How your pets help improve your Life.

How your pets help improve your Life.

I came across this little piece of information that this is the Animal-Human Relationship Awareness Week. It was a revelation for me, indeed, that people celebrated an entire week in honour of the relationship we humans share with animals, and hence decided to do this post.

We humans have had animals not only as pets, but also as security guards and hunters since years. However, it is as pets that our animal friends have made us realise their importance in our lives. I have had pets since childhood. My very first pet was a rabbit that I picked up from a play ground. It actually belonged to a friend, who was in the process of disposing of the poor creature.

So, it was as a little girl that I learned to be responsible for another life. And, it has been this magical bond that I have had with all my pets that has taught me a precious lot about Life.

Sharing with you all today…

5 ways in which your pets improve your life:

Pets help you de-stress:

You return from work bone-tired, and as you open the door, this bundle of fur comes dashing across the room with happiness writ large on its face. How do you feel?

I would feel on top of the world! Here was someone who cared about me–really cared about me–and was delighted to meet me at the end of the day. How special it felt! Still does, when I return home and Cookie comes flying towards me and perches on my shoulder, chirping excitedly, as if asking me where I had been!

All the day’s fatigue vanishes in no time and you feel refreshed. You share your day’s troubles with this little creature who does not understand head or tail of what you speak, but at the end of this talk, you feel relieved. Having unburdened yourself thus, you now look forward to spending the evening peacefully, with a happy tail wagging by your side, or twirling around your legs as you prepare supper.

Pets teach you the meaning of true love:

My pet showers me with unconditional love!”

How many times you may have read/heard this line and wondered what’s the fuss all about, isn’t it? But, really, ask a pet owner and you will know what we mean. It was only after experiencing it with Chikoo that I learnt the true meaning of unconditional love. You may be sick/tired/angry/harried/irritated and as a result venting all your frustration on your pet, and all you will get in return is slobbery kisses and eyes dripping with love.

Your pet will never, ever, abandon you, especially when it sees you in this miserable condition. They stay by your side, offering you their quiet company, their shoulder to cry on. They do their best to heal your broken heart and give you the reassurance that, come what may, they will be by your side, always.

*Sniff sniff*

Pets help you socialise:

Being a shy person, communicating with people has always been an Achilles Heel. I would much rather keep my thoughts to myself than share them with others. But, with pets, you learn to open up and come out of your shell, mingle freely.

Taking them out for walks brings you in the company of people and you learn to loosen your tongue. I would always find ways to get out of a situation where I had to speak with strangers. I still do, but now, at least I am prepared to speak if the situation arises. All thanks to my pets, I am, at times, eager to socialise!


Pets help you stay fit and healthy:

If you have a dog, it is an accepted fact that if you don’t take him out for a walk, he will bring the house down. If you have pet rabbits, you may not have to take them out for a walk, but you will definitely be down on all fours coaxing them out from under the bed, or running around the house looking for them when they decide to play hide-and-seek.

And, if you have pet parrots, and you decide to let them out of their cages, you spend your time bending down to clean up their droppings or coaxing them to come out of their weird hiding places or keeping an eye on what they put into their mouths!

So, with all of these activities, you are definitely going to stay on your feet, away from the couch, working out and staying physically fit and mentally calm.

Well, it does take a lot of patience getting animals and birds to do your bidding, so, of course it teaches you how to stay calm in every situation!

And, finally,


Pets help fight loneliness:

With all the unconditional love they shower on us, it comes as no surprise that pets make for the best companions–better than humans! Your partner, children, friends will all be with you, but only for some time. But, your pets will be with you as long as they live. They place you ahead of themselves; you are their world, so in your moments of loneliness, they will be by your side, licking away those wounds that are seldom visible to others’ eyes.

I remember Chikoo would limp towards me, place his paw on my thigh and assure me that he would be with me, always. Those moments of utter loneliness saw me wade through only because of his presence. And, now, Cookie carries forward the tradition.

