – and that is what little Sage is – your guardian angel. Long may he reign at your side, and long may you enjoy his loving grace.


  6. lovely, lovely ode to Sage! yes, dog (and animal) lovers everywhere know exactly whereof you are speaking! A big hug to Sage.


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