I looked to you and smiled, you nodded at me in acknowledgement and edged a li’l closer. For the first time ever the proximity with a stranger in a strange new land did not scare me. When I finally learnt to let go, I let in a new kind of love – the one true kind.
One trip was all it took to believe in the magic of new relationships, not yet another run of the mill relationships with fellow humans, but a whole new level of friendships with Man’s best friends, the ever trustworthy and reliable Dogs. Who would have thought that a holiday that started on a crappy note with last minute changes in destinations, loss of money and time would end well? Who would have imagined that all it takes to cheer up would be encounters with a bunch of canines coincidentally making appearances one after the other with no agenda but to show what true love really is?
That’s exactly what happened to me and it all started with a super friendly Brownie with an adorable muzzle met at the banks of a private beach on our hotel premises in Baku, Azerbaïdjan. Until I met him, I believed my fear for dogs to be a legitimate phobia and had never (until then) allowed myself to get anywhere close to any of them. But my need for some alone time to ponder over the unfairness of the travel agent’s screw up and bemoan the possibility of spending time with him over the next one week took precedence over any sort of phobia and I walked to the beach with Brownie trailing right behind.
Brimming in anger, and in a way of venting out my frustrations, I looked to the only companion I had that morning and told Brownie loud and clear, “Listen, I want to be alone and I am not comfortable having you so close to me, please leave me alone”. I was surprised to watch you recede and give me some much needed space. Whenever you tried to get even a tad bit closer, I noticed your friend (who appeared by your side out of nowhere), Mr. Greyhound, stopping you with such ferocity that it felt like not just you but even he understood my need to be left alone. All it took to get rid of my crappy mood was watching you two play with abandon. I laughed despite myself and seeing my guard being let down you both approached me and let me pat on your heads for the job well done.
I know it’s not right to have favorites but dear Brownie, how can I not fall in love at first sight with the looks that you give?
Since then I took it upon myself to greet and play with other dogs I encountered over the course of the trip. Next came this White Giant I met in Tbilisi. Despite the encounter with Brownie and Greyhound, I had still not gotten over my fear of Dogs completely, but the muzzle protector allowed me to get close to this guy and like the other two he was a friendly chap too and was quite cuddle worthy.
As the days progressed, the trip did get better as I managed to set my differences with the travel agent aside and allowed myself to enjoy the new sights and lights. One of the interesting places we went to was Gudauri in Georgia, which was one beautiful place complete with snow everywhere, and beautiful mountains set at the backdrop. Even for someone who has lived in ice cold places and encountered snow day in and day out for months together, the couple of days in Gudauri were quite exhilarating for the views that the snow capped mountains offered.
Sitting inside the cozy room, sipping a cup of steaming hot tea, I couldn’t help but marvel at the two dogs I spotted outdoors who braved themselves despite the ice cold temperature and stepped out to have a time of their lives playing with each other on snow without any worry in the world.
They sparked the adventurous spirit in me and urged me to step out myself and enjoy the snow and the beauty it offered. I am glad I did that for I did end up having a time of my life myself while getting drenched in snow.
The day the trip ended, it did so in a picturesque setting offering us yet another opportunity to capture nice pictures and there again there were two friendly beauties sharing their love and affection to all the tourists who were willing to give them some time and attention. Given the beautiful setting and the lovely canines, I couldn’t help but try to make them pose against that backdrop for a bunch of prized shots.
Thus our trip ended with me being sure of possessing some Dog charm and with this new found tidbit of self-discovery, I was beaming so wide, so much that even I surprised myself for that was in stark contrast with the grumpy look I had when we started off the trip. I had never in my wildest dreams would have imagined, that I would be able to walk people through an entire holiday- the sights, change in my mindset and the beauty of new beginnings- just with the pictures of Dogs. I would look back to this trip more with fondness and love and less with bitterness and anger and I definitely have my dog friends to thank for changing my mindset over the course of the trip. All is well, that ends well indeed!