Wednesday March 6, 2013
By VIVEGANATHAN KARUPIAH
A love of animals brings this man and his sons ever closer.
BEING a father for the first time evokes emotions beyond words. I still remember the day my elder son was born, and the joy I felt as I held his tiny fingers. It was a special feeling that no words could describe, but one that I am sure is shared by everyone who has ever become a father.
Parenthood is a wonderful thing. But regardless of who we are, we have to be good and responsible parents to our children.
As an animal lover myself, I want my kids to have as much passion for animals as I do.
When I was small, I was a fussy kid who was scared of animals. My mother used to recall that whenever my grandfather asked me to hold the ducklings, I would bolt.
So, when I started to become friendly with animals, nobody was more surprised than my mum.
I am not sure how I overcame my fear of animals and turned into an animal lover. But I am glad to see my sons being naturally close to them. Vissnu, five, and Vidhur, three, do not run away from chickens and ducks as I did during my young days.
Since their maternal grandparents are still living the so-called kampung lifestyle, my two kids get the chance to see and hold chickens, geese and goats.
Most children nowadays are unable to do the things their parents did when they were growing up. It used to be that playing in the sand was part of our daily routine, but now, it’s become one of the activities in play school. Kids are missing the opportunity to explore nature by themselves, as they learn things the digital way.
I like watching TV shows related to animals – of course, joined by Vissnu and Vidhur. We watch and learn together. Besides the tame animals, my kids also get to know wildlife through these programmes.
Needless to say, the place that the three of us enjoy visiting most is the zoo. I love answering their every doubt and curiosity about the occupants of the zoo. They will be delighted when they are allowed to touch and feel some of the animals.
Watching on TV is not enough as I believe the zoo to be a good learning ground for children to know about wild animals.
We used to have a dog at home, but sadly, she is no longer with us. I was surprised to see Vissnu refusing to admit Mary, our pet, to the veterinary clinic as he was too attached to her.
Unfortunately, I’m unable to get him a replacement as both my kids are allergic to animal fur. On our doctor’s advice, my wife and I have decided to avoid pets at home for the time being.
But one day, I will definitely get them a puppy as it’s a promise I made to my son on his fifth birthday.
Sometimes, I bring my sons along when I feed the stray dogs. These days, when a dog crosses my house, Vissnu will inevitably ask for a biscuit from his mum to feed the mutt. I also take my boys to my friend’s farm, bringing bananas with us to feed the cows.
I’m really glad to see my kids becoming animal lovers like me. I hope this will help them grow up to be upstanding human beings.