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6 Unconventional Life Lessons I Learned From My Dog

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It may sound funny, but when people ask me, “who inspires you?” I tell them I draw it from my dog Mr Boo, the most lovable creature ever. I strive to be a better human through its existence day after day.

When I began scribbling notes about him, I didn’t even know that that’s how I would develop my writing skills.

After going through all those notes where I documented my dog and its activities, I found that these are, in fact, lessons for life. So below are the unconventional lessons I’ve learned from my dog:

1) Acceptance

Be it my Naga buddy, DJ Sapong, who has a boundless passion for music or my Garo friend, Teseng Chambugong, whose presence packs a punch, dogs just want to have fun. They have an amazing charm of accepting their humans, whether they are enigmas or erudite beings for who they are. They don’t pass judgments too quickly, like humans do. Boo’s presence around me creates a jovial aura because he accepts me for who I am with my imperfections.

When I sit back and analyse, I’ve learned a compelling lesson in seeing the uniqueness of different characters of people surrounding me. We usually enjoy the company of people who accept us and with whom we can express ourselves fully. The joy of being accepted is one of the crucial factors of having a powerful bond or connection. I learned this from my dog, Boo. Yes, that’s right!

2) Celebrate Your Own Existence

Dogs have an extraordinary way of celebrating their own existence by being themselves. If a dog sees its owner(s) coming home, they bark at the loudest pitch and pounces. It signifies a golden moment of appreciation and if you have experienced such an ecstatic moment, you’re a damn lucky person! It indicates that you are important; you are longed for, waited upon and cherished.

Sometimes we feel like turning into ashes and vanishing into thin air when we hit rock bottom. That’s the time when we should learn to focus on the positive side, think about our existence, our presence in the larger scheme of things in life. Celebrating life: that’s the greatest gift in the simplest way and rediscovering our purpose is a breath of fresh air. Sometimes it takes time to heal and purify ourselves but it is worth to think and practice this way.

3) Forgiveness

If a dog gets beaten up or punished for misbehaving or biting, they credulously forgive by licking or wagging a tail; exhibiting no sign of abhorrence. They always have that will to carry on. In this way, they are better than humans. Considering the present atrocities, we can clearly say we do not have forgiving hearts, we are being so inhuman.

There are times when people hurt us with words or incidents, which become a permanent scar that makes forgiveness difficult, forgetting even harder. We should learn to take it easy and forgive everyone. Time heals every wound and pain.

4) Love Unconditionally

Love unconditionally and love in abundance. When a dog spreads love, they don’t submit half of their heart, but love wholeheartedly. They love without expecting it back. They are the perfect epitome of love.

It is always a joyous feeling to be loved and feel loved. The love that we show for those close to our hearts should always be unconditional. Love is the perfect obligation to being alive. Giving love and receiving love is a warmer way to cool any sting. Love matters, after all.

5) Empathy

I remember the countless times when my dog had been there for me. Its presence provides me elated contentment; its innocent stare melts my heart.

Sometimes we all face bad days. We don’t say that we need someone to tell us how much the situation really sucks or things will get better. We just shut the world out when all we need is a friend and a listener. Some people shut themselves up instead of listening and cross the borderline. We should learn to listen and understand the feelings of others. This is how we will live in peace.

6) Do It Or Don’t

Every moment I come home from work, my dog always gives me a warm welcome. Jumping around me, frisking and pounding with all of its excitement. I have always cherished such moments. It puts its whole being, energy and muscles. Have you seen any dog jumping around half-heartedly? The answer is no. They submit their whole effort in seeing the beauty of the world by doing anything wholeheartedly. For them, it’s doing it or not.

In the same way, if we have to do something, let’s try our level best. It is better than doing nothing at all. In fact, we should always try our best to reach our aspirations and goals. Let’s give our all to anything that we do!

These valuable lessons are the things that impact greatly.

We are so busy with our lives where we are ruled by the development and advancement in technology. No time or attention is available for anyone to listen to each other. We are just lost in our own gadgets. This is how we miss the best parts of our lives.

Judgment is passed quickly without any observation. We fall in love with materials rather than souls. We want to be trend setters everywhere, which is somehow meaningless when the values and morals are forgotten. We’ve become so fake that we are afraid to outshine our own originality.

I have had my share of life filled with highs and lows, bumps and bruises. I have faced my demons in confronting obstacles and imposed opinions. But to my dog, I am always accepted and loved. In this chaotic world full of distress and agony, my dog keeps me calm.

About the author: C. Lalrinfela is a passionate freelance writer from Aizawl, Mizoram. He is a tourism student of Martin Luther Christian University (MLCU), Shillong, Meghalaya, an intern at TNT-The Northeast Today, Shillong. He has an ardent love for animals, especially dogs. Pet care, travelling, storytelling, feature writing, folklore studies and tour guiding are his passion.

Featured image provided by author.
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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