”Remarkable changes in my life”
This is about me and my dog named Robo.My name is Rajeev Kumar, I’m 36-years-old and the founder/owner of an IT company. I am also co-Founder of The PetYo Festival, a Festival not only have fun but also provides high quality information and assistance relevant to all pets, pet parents, and all animal needs. This ventire, however, would not have been of any interest to me a mere couple years ago. Here’s that story…
Life hasn’t always been a piece of dog treat or cake for me. In fact at the end of 2016, I was on the verge of believing that this world is a very bad place and that everyone here is super selfish. Forget about true love, even finding good friendships seemed impossible.
Additionally, I had attempted a business venture that didn’t work out. I was always a hardcore non-vegetarian who felt the need to eat meat pretty much every day. This inspired me to start a web portal, for all non-vegetarian food lovers, through which one could order the best of only non-vegetarian food. But for uncontrollable reasons, this venture didn’t work out. In hindsight, I guess the universe had drastically different plans for me, so I’m very glad.
One day, in early 2017, I saw a very cute puppy in a movie, and something in me wanted to have one. So I asked a friend to look for one. Around this time my wife and I were also expecting a baby. Because of a Facebook video of a dog and a little child playing together, I thought it would be a good plan to have both the four-legged and two-legged kids grow up side-by-side and share a special bond with each other. So, basically, my decision to have a dog in my life was not inspired from some great love within me for dogs, but was somehow triggered by a movie and Facebook videos!!
Unfortunately, that year, our first baby could not come into this world. But “Robo”, a super cute and naughty puppy, had arrived.
One evening, as I held little Robo and noticed his innocent eyes, I actually felt that a baby — my baby — was with me, and I felt the pain of loss leaving me. At this point, life started working differently…
The first changes that occurred were that I became much more responsible and active. I am forced to go for walks for Robo’s sake and I wake up early mornings for his run. I also had to clean his poop and pee around the house before he was potty trained and now I make sure I pick up his poop and dispose of it when I take him for a walk. I take care of his food, health, and his grooming proactively. Wow! To think that I used to be so lazy I wouldn’t even get up from the sofa to get myself a glass of water!!
Socially, my life also completely transformed. Over a year-and-a-half, I have made so many genuine and good friends. But they all know me because of Robo! “Robo ke papa!”
Then there occurred a massive shift in me around a year ago. Being non-vegetarian, I of course started feeding Robo non-veg food. I was, however, concerned about the quality of food he eats, so after he had an upset stomach once, instead of sending the domestic help, I went to the market myself. This was one of the biggest turning points in my life. Before Robo came into my life, non-vegetarian food would arrive cooked and ready-to-eat on my plate. I had no clue about the process that took place before this. I was completely ignorant.
But that first day when I walked into the meat market for Robo, I saw the slaughtering of helpless animals simply for our consumption, and I could not handle it. I immediately decided to stop eating non-vegetarian food. It has been almost one year now that I am a happy vegetarian. I do eat eggs, but there are eggs that come from free-roaming hens so even if they are a little bit more costly, it’s worth it for the sake of the hens. And who knows, maybe I’ll give these up too someday if I need to! I’m still feeding Robo non-vegetarian food, but obviously the consumption of meat in my home has dropped tremendously and I know this makes a difference to the wellbeing of animals. So thank you Robo!!
Another huge change that occurred in me is that I started noticing street animals. I didn’t even know they were around before! If Robo has a small health issue or small injury, or if he is not eating on time, or if his water bowl is empty, or if it’s scorching hot outside and he needs to take a walk, I can’t help but think what do the street dogs do in times of trouble like these? Now I can actually feel their pain. So in my own way, using my own skills and capacities, I started working with many people who help these poor street animals.
In April of last year, my fellow PetYo co-founders, Abhishek Khemka, Jay Mistry and I, organized The PetYo Festival in Pune, the first of what we intend to make an annual event. The theme of this event was Co-Exist. Many organizations that are working in the field of adoption, sterilization, Indian pet food, taxi service for pets, pet-care equipment developers, and several other good-intentioned vendors participated in the lively event. Also several well-informed experts showed up to help educate us about our rights and responsibilities as animal lovers. Together we are taking steps to bring many positive changes in animal related life throughout Pune city.
So today, I stand a changed man… vegetarian, more aware and active, socially connected, and a responsible citizen… all of which I owe to Robo… a true love that wagged his way into my life.