Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved Christmas very much.
She believed that Christmas was a time for the miracles, and all of her dreams could come true. Every year, right before Christmas Eve, she wrote a heartwarming letter to Santa.
Every year on this day, she only had one wish. She genuinely wished to get a small puppy she could call her own. The timing was not right all those years. Her family lived in a small apartment, and getting a dog was just not in the cards. The little girl never found that box with the tiny holes and a small head sniffing through them under their Christmas tree.
25 years later, the girl now all grown up, is looking in her dog’s eyes thinking what her life would be like without him. He changed her life completely.
We, me and my boyfriend, found Manali while backpacking in India. We found him, all alone on the streets in a town appropriately called, Manali. He was a small pup in a desperate need of love, touch, and medical help.
When we first found him, we were not sure what to do, but we knew we had to do something. With time, we learned how to treat our new fur ball. It took a lot of effort. In Manali, there are no NGO’s that help street dogs, so we drove him to the nearest rescue in Dharamsala which was seven hours away by car. There he recovered from his wounds, and was fostered by one of the staff members and his family.
We then needed to figure out how to get him home to the United States. Again, the rescue helped us, along with Airpets out of Delhi. We were so blessed to meet some incredible people who made this process so much easier. Just a few months after first meeting him, he joined us in New York and become an integral part of our family. Amazingly, he adjusted to life in the USA, and soon became a doting older brother to his cat sister and brother.
My whole life, I have been surrounded by animals. Ever since I was a little child, my grandmother would always find me either with cats, dogs, goats, or chickens. Looking back, I do remember dressing our kitties up, putting them in this old fashion stroller, and strolling with them down the village. Everyone called me “cat mother.”
Whenever there was a new littler in the neighborhood, I was the first one to know. I rushed down the streets to welcome these tiny little things into our world. When I got older, I started to get this feeling that petting the animals was just not enough. I felt that I simply need to do something to change how things work in this world. The world I knew from my childhood was suddenly changing drastically, and many times I could not hold my tears back because of it.
The social media did not make it easier: Kids filming themselves torturing innocent animals, people carelessly polluting our planet, and higher authorities not paying enough attention. It was just heartbreaking. I felt so little and helpless. I talked to many people and asked for help, but at the end of the day I was always back to square one.
Then one day it hit me, I will never be able to change it all. I will never change how people think and what they do. But I learned that I can start with myself. I started fundraising for the animal shelter that helped Manali in India, and the money we collected covered the costs 15 street dogs to be sterilized and vaccinated. The feeling I had after I reached my goal was indescribable.
That was the day I realized, I may not be able to change the world for everyone, but I can change the world for these 15 dogs. This moment forced me sit quietly in my room and just feel the energy around me. I realized how very little it takes from every person to do something amazing for this planet. You don’t have to be rich to make a difference.
All it takes is the hunger for it, the hunger to go after your dreams no matter what people around you say. I know my resources are limited since I am just a “little person” compared to the whole wide world out there. But I will keep doing what I love. For me, animals are love. Animal’s love is always patient and kind. Their love is unconditional, like mother’s love.
It is our job to love them, care for them, and protect them.
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About the author
Kristina Beranova, originally from Slovakia, moved to the USA 14 years ago to start a fashion career after graduating from University. After many years working all types of jobs, she decided to pack her bags, put all of her belonging in the boxes, and travel the world. Along with her husband Andrew, they visited India and Nepal followed by other countries. She instantly fell in love with India and decided one day she will be back there. This journey completely changed her life when she realized it is not about the things we have, but the people we are surrounded by. She was greatly touched by the way people live in these countries.
After returning back to New York, they reevaluated the life they lived. They sold many of their belongings, bought an RV and moved to Tahoe. Now she is working as an office manager at Sierra Tahoe Rentals, looks forward to the future, and feels grateful for the past. Even though she is “settled” now for some time, her traveling days are not over. There is much more gypsy in her and she feels strong connection to The World surrounding her.