I love dogs. But I didn’t want just a pet. I needed a purpose too.
In India, one in every fifty children are mentally challenged. Society neglects them. They don’t even have any friends. And that really affected me.
Around that time, I heard about Animal Angels Foundation, the first NGO to introduce animal therapy in India. Where animals are used as motivators to help heal people. They helped manage emotions, reduce hyperactivity, and improve concentration. I had finally found my purpose. Finding Anna, was just a matter of time.
Anna is one of those labs, who’s very friendly, and who you’d always want to cuddle with. Very intelligent, she could sniff out a range of emotions in an instant. Exactly what’s expected from a therapy dog. Over many months, I met many parents who’d come to me with tales of Anna. How she made their child walk, nudged them to play, helped them maintain eye contact, and assisted them to socialize.
Once, Tauseef Sheikh, who used to come for therapy, was writing in his notebook. It was ‘Number Writing’ practice. As soon as he finished, he straight away walked out from the class. When the Principal asked him as to where he was going, he excitedly said, ‘Anna! Anna!’ He was so attached to her that he wouldn’t show it to anyone else first, but Anna.
My purpose had me prouder beyond expectations.