Books

Author Aparna Karthikeyan talks about the joys of being a pet parent

Have you always wanted a pet but never could have one? Aparna Karthikeyan didn’t want to be one of those people. So, in 2017, she finally got one for herself at the age of 43. That one pup was followed by another and today, she is a dog mother to two indies, Puchu and Shingmo. “We were constantly relocating to different parts of the world and it seemed unfair to subject a poor creature to the travails of being uprooted,” says Aparna, who just moved to Chennai from Mumbai in October.

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“My husband was a reluctant dog father, but now he is amazing. It is proof that people can change. My teenaged daughter toilet-trained Puchu; my husband and I seemed unable to make her understand,” she says,

Originally from Chennai, one of the rare things Aparna enjoyed in Mumbai was the beach and the many stray dogs. It was on one of those regular walks that the family met Shingmo, who had been washed up on the beach in a box. She was accepted into the dog pack and when she fell terribly ill, Aparna took her home to care for her better. “I was a fool to think that I could actually take her back to the beach after we nursed her back to health. What should have been a two-day stay has now become two years,” she laughs.

Author Aparna Karthikeyan talks about the joys of being a pet parent

Puchu and Shingmo are the real-life stars of Woof! Adventures by the Sea which captures the ups and downs of life for stray dogs living on a beach. Interspersed with black and white crayon-like sketches by Sagar Kolwankar and first-dog accounts of life on the beach, the book captures the pathos of their lives in a heart-warming, heart-breaking way.

Aparna is aware of the reluctance many people have in keeping a pet for the fear it will die someday. “We don’t stop forming relationships, we don’t stop ourselves from loving because people are going to die or go away from our life. So, why is it different for animals?” she asks.

“‘Don’t be afraid to love’ would be my biggest take away from being a pet parent,” she says.

Meet Coconut, Thug, Thin, Kyra, Fat Brother and other friends of Puchu and Shingmo in Woof! Adventures by the Sea published by Red Panda Books.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 1:19:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/author-aparna-karthikeyan-talks-about-the-joys-of-being-a-pet-parent/article33395006.ece

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