Though I have heard Happier a lot of times before, this was my first time to watch the official video. It struck me so emotionally that at the end of the video, I can’t stop questioning the irony of the title of the song. Happier certainly had a happy ending, but it made me bawl for a couple of hours in the bathroom.
Have you had dogs? Have you had any pets? If not, I recommend 10/10 to adopt one. How else would you know unconditional love, friendship and loyalty? Why am I speaking about dogs? Because Happier speaks about it.
When I heard the lyrics without seeing the official video, I could relate it to an ill-fated love story. I imagined it to be a lover speaking to another whom he (or she) must lose to make her (or him) happier. Isn’t letting go of love itself the highest form love can take?
There are too many songs about sacrifice, letting go and moving on. I thought this song is one on the “parting ways” list. It all changed when I finally saw the official video of Happier today.
A girl who appears to be an introvert gets bullied by her classmates every single day. As fate would have it, she meets her one true friend in the dog her parents gift her for her birthday. The video beautifully captures this scene by changing the whole frame into yellower- a symbol of happiness, hope and spontaneity.
She finds comfort with the dog. He plays with her, stays beside her when she cries and grows alongside her. When he grows old, he gets sick, and the girl has to put him down. She has to make the choice of letting him go to make him happier. She has to make a decision to put an end to his sufferings.
"I wanna raise your spirits I want to see you smile"
We see her crying when he has taken to the vet to be put down. In the future, this girl becomes a beautiful woman who then gifts a pup to her daughter. The video ends with her daughter’s picture with the puppy, put next to her childhood picture (with her dog) on the desk.
It brings me to the time in my life where my sister and I had to put down our pet. Our parents bought a pair of dogs when we were too little. They chose us- not just that day but every single day until their death.
The only scariest moment of any pet-owner is to see how old their dog grows every day. If heaven would accept petitions, I would ask God to split half of the human years and give it to the dogs. They deserve it and more.
We named them Seenu and Sindhu, took them to the vet and vaccinated them. They loved to drink ragi porridge with raw eggs. While Sindhu was the ‘chamathu’ type to drink her portion without any waste, Seenu was a trickster. He used to lick the yolk clean and leave the porridge untouched.
When we moved our house to a small town on the outskirts of Chennai, they loved the spacious area around the new home. They roamed around freely without any leash. Nobody had complaints about how loudly they barked. I especially loved how they wagged their tails, whimpering and excitedly welcoming us when we return home from school.
The toughest decision
They grew old faster than we expected. One day, they were those cute little puppies, and the next they became parents. Sindhu delivered so many beautiful and healthy puppies. Sindhu fell ill on her last delivery. She gave birth to four puppies: two still-borns, one died within hours and another died sooner too.
The vet couldn’t find why it happened. But Sindhu grieved for so long. Her breasts were engorged and she whined for days, looking for her puppies not realising that we buried them. Infections started to spread all over her body. She couldn’t even clean her menstrual discharges on her own.
She wasn’t able to walk or eat normally. There was no usual chirpiness in her behaviours. However, when we call her name, she would wag her tail so fastly out of excitement. She loved us so much that she never ignored our calls even when she started to lose her sight.
Eventually, the vet who was treating her told us that we had to make a decision to end her miseries. We could either let her live until her last days with the sufferings, or we could put her down to relieve her from the pain. However, the hard-swallowing pill was this question:
“What would she choose for herself?”
It wasn’t easy for us to answer on behalf of her. We thought that if it was her life, then she should be the one deciding it.
We tried to postpone it but it only made her health worse. We couldn’t see her suffering. Also, we couldn’t let her die before her last days. Ultimately, the adults of our family, aka our parents made the hardest decision.
"Then only for a minute I want to change my mind 'Cause this just don't feel right to me"
My sister and I took Seenu to the terrace and waited to cry to hear the dreaded news. My dad and the vet took her away from the house, and we didn’t know any details. Until this day, we are not courageous enough to hear anything more about it.
We only know what our father said to us: “she passed away peacefully”, he said. How do we know that? What could have happened within her? Would she forgive us? How much pain did she endure? Did she die quickly, or went into the night slowly? Was the pain due to her illness endurable than the death?
We never got answers to so many questions. But, one love was replaced with another. We got two more pups- Buddy and Tommy. We had to go through the death once again with Tommy- but this one very young; he succumbed to brain stroke. We saw him bumping into walls, running around and around during his last hours. We couldn’t forget it for so long. Yet, we adopted another pup and named him Tommy, in remembrance of our old one.
Seenu, however, died during a Diwali, a natural death, but wasn’t an easy one. With Seenu and Sindhu passing away, we lost the major part of our childhood.
Happiness is no easy journey. Dogs make it easier though. Even if they go too soon, they never leave us feeling lonely. We have only one senior dog left now, Buddy, who shows the signs of his old age more prominently now.
“Even though I might not like this
I think that you’ll be happier, I want you to be happier”
Oh, I don’t know what the dogs think when they leave us behind. Maybe, they think that these needy humans aren’t our problem anymore. Or perhaps, they would wonder if they have unlimited pedigree on heavens.
They made our days yellower. Yes, we weep when they are gone, but life goes on. There is no dog owner in history who regretted their decision in adopting their pal, sibling, or kid. Dogs make this world tolerable to live.
I am suspicious of people who don’t like dogs,Bill Murray
But I trust a dog when it doesn’t like a person.
Perhaps, our dogs don’t really leave us behind. They just expand our hearts to give and receive more love. They leave ahead of us in time and become our guardian angels. God can’t suppose to have a better angel than a dog, that loves its human with all its heart and soul.