In the midst of her depression, she adopted a rescue pup who gave her a new lease on life.
Posted in , Jul 2, 2018
It happened so quickly that I couldn’t believe my eyes.
My boyfriend, who had come into town to meet my family for the first time, kicked my dog right in front of me. Indu had been pulling on her leash while he was trying to walk her and he lost patience. No one had ever done that to her before. She turned around, surprised, her big blue eyes looking even paler. He wasn’t sorry, it wasn’t an accident. “You need to leave this dog with your parents when we get married,” he insisted. It was the ultimate red flag and I immediately knew exactly which one of them I had to leave behind.
How did I get involved with a man who would kick a dog and treat me so poorly? Depression. Years of low self-esteem, dropping out of graduate school, and being cheated on by my first love led me down a dark path. By my late-twenties, I was in severe debt, living with my parents on Long Island and had considered suicide twice. In addition to all of the stress and shame I was carrying, as an Indian American woman, I felt there was another pressure to be married by 30, so I picked the wrong man. Indu set me back on the right path.
With her silky blonde fur and sparkling blue eyes, Indu came into my life on Mother’s Day, 2009. I had been crying all morning after another fight with my boyfriend. My parents, who’d never wanted a dog, saw my despair and finally agreed that a furry companion would do me some good.
My father drove us to the North Shore Animal League where I found Indu snoozing in a crate. Tiny and fragile, just like my ego, this 8-week-old pup rubbed her nose against my neck and cozied up on my chest. I was told she was rescued from a puppy mill and was probably a shepherd/husky mix. Whatever breeds made this bundle of joy, she was now mine -- my very first pet -- and I intended to give her the best life. I named her Indu, the Sanskrit word for moon, which her eyes reflected.
On her first night home, Indu cried in her crate, missing her buddies at the shelter. For the first time, I felt needed. I went downstairs, let her out, and we slept, nestled together on the couch. After that first night together, I’ve never felt alone or cried myself to sleep again.
Over the next few months, the cloud that shrouded me for so long began to lift, as I cared for this precious being who relied on me. I doggie-proofed the house, took her to the vet, spent sleepless nights tending to her when she was sick, made a fuss about her diet, and threw her birthday parties. I even sprung for a new car so we could take trips camping and go to the beach.
Though she didn’t cure my depression, Indu always knows when I need her cuddles. She’s always snuggled up next to me, and follows me around in her waking hours. On especially bad days when I don’t want to go outside, she sits by the front door and whines, her signature move to get me up and out into the world with her. When I ended that unhealthy relationship, Indu was right there, giving me her belly, reassuring me that together we would be just fine.
In the following years, I worked long hours to pay off my debt, started working with a therapist, and learned to manage my depression. Even though I was past 30 and single, my family saw I was happy and thriving, so they stopped pressuring me to get hitched.
When I finally met someone worthy of my partnership, I knew Indu would have to approve. On our third date, I invited him on a hike and brought the ultimate judge of character. It was love at first sight; she immediately cozied up to him, walking alongside him with her tail wagging the whole way. A few years later, she was the maid of honor at our wedding, wearing a scarf matching my dress. We now have a framed picture of her staring adoringly at my husband on a bench from their first meeting next to where she sleeps.
This rescued canine’s unconditional love and companionship saved me from years of despair and gave me hope. My furry friend gave me the chance to start a new and better life. I couldn’t have done it without her.