It helps having a pet by your side. They distract your attention from stuff that’s harmful to you–your stress, for example. The attention they seek from you helps you forget about your worries and focus on them.  Refreshed, when you get back to the issue that caused you the worry, you realise how futile the exercise was! Don’t you agree?

Do you have a pet? How has it changed your Life? Do share with me; I am a sucker for pet stories!



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Pets are good for our health and our life!



Of beaks that kiss.

Of beaks that kiss.

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Never in my life did I imagine getting friendly with animals. Like, having a pet dog, falling in love with him, crying over his death and then having a bird for a pet and then falling in love with it, too and then having that bird become possessive about me. Never. In fact, apart from the few sparrows that came to visit me in my balcony, I hardly even gave any credit to birds. I didn’t even know they could think. Dogs are smart. We all know that. But, birds? We hardly even consider birds to have any brains, at all!

Cookie, my parakeet, has been with us for a year and four months, to be precise. And, my two pet mountain parrots have been with us about six months. Cookie, having lived with us for longer, has bonded with me very well and we get along famously. So much so, that–and I don’t exaggerate–she has grown very possessive about me. Possessive and demanding of my attention.

Now, how could a bird become possessive, one might wonder. Let me give you an example. If you were to come to my place for a chat, Cookie would screech like crazy, hardly allowing us to talk. She wouldn’t enter her cage willingly, but would instead, fly over onto your head to try to attack you. In short, she would use every trick in her book to drive you away so that she could have me all to herself.

She doesn’t appreciate even Bholu or Chikki getting any attention from me. A couple days ago, as I sat on the floor watching TV, the two parrots were loitering around on the sofa behind me. Cookie was happily perched on my right shoulder. After a while, Chikki came over and climbed onto my left shoulder.

Cookie got off, walked over to Chikki and pecked at her until she got off my shoulder. No sooner did Chikki climb off, Cookie took over the now empty spot as I looked at her, stunned. She is a real bully, that girl, Cookie!

I was surprised beyond belief! Could a bird get that possessive about a human that she wouldn’t allow anybody to get close to them? I was astonished and thrilled. At least someone was possessive about me! How I wish I had video-taped it all to share with you.

Cookie doesn’t even approve of my kissing the other two birds. If the three are seated atop their cage and I try to talk to them, Cookie places herself between me and the two parrots and insists I kiss her. Each time I move from her towards one of the other birdies, she moves over and stands in front of my face, and gives me a look that asks, “Do I need to tell you, that you are supposed to kiss ME and me alone?”

Cookie loves to kiss, loves it when I shower her with kisses, especially on her tummy as she lies on her back, and loves to push her bum to my face and get kissed there, as well! She is an absolute darling. Oh, and she also loves snuggling under the bed covers! Yeah, it does feel strange reading all of this about a bird, but that’s how she is, and that’s how is our bond!

That tiny creature who measures no more than my palm, has a sharp brain which she uses very well to divert my attention from Bholu and Chikki. Or, even to remind me that I am supposed to share my food with her before I eat it, myself.

Bholu and Chikki have also begun to bond with me. Chikki only needs to see me sitting and she rushes up to me, climbs up my leg, onto my lap and from there, climbs up to my shoulder to play with my hair clip, or eat food from my plate. Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, it’s a battle the three fight, for my attention as well as for the food on my plate.

I have stopped using the term “birdbrained”, ever since these three kiddos began showing their antics, displaying their intelligence and quick-wittedness.

There is so much to write about these three monkeys I have at home, I could fill in an entire book, and some more.

Sharing here some of their pictures, today. I will try and shoot a video, too. I specially wish to shoot a video of Cookie sitting on my shoulder, humming along as I sing a song. She is the only one who loves my voice–my singing voice, to be specific! So, wait and watch!





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Life with our pets is one full of unconditional love and happiness.

Pets and us.

Pets and us.

My pet dog, Chikoo, entered our world when we were not even thinking about getting home a pet. Well, that’s Life, isn’t it? It’s what happens when we are busy planning Life!

