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Tuesday, January 28, 2014, 8:27PM by Amber

The Ritual

Point your ears towards the slightest sound of a ruffling jacket – Leave your toy and watch intently if daddy is going to put his shoe on – stand next to daddy, checkout his shoes and socks and ask for a rub on the back and neck – if daddy is giving a goodbye hug to mommy, demand a hug for myself too – trail daddy till the main door – watch daddy go out of the door with such deep eyes that daddy could easily see how much you anticipate his return.

This happens every morning, without fail, when I start getting ready for work. Sounds like a ritual. Right? Yes, this is the daily ritual of my dog Bud when I am ready to leave for work every morning. And it always amazes me how he has associated the jacket, the shoes and the hug with my departure for work. There are so many things that amaze me about Bud but today I am going to concentrate on the ritual aspect of our relationship.

Over my period of co-existence with Bud, although short nevertheless growing joyfully, I have come to realize that the ritual not only has meaning for Bud but also for me. Surprisingly, I feel something is missing if Bud deviates from this morning behavior of his. And interestingly, this little ritual or routine if you may say inherently tells me that everything is alright and Bud is safe and sound. By the way, off-late it has become one of my top priorities.

There are many other rituals that we are bonded together with, although small and sometimes subtle but these are the rituals that help me communicate certain things to Bud. Such as, if I do all the things described in the 1st paragraph and also pick up the poop bags, then Bud understands it as “Buddy, it's time to go out. Playtime!” And, I was quite surprised when I realized that Bud too uses this tool to communicate with me. For example, if you offer him his favorite treat, he has a particular dance in which he bends half on his fore and hind legs, wags his tail furiously and jumps around this treat.  He does a similar dance when he gets a new toy to play and he has similar reactions to little pleasures of life. I have understood that he performs this particular ritual to tell me “Daddy, good job!! Eh..”.  

These are just some of the moments, of the many joyous activities, that I really look forward to having with Bud. The excitement Bud shows when I am home after work really makes my wife jealous . Ha ha..  To tell you the truth, I have always noticed the same level of excitement each day and never ever less. When he is around, it is difficult to think of other worldly tensions/garbage. He has truly uncomplicated our lives. Bud has accepted us as his parents and we have taken him as our child. Bud showers on us unconditional love and we try our best to keep him happy. It is really difficult to fathom his affection for us and put them in words here but I can surely say “It's an amazing feeling to care for Bud. For all three of us, it's just love – no questions asked”. My non-human child had taught me to be human again. You may feel it dramatized or very cliché but I find truth in it.  To humor you, proof of it may be provided in the fact that we have taken in an abandoned baby bunny (looks like bought during last Easter) but there is not a hint of regret. And to let you know, Bud has gone against his ancestral instincts and has found a friend in the new Bunny. Yes, Bud is that nice and noble.

-Shashank S.