My Journey of Another Kind

My Journey of Another Kind: A Lifetime of Love Shared with Animals

By Sarah Berry

My journey with animals, or rather for animals, began when I was six, with a pup called Lucy. It was my mother who taught me how to take care of an animal as much as one would take care of oneself. Now, four decades later, when she is at the end of her journey, nothing gives her more happiness than the friendly lick by our dog. He, being a senior citizen himself, seems to be reassuring her that all will be well soon enough. Just the feel of his head with her arthritic hand brings the sparkle back in otherwise listless eyes, not to mention how much he enjoys the gentle massage she makes such an effort to give him.

An animal plays an integral part in one’s life, giving far more back to its human counterpart than what he or she receives, which is why speaking up against animal cruelty of any sort is not kindness but a duty. Having been a rebel with a cause for most of my life, animal welfare was a struggle and a war most of the time when I was young, but it also taught me a lot: patience, for one, and perseverance, for the other.

Over the years, thanks to awareness, a lot has changed: people have become sensitised, animal rights have undergone a metamorphosis, among a host of other positive changes, but one major development has been the growing strength of the Movement and its reach that aims for a more equitable and just world for all sentient beings. The challenges are still many, most of them circling around lack of talent and funds, what with a paltry CSR percentage going towards animal welfare.

However, despite the challenges, setbacks, and strife, one thing remains a hardcore fact: animal welfare, environmental sustainability and human health are all intertwined and without the one, the rest will collapse. Thanks to awareness, generation among youth and children, India’s rich demographic dividend – its population – is becoming cognizant of this critical intersection.

Besides, and in today’s time and age, animals have become an integral part of our day-to-day lives, so much so that their use has become normalised, sadly. It’s not just animals for consumption, labour, research or entertainment that underline their role in our lives, but also the role they play in upping the emotional quotient; thanks to the unconditional love, loyalty and service they extend. Being a mother to a child with special needs has brought me closer to the cause of animals, simply because I have realised that sometimes you must fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, whilst empowering them to fight their own battles one day.

As I write this piece and look at my dog, I reiterate to myself: do what you can for those you can, not wanting anything in return; live each day as it comes and enjoy what it offers, even if it is way of your expectations; and most importantly: be happy with what you have, making the most of it while it lasts.