Today’s story is about the jolly fellas Gem and Joel from Singapore. They are my dear friend Jeeta’s fur-kids. When Jeeta moved from India to Singapore, Gem travelled with her. It was not easy, but the family did whatever they could to make the transition as smooth as possible for Gem. You do not leave family behind, after all?
Wondering why this is even a question? When you DO NOT leave family behind should be an assertive statement. I probably need to explain. Over the past few months, I have heard several stories of adoption – as people stayed at home and felt ready to welcome a pet – and many heart-breaking abandonment incidents too. In the UAE, particularly, animal rescue shelters are running in overcapacity as pets are being abandoned regularly. Adoption initiatives are, thus, always a welcome relief. At the same time, I often wonder if every family adopting a dog is aware of the associated responsibilities. It reminds me of a line from Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat Pray Love’ – “Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it’s what you want before you commit.” Adopting a dog is not much different!
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Gem’s humans were willing to make and stand by their commitment. A few months before moving to Singapore, they had already started preparing Gem to adapt to a new environment and rules. Starting with gradual transition from home-cooked to dry food to responsibly crate training Gem all over again, they did everything to make him ready for a month-long quarantine in Singapore. Being separated from his humans for the first time, Gem was initially anxious, but soon fell into a routine at the quarantine facility. During the 30-day isolation period, his humans visited Gem every day and soon the family was reunited.
Just as he was starting to feel settled in the new country, Gem was joined by a new pack member, Joel. Once again, he felt slightly out of sorts. Divided attention and love were not acceptable to him, after being the family’s only kid for five years. “Every evening when I placed Joel inside his crate to train him to sleep properly, Gem could not stop wagging his tail out of happiness. It was Gem’s ‘time’ with me,” Jeeta said.
Even the best of dogs can suffer from sibling rivalry 😉 We are also told that apparently Gem is highly fascinated by Joel’s bed and attempts to hijack it every night, most often successfully.
Jokes apart, Gem has an incredible temperament. “He has a giving nature. He lets Joel eat first and sometimes even go for walks before him. He has accepted Joel as his pack. They are quite different in their nature. While Gem is thoroughly city-bred used to comforts and can be lazy, Joel is energetic, excitable and more of a country dog. I cannot imagine my life and home without them. This year I have not had to travel for business, which has helped me to spend a lot of time with Gem and Joel and for that, I am so thankful.”
Gem turned eight this November and Joel is three years old. They have a message for us – “Do not abandon your pack, even when the ride gets tough. Together we are always stronger.”
Christmas happens to be that time of the year when dogs are adopted as gifts for loved ones. It is a great idea but do remember a dog is NOT a toy for children and neither a fuzzy go-to creature for adults. A dog is a living being that needs attention, love, care and commitment. Be prepared to make this commitment before adopting a dog. To those who are wondering, what will we get in return? A lifetime of happiness 🙂