This is the first article in a series based on interviews done with parents who encourage pets in their homes. Puma’s story as told by Nadeeja…
For Sanjee and Dammika is giving their daughters Mineli (10) and Umaya (7) a chance to grow up with dogs was to give them a piece of their own childhood. When the kids were still small their older dogs died. This was when we decided to allow our girls to choose their own puppy and take up the responsibilities of rearing it.
We live in New Westminster, British Columbia in Canada. It was a long drive from our home to the farm, including a ferry ride to an island, where we found a litter of Golden Labradors belonging to an elderly couple. The children were thrilled that they could pick their own puppy. Instantly their eyes went to a buttery ball of fur who kept leaping at their skirts. I always say it was the dog that chose us and not how it was initially meant to be.
During her early days the puppy was quite a rumpus mischief, getting into the kid’s room and picking on their shoes, crafts and toys. She was very energetic and wanted a lot of attention. She was quick on her heels and soon out of our reach. So we named her Puma for her speed.
Bit by bit the puppy outgrew his mischievous ways and settled down in our home, as a new member. She was easy to train and discipline. Besides Labradors are found to be good natured and fun family dogs, who are great around kids. Three-year old Puma is best pals with my daughters. My older daughter, Mineli said ‘l lost many of my favorite slippers but I will grow out of it the next season. I will always have Puma and we both can grow together …. I love Puma… as much as I love all my other dogs’. The girls sing and play music for Puma, bake cakes and spend lots of time in the backyard playing together. Occasionally Puma get to ride with us out of town. She really looks forward to family outings.
Growing up with dogs has taught my children their first lessons on been responsible for someone else, also to share, to be considerate and caring. Having pets in a household where both parents are working can be an extra load. But in the end its worth the trouble because they add vibrancy to our lives. My children are very cautious about securing the dog inside the house when we go out. They have already learned lessons of safety.
On our return we find Puma lurched on the window ledge, peeping out. She gives us a warm welcome to show her joy. There is never a dull moment in our home with Puma around. Dogs have a way of leaving their paw prints in our hearts.
(Photo credits: Sanjee Ranasinghe)