This is my friend, Brijesh Kumar Yadav, and his dog Puaa. They live in Pooranpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. We have been friends for four years. Living where he does, in a small village in India, it is difficult to get things you and I may take for granted. Like vaccines and health care. Running water and dependable electricity. Transportation and veterinary care. And many people are still dying of Covid. Early in the pandemic Brijesh’s mother was one of Covid’s first victims.
After his mom passed, I encouraged him to adopt a street dog. I wanted him to have something all his own to love him. Over the past several months I have educated Brijesh on how to take care of a dog. It has been challenging. There are no vets where he lives. So, recently, after a six hour round trip by cab to a large city, Puaa was neutered. It also took several months and much difficulty to get Puaa his vaccines.
For me these things and others (like running water, dependable electricity, transportation, a refrigerator) are commonplace. For my friend they are not. We live in very different worlds. Knowing him has made the gratitude for all I have so much deeper. I love him dearly and in addition to helping with Puaa, I am investing in Brijesh’s future by helping him get an education. I want him to have the tools necessary so he can create his best life.
When we stop and think about it, we realize it is the little things in life that are most important. Being grateful for all we have, how convenient our lives are, how blessed we are, I believe is one way we love God. I believe another way we love God is to care for, help, and support one another as we want to be cared for, helped, and supported.
I am deeply grateful for my relationship with Brijesh. He is now part of my family. And each day I am grateful for him and how our relationship keeps me grateful for all I am blessed to have.
As Jami said, “We can spend a whole lifetime enjoying various benefits and not appreciate their value until we are deprived of them.” Brijesh has taught me how truly blessed I am. For that I am eternally grateful.