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Book captures profound moments of life with dogs

In the introduction, Sodhi says how dogs teach people some of the most profound lessons of life

By: PTI | New Delhi |
December 25, 2021 10:00:40 am
book dogsA must-read for everyone who cherishes dogs and the perfect gift for a dog-lover friend (Source: Harper Collins blog)

Leading writers, debut authors, graphic artists, photographers and animal rescuers have come together to pay tribute to their canine companions through a series of funny, poignant, warm and joyous stories.

“The Book of Dog: An Anthology Celebrating Our Beloved Best Friends” has 45 original pieces and is edited by Hemali Sodhi, founder of A Suitable Agency which represents writers and artistes.

Among the contributors are Aanchal Malhotra, Amitava Kumar, Anita Nair, Anuja Chauhan, Arunava Sinha, Ashwin Sanghi, Bulbul Sharma, Cyrus Broacha, Devdutt Pattanaik, Gulzar, Jerry Pinto, Maneka Gandhi, Mark Tully, Ruskin Bond, Shobhaa De, Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi and Vikas Khanna.

Sodhi calls this book, published by HarperCollins India, a “celebration of the unique bond we have with the canine companions in our lives, an ode to these lovely beings who make our days and nights brighter with their presence”.

The book is a project to which the editor and all the authors have contributed for free. All royalties will go to registered animal welfare charities.

A black-and-tan of mixed ancestry – part Terrier, part Spaniel, part street dog, Crazy, was the sole companion of Bond’s grandmother after her husband died.

According to Bond, Crazy was such a good runner that even Usain Bolt wouldn’t have been able to keep up with him.
“Crazy’s greatest pleasure was running round and round the house. It was a small bungalow with plenty of open space in front and at the back, and whenever Crazy felt that life was getting a little dull, he would go for one of his sprints,” he writes.

In his piece, Gulzar talks about his Boxer called Pali who, to him, was a friend, a companion, and many more things besides … but not a ‘dog’.
Pali was very sensible; he wouldn’t let anyone come near Gulzar.

“When I went into the office room for the day’s work, he would come there as well, like clockwork; he would settle himself on a ‘durrie’ close to me. In the evening, we would shut the office and go back together,” he writes.

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While Gandhi talks of Bruno, Gudiya and Goofy, De tells stories of Gong Li, Chauhan about Chhabbis, Sanghi of Simba and Sinha about Tingmo.

Broacha turns his humorous gaze on the dogs (and accompanying humans) in his building, while Shanghvi pens the experience of his early years as a dog trainer.

Pinto’s unnamed dog protagonist takes it upon himself to school a younger pup on the unpredictable ways of the world, while Nair talks about her beautiful pups Sunderapandi and Nachimuthu.

Tully, a devoted dog lover, reminisces about all the wonderful dogs in his life and Sharma mentions about the loyal Gaddies (mountain dogs) in her piece.

Pattanaik writes about dogs in Hindu myth, while Malhotra comes up with an informative essay on dogs deployed in World War I and Khanna talks about Plum and also gives a recipe for a delicious dog treat. Kumar, on the other hand, turns his gaze at his younger self as he finally finds a chance to say goodbye to a faithful friend.

In the introduction, Sodhi says how dogs teach people some of the most profound lessons of life.

“They teach you to live in the moment, to live for the moment. They teach you unconditional love, given so freely it sometimes makes you tear up and wonder what you did to deserve this. They teach you to love unreservedly, and never let the child die in you. And they teach you kindness,” she writes.

She, however, rues that there is a heartbreaking reality that every dog parent is aware of – dogs have short lives.
“You will see them grow older, the gait become slower, the muzzle greyer. You will see the crazy zoomies turn into a slow and painful limp, and you will see that beloved face turn old. It is devastating,” she says.

She feels during the Covid-induced lockdown in 2020, the dogs at home were probably the only ones “not unhappy with this strange new world – their humans were home and spending time with them for longer periods: it was like hitting the jackpot”!

“And it was the dogs who kept many people sane and provided comfort- in a world where everything was uncertain, here were our dogs, delighted with this change of circumstance and making the most of it,” she adds.

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