On Saturday night, we found a puppy, or more exactly, a puppy found me. We were walking towards our compound’s park when I almost stepped on a furball. Apparently he had been following me for a while. Forgetting our ironclad rule of staying away from stray dogs (rabies you know), I picked him up. Who could resist such a cute little thing?
Within minutes, we named him Jadoo. It is one of the first words of Hindi we picked up, in “Koi Mil Gaya”, a silly yet popular Hrithik Roshan movie. It means “magic” and it fits him perfectly. On a very dark day, when spirits were about as low as they can get, he was a ray of sunshine. Full of fleas and ticks, but sunshine anyway. He fell asleep in our arms immediately and we carried him around all evening. That puppy was pooped! We took him home. We quarantined him in the upstairs laundry room, away from the cats. We fed him milk and soft bread, gave him a soft blanket (our kitten is not pleased since it is “her” blanket), spent the night in a hot room with him curled up next to us and woke up 100 times a night whenever he would whine. And he whines a lot.
What to do, what to do? Our situation is such that we cannot keep a puppy. So we went looking for a home for him.
Free, adorable Indian stray dog to a good home.
I sent tons of messages to friends and colleagues. There are dozens of dogs around, surely someone would want him as 1- he’s cute, 2- he’s so young that he hasn’t picked up any bad stray dog habits.
Nope. Dog discrimination abounds. Classism again. It’s akin to the caste system (see article here). Exotic (foreign) dogs, such as Labradors, German Shepherds or Huskies are popular as they are status symbols. They don’t belong in 100 degree weather (40 degrees centigrade) but are seen on leashes at every corner, usually borderline obese, and often dragged by bored maids or dog walkers (article here). Indigenous dogs are regarded as vermin. Does this look like vermin to you?
We wanted to take him to the vet the next day, but on a Sunday, only a few are open and we were not willing to go for a long ride on the scooter with a canine in a box. A short ride sure would have been fun and a good story to tell, but not 10 kilometers! We took him for several walks instead. He loves to run. Sometimes he would lose his balance and flip over. Hilarious.
On Monday we introduced him to our driver who played with him, held him, and for the first time agreed to pose for a picture with him. He, like many others, warned us that no one would want a stray puppy.
While Sathya was getting the car ready, we took Jadoo for a walk outside the compound and around the clubhouse, a nice lady in a burgundy saree started pointing to him and talking in Kannada, a bit agitated. He obviously knew her. I went back to the house to get Sathya to translate. The workers (read: dirt poor people) had found him and taken care of him. They told Sathya that if we could not adopt him, they would continue to care for him. We really cannot keep him.
That afternoon we took him to the vet who said he’s about 45 days old and gave him all his shots and a vaccination certificate, all for 750 rupees (US$12). We got him puppy food. We took a long nap with him, gave him a flea bath, which he hates, and walked him back to his other home. He cuddled up right away in the woman’s arms. We walked away. We were so distraught that the lady called us back and tried to give him back to me. Once home, I texted Sathya telling him about it and he wrote back “don’t worry Madam, WE can go and see him whenever” (emphasis added). He likes the puppy too!
Jadoo now has two families as one will be able to watch him everyday and one who will come and play, take him to the vet when needed and bring him food so the workers don’t have to share their rice with him. And we’ll bring human food too once in a while.
His other home is within a stone’s throw of our house. That poor thing has been yelping for hours, and most of the night. Of course, every time he whined he broke my heart. We went to play with him this morning. He was easy to find, we just followed the sound of the whining puppy. The workers had put him in the men’s bathroom, a cool place, shaded, with the little bed we had given him. Oh, what a joyous reunion that was! For the first time, he licked me and licked E. and screamed in joy. He wanted none of the chew toys he liked so much yesterday. We took him for a run, put him on our lap, went for a walk, and put him back in the mens’ room. He cried a bit but quickly settled down. We will do that twice a day. It will be good for everybody’s soul.
I have trouble choosing between the present or the past tense when talking about him. He was our puppy then wasn’t our puppy then is still somehow our puppy. If the world didn’t seem to be collapsing around me right now, he would become a full-fledged family member, with two feline sisters. But not now. My current state of mind is certainly not helping with this confusion. Blame it on the meds!
Another blog posts about adopting Indian dogs