So, in walked Chikoo, muddy paws and wagging tail, announcing his arrival by peeing on the doormat and making a permanent home in our hearts.

Pet story.

Pets, I believe, come into the lives of those they choose. Chikoo chose us to fill the vacuum in our world and to teach us all about parenting–caring for a tiny being and putting others before us.

However, forgive me for saying this, but I believe not all are worth being pet parents. I know, this statement comes across rather harsh, but what else does one think of when one finds pets abandoned in their old age, or in their sickness?

There are countless such incidents we read or hear about, where a pet dog, or cat has been shown the door just because they grew older and became too much to handle. A responsibility to be shirked instead of fulfilled.

People bring home pedigreed pups and kittens to fulfil their children’s demands, but as the pets grow and their needs change, they become a “burden” people wish to get rid of as soon as they can! If caring for an animal is going to be such a ‘task’, then why bring home a pet, at all? Get a stuffed toy if your child demands a cuddly animal!

Giving them the necessary attention becomes too much of a hassle and people rarely pause to think things over before abandoning the poor creatures by the road side, to fend for themselves in a harsh world that’s so cruel towards animals.

There are also people who believe in maiming animals to suit their idea of how they should be!

Confused? Read on…

Once, on visiting a neighbourhood pet shop, I noticed a Doberman pup who looked listless and distressed. I wondered why I saw the sorrow in his eyes when I looked up to see his ears. The shop owner had coiled its ears and tied them up tightly with a string to make them pointy – the kind we generally find on a Doberman Pinscher.

I was shocked! I asked the shop owner why he had done so, to which he replied that that was how the dog’s future owners wanted it! It was, indeed, a revelation to me! The sadness and the pain in the pup’s eyes tore at my heart, but I felt helpless.

Would anybody do that to their own children? I feel, the way people treat their pets, speaks a lot about the people, themselves. And, the way they treat others.

This chopping off of the tail, tying the ears to make them stand tall and pointy – all of it infuriates me no end. I mean, what sort of cruel heart must beat within such people!

They do give custom made a whole new meaning, don’t they?

I have heard horrid tales of how people disown their pets when the animals are most in need of their love.

A family abandoned (read, discarded) their pet Doberman when she was pregnant–they actually flung her over the walls of a shelter for animals. When the workers heard a ‘thud’, they rushed to find the poor soul writhing in pain on the ground. Another tied up their old German Shepherd to a lamp post, leaving the animal in the heavy rains that lashed the city a couple years ago.

Oh god, each time I come across such news, I wince in pain. I wonder how their hands don’t shiver while in the act. It’s a living, breathing creature, for heaven’s sake! Don’t they have the thing called, ‘conscience’? Do they not pay heed to that inner voice which may berate them for the sin they commit?

I believe pets should be pampered and cared for like ones own babies, for the kind of unconditional love they shower on us finds no comparisons. We never get that kind of love, or loyalty, even from our closest family members. But, our pets live for us from the moment they enter our world to the moment they leave.

The day my Chikoo breathed his last, his eyes had only love for us. And concern. He passed away last year, but his memories bring tears to my eyes even today. I haven’t been able to get over his loss.

Even as I type these words, I have tears in my eyes. Finding the right keys on the keyboard seems difficult. But, that’s the kind of effect our pets have on us!

Whether we love them, or ill-treat them, the love they shower on us is the kind we, frankly, do not deserve!

And, for all that they do for us, isn’t it our responsibility to love them and to cherish them, in sickness and in health, in richer or poorer, till death do us part?

P. S.

I did not need to add a question mark in the image below. Those three fur babies are doing it for me!

Treat your pets like your babies

My heart will go on…

My heart will go on…

Every night in my dreams, I see you, I feel you,

That is how I know you go on…

Far across the distance and spaces between us,

You have come to show you go on…

Near, far, wherever you are, I believe that the heart does go on….”

Chikoo Gupte

As I hum these lines along with Celine Dion, my eyes fall on Chikoo’s picture that hangs on the wall in front of me, and I am overcome with emotions. Every single time I hear this song, the only person who comes to my mind is Chikoo – my pet dog.

