From the day he walked into my house, nearly ten years ago, with his golden fur and his big brown eyes, I was smitten. Hobbes was just 3 months old. When he came inside, the first thing he did was to run around the living room, jumping on every sofa and making the carpet his new bathroom! My mother was furious, she couldn't believe that after all these years without a dog, we had suddenly become dog lovers.
I never had a dog growing up. In fact, since we lived in apartments in London and New York City, it was never even an option. I ended up being afraid of them, jumping every time they crossed my path. It was a most irrational fear which I realised much later. Ten years ago, two puppies - Calvin (the Labrador) and Hobbes (the Golden Retriever) came into our lives. I don't quite remember why and how I overcame my fear of dogs, but the moment these boys came into our house, life changed forever.
Calvin is my Dad's pet, sort of like teacher's pet, loves us all, but loves him the most. Hobbes is my best friend. We grew close very quickly. There is nothing more satisfying and more wonderful than a dog who jumps with excitement when he sees you, who licks your face, who sleeps on your lap, who loves you unconditionally. And who blackmails you with his big, droopy eyes when he wants a snack! Whenever I had a bad day, Hobbes was there for me. Whenever I had a good day, he was there to share the joy.
He loves chewing socks and running away with sandals. If you scold him, he offers his paw for a handshake. Really, the guy is smart at disarming you! Golden Retrievers are by nature fun-loving, happy dogs. They are used as therapy dogs in many countries, and have been found to help terminally ill patients. They are wonderful guide dogs. Basically, they're good guys.
This year though, has been hard. Hobbes had a severe back injury in March, one that left him paralysed. Suddenly, the jumpy, happy dog I knew couldn't walk. It happened overnight and was heartbreaking. It took weeks of therapy and medication and amazingly, he recovered. It was the first time I thought the unthinkable- that Hobbes had become old-'ish'. I realised that he would face health problems, that he would grow old, and we just had to deal with it. But I wasn't prepared for another jolt so soon.
A few days ago, Hobbes lost his vision. He became blind. It was shattering to see him bump into walls, confused and disoriented. First the doctor thought it was a cataract; now, after a thorough examination, he has something called optic neuritis. But you know the best part? He is going to be ok. I just got a call from my Dad. The vet says Hobbes' prognosis is good and he should be ok in a few weeks after intense treatment. I am so relieved and so happy. I know he will beat this like he beat his back injury.
Many of my friends ask me why we go through the pain of loving a dog and then losing them so soon. I don't know, I haven't been through that yet. But I know why we love them - because they are simply the most wonderful, selfless creatures on earth.
Dear Hobbes, I love you.(Nidhi Razdan is a senior editor with NDTV and the anchor of NDTV 24X7's prime-time show Left, Right and Centre.)Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.