February 16th. A day that I will not forget – two very important birthdays today. The Scarlett Dragonfly completes 4 years today. Also my boy Scotty’s 15th birth anniversary.
After I quit my corporate job as a communications professional, I dabbled in many things just to keep myself occupied. Since I had a flair for writing, I would help out friends and family whenever they required. I also wrote my thoughts – but they were safe in my laptop and never shared with the world.
Then in 2017, my world came crashing down. I lost my pet dog Scotty due to kidney failure. The symptoms showed up suddenly and the issue was severe. We couldn’t save him. Everything was over in 5 days from when the condition was first diagnosed. While Scotty was the apple of my eye, I did not fully realize how much he meant to me and how his sudden passing would affect me. While Smokey, who came to us during the pandemic has healed some of the pain, Scotty will always hold a special place in my heart.
My Rockstar – Scotty
The Scarlett Dragonfly was born out of despair. In fact, the name itself is a nod to 2 people who had a profound influence on me – Scarlett O Hara & Scotty. The first blog was published as a tribute to Scotty on his birthday in 2018. I am sharing that first blog at the end of this article.
What started off as an outlet for my grief, initially served as only a blog page with a few posts on my experiences and thoughts. Then in 2020, just before the pandemic started, I decided to reinvent and put together a proper site and convert my passion and flair for writing into a business. The corporate life experience of 13 years also helped me and I knew I was able to offer quality content. So I bought a domain name as the earlier blog was on a free hosted platform. Coincidentally, though I bought the domain and hosting in Jan 2020, I had some glitches as I did not know how to build a site. The same was finally ready on 16-Feb-2020! Believe me, I did not plan this – I like to think that it was Scotty’s way of letting me he was wishing me luck.
During the lockdown, this business has proved as a blessing as I was able to work from home. When other investments suffered a setback, this has emerged as a source of additional income. These last two years I have grown so much as a content creator and learned a lot along the way. Sharing some important learnings that helped me along the way.
- This business is a lot about sharing. Connect and network with the community. The blogging community especially is very helpful and helps you grow. Return the favor and help out when necessary. Keep the ball rolling and help the community grow. There is space for everyone here.
- It is important for you to keep yourself relevant in these times and keep re-inventing the kind of content you are producing. From the time I have started the business, I have made many changes to the kind of content I offer depending upon the client’s need and pulse of the market. A part of this is about teaching too – stay tuned for a new launch that I am sure many from here will also find relevant.
- The digital world is ever-changing. Be it SEO techniques or new Social Media platforms, there is something new always. Part of succeeding is also learning what is new and keeping yourself up-to-date. The adage “You Are Never Too Old To Learn” is very apt here.
- There is no shame in self-promotion. Be visible and reach out to your friends and family. Get on the right networking sites and let people know you are in business. Work will start flowing soon. A big part of this visibility for writers can be through engaging blogs.
- Invest time and money in tools that will help you in the digital business. While many tools are available for free and are good, a paid version offers you much more and helps you go that extra mile.
I have also written a couple of pieces that will be helpful for budding bloggers. They cover topics like plagiarism, topics to blog about, and if blogging is the right career for you. The plan is to continue this series and do my bit for the community.
As promised, below is my first blog – reproduced from my original blog page https://thescarlettdragonfly.wordpress.com/
Forever In My Heart…
“What can I say about a 10-year old Dalmatian? That he liked snoozing with his snout on my feet. And that he liked waking up my husband by breathing heavily on his face. And that he liked chasing the red dot from the infrared pen. And loved howling for fun, with us joining him in chorus. And that he was the apple of my eye. And that his name was Scotty.
For all you avid readers or Erich Segal lovers, the above may sound similar to the start of Love Story.
Yes…it is. For this too is a love story. Of a different kind.
The one by Erich Segal deeply touched me and probably was instrumental in adding Romance to my reading list, which otherwise contained only Crime & Courtroom Drama. Scotty too has left lasting paw prints on my heart and was instrumental in making me a better person.
Being someone who cannot easily cry in front of others or verbally express pain, Scotty’s loss brought a lump to my throat that has still not fully gone, even after 9 months.
What do you do in a situation like this to ease the pain? This got me thinking and I realized that while I may not be able to talk about it, I am able to write about how I feel. So I decided why not share it? Maybe this will strike a chord with someone else who is grappling with grief too. While this blog will be about life and experiences in general, I decided to make the first one about Scotty and deliberately chose today to go live with my first post as he would have been 11 today.
Scotty came to us in 2007. At that time I was petrified of dogs – a fact that many of my friends can endorse. He was two & a half months and during that time he had already changed 3 homes. My husband got Scotty saying he was only going to be with us for a week till he found a good, permanent home for him. It turned out that his permanent home was with us. The details of how he won me over is a whole different story – a different blog, for another time.
Coming back to this post, anyone who lost a ‘pet’ and shared a special bond will easily identify with me. It is not easy to talk to people about the loss of a ‘pet’ as people who are not privy to the human-animal bond assume that they are easily replaced with another. So what starts off as a chat to ease your pain quickly spirals into an attempt to explain why & how ‘pets’ are equal to humans and irreplaceable, for someone like me.
I read somewhere that ‘Life can be the same after a trinket has been lost, but never after the loss of a treasure’. To me, Scotty was that treasure. So instead of trying to fill the void, I now choose to remember and treasure the moments.
The first month was a blur, trying not to stay at home as the house felt like just an empty space. However, having realized that I couldn’t forever run away, I returned. Then came the doubts – did I not do enough to save him? Was I wrong in the way that I cared for him? Friends who understood me well reassured me that I was a good parent and had given him a good life. That got me thinking….wasn’t it him who took care of me? He took me for long walks everyday, giving me the exercise I needed. He was my sounding board, my stress buster, my partner in crime. Even in death, he took care of me…choosing to wait till we came to terms to letting him go. So some part of my fear probably also was from the fact that he was no longer there to take care of me.
Then came the task of telling people that he had crossed over the rainbow bridge. The number of people who visited us or wrote to us made me realize that he not only had a deep impact on my life, but had touched other lives as well. Even till date, some people who don’t know, ask us why is he not to be seen and if walk timings have changed.
Then came the sleepless nights, when there were no paws kicking me at night (Scotty chasing some poor cat or rabbit in his dreams). In all this, I was trying to get back to normal life but the loneliness crept in, despite being surrounded by loving family and friends.
And then suddenly, it was the new year and I who never make resolutions, made one this year. To consciously dwell on the happy memories of the 10 precious years. This was inspired by the thought that Scotty had always brought me happiness and would not have liked to be the cause of any pain to me. In all this I learnt that taking the time to grieve strengthens bonds with the lost one and that being happy is a choice you have to make – immaterial of the circumstances.
The healing process has started. Yes – there are a million times in a day that I still think about Scotty, but not with sadness. In doing this, I am feeling liberated and sense that he is also at peace.
So here is hoping that he is running free across green meadows and wishing the keeper of my heart a very happy birthday!”