It will soon be a year since he passed away. April 20th is a date I will never forget. Well, how could I?  That is the day I lost a piece of my heart!

Unlike in the song, I don’t dream of Chikoo every night. He has visited me in my dreams just twice in the past year. But, I have no complaints now, for he is here with me in the form of my parrot Cookie. She resembles him in manner and character so much, it’s mind-boggling! I feel his presence so strongly sometimes, I actually look around to see if I can spot his spirit floating around me!

It may seem rather strange for one who hasn’t ever had a pet, but for me, my pet dog was a very important part of my life  for as long as  he was with me. 13 years is quite a long period, isn’t it, for a soul to have an effect on the people around?

We all look for our dear departed  in Life around us in the hope of spotting the angels who live on in our midst even from the beyond. Life often gives us glimpses into the paranormal  through incidents that cannot be explained, but which instil a belief in life that exists after death.

How we hold on tight to that glimmer of hope that our loved ones who may have crossed over  are very much with us, protecting us, showering us with their love even from the other side!

Pet love
Cookie Gupte

That’s just how I feel when I look at Cookie. When she peers at me with a look of alarm in her eyes  if I were to cough, or cry. The concern in her eyes reminds me of Chikoo, whose big, brown eyes looked into mine to read the emotions in them.

It’s the eyes I peer into to look for the one who is no more with me, but whose presence I feel strongly. Oh, and also some characteristics that were so intrinsic to Chikoo, it astonishes me each time I spot them!

Each time I reach out to pet Cookie, she flips  over on her side and lifts up her leg, waiting for me to tickle her tummy.

Each time I reached out to pet Chikoo, he would flip over on his side, lift up his  leg and wait for me to tickle his tummy.

In the many pet videos I have seen till date, not a single one has had a parrot doing that!

Each time the doorbell rings, Cookie, who may be perched inside her cage, begins eating her food in a hurry. Maybe Dad’s at the door, she must wonder.

Each time the doorbell rang, Chikoo, who would be sprawled on the floor next to his untouched food bowl, would pull the bowl towards himself and begin eating, hurriedly. Maybe dad’s returned from work, he wondered.

Each time I see Cookie imitate Chikoo, I look around…and feel his presence. And, I send a prayer of gratitude out into the Universe. It answered my prayers.


I would often say to Chikoo, “How I wish you were smaller in size. I would have carried you like a baby all day long.” 

So, Chikoo fulfilled my  wish and returned in a smaller size!

Now, I carry him like a baby all day long!


“What we have once enjoyed, we can never lose; all that we have loved deeply, becomes a part of us!”


This quote by Helen Keller rings true, isn’t it?











When love chirps in your ears!

When love chirps in your ears!

It’s six in the morning as I wake up.  Leaving the bedroom, I move out to the drawing room. Pushing the curtains of the windows aside,  I look out.  There is a faint light creeping into the dark sky  announcing the arrival of the dawn; a hint of orange that will soon take over the inky blue sky of the night gone by.

The sparrows seem to be waking up, too. A chirp here, a peep there. Moving towards the kitchen, I bring out the jar that holds their feed. Laying it out for them and breathing in the cool air of the new day, I stand in my balcony for a while, taking in the view that unfolds  before my eyes.

Suddenly, I realise the chirps that will now echo within the four walls of my house, too. I go back into my bedroom, and push aside the towel draped on the birdcage. A lazy wing stretches and a neck slowly turns up; sleepy eyes peep at me from behind the wires of the cage.

Picking up the cage, I go back out, into my drawing room and placing it on a low stool, I open the door of the cage. A lazy, but wide awake Cookie steps out of her cage and perches herself on top of it. I prefer calling it her nest; cage  gives the structure a very negative connotation. And, we prefer her outside this nest of hers, than inside.

As I begin my day, Cookie calls out to me and expresses her desire to climb onto my shoulder. That part of my body has now become her second home. She sits there as I do the dishes, make my bed, put the clothes to dry, or fold the laundry. She is there when I read the newspaper, or type my post;  have my lunch; watch TV, or listen to the music.

If I were to not leave her on her nest, she would  spend the entire day perched on me. It is now her dining table, her bed, and also her bathroom! Although, now, after so many days with her, I can sense her urge to go potty, pretty well, so I save my tee from getting splattered with her colourful poop by just bending over a sink.

The general perception about birds is that because they have pea-sized brains, they may be stupid. But, now that I have a bird in my life, I have learnt they are far more intelligent than we give them credit for. Of course, crows and owls have always been considered intelligent. But, parrots are clever, too.

Cookie now knows how I will  allow her onto my shoulder when I sit down to eat. She knows my coffee mug, from which she loves to take a sip of my chilled coffee. She knows now, that every time the intercom buzzes, she is supposed to go back inside her nest, because a stranger will be at the door.

She understands when I request her to go sit inside her nest when I need to leave for my evening walk, or go cook in  the kitchen. We have had quite a few accidents in the past couple of months and now I don’t take the risk of allowing her out of her nest when I am not around.

She once flew out in the balcony because the sudden noise of the mixer going vroom frightened her. Thankfully, I switched off the mixer just in time to hear her distant cry and rushed out to see her clinging onto the the bird’s net in the balcony. I gently scooped her off the net and brought her back in, safely. I would have lost her forever that day!

She also has the habit of flying around the house looking for me, if I happen to be in another room, or in the bathroom. Once, she desperately wanted to be with me. I was in the kitchen, preparing tea for hubby, when she flew off her nest, into the kitchen, but landed outside, in the kitchen window, where resides a pigeon family.

I had to get down into the window (which is not the usual kind with a box grill). It has some space meant for plants etc, where pigeons mostly find places to roost. Scooping her up  into my palms, I passed her over to hubby who stood in the kitchen to collect her and put her back into her nest.

We have now gotten used to keeping the fans off and the windows closed when Cookie is out of her nest, or perched on my shoulder.

Do you know what she loves most? Getting kissed all over! We kiss a lot – Cookie and I. At times, when she pecks at me, or bites me real bad, I admonish her. Her instant reaction is to turn around, lift her wing to get kissed underneath it, and then snuggle close to my ear, and thrust  her bum towards me to get it kissed, too! That’s her way to butter me up, I guess!

She loves getting kissed on her neck, her tummy, and her bum! I find it highly amusing, but also love smothering her with kisses. I am her only companion –   it’s all I can do for her. She also loves joining me during my Yoga sessions. When I lie down on the mat to do the exercises, she lies down beside me, on her back and kicks the air with her tiny legs!

She is a funny little girl, my Cookie!

I taught her to say, “Shilpa”. It didn’t take her long to learn to say, “Shippa”. I am sure she isn’t aware it’s my name, but she sure goes on a “Shippa” spree when she is sleepy and tucked into my armpit during her sleeping time. That’s her second favourite place for sleeping.

Cookie has brought a lot of laughter in my life, after Chikoo left. I still remember how I would compare her to my Chikoo, saying she was such a dumb bird while my Chikoo had been such an intelligent, loving soul. I take back my words now.

Cookie is a darling – just like Chikoo. She is my stress-buster. All I need to do, is let her up onto my shoulders, or scoop her up in my palms and kiss her like crazy and I forget my worries. And, to think of it, I hadn’t even wanted her in the first place! I was rather cross with hubby for bringing home a bird without even informing me!

The tiny soul not just gives me kisses and warmth, but also someone to lean on when my hormones create chaos in within me, and drive me insane.

People come into our lives when we are least expecting them. They become an important part of our life and bring happiness and a sense of peace, a balance that was so missing before they arrived.

Cookie is that person for me.

Who is it for you?

Do you own pets? Would you like to share a pet story with me? Do share it in the comments below. I would love to hear one. I am always open to hearing pet stories.