Paw News | Sep – Oct 07

Like father like son…obese!

Fat mum and fatty dad…no wonder kids are overweight – our pampered pooches in cities. Pets are inheriting the lifestyle sickness with their masters…and most of them are obese and have health problems related to over weight. While obesity invades people because of their busy lifestyle, idleness makes their pets fat. The nuclear family set up and busy working schedule prevents most of the people to give enough physical activity to their pets and themselves. Obesity brings with it ailments like liver problems, complaints of immobility and breathlessness, which can be highly harmful. Here comes the role of dog trainers and dog walkers, who give regular work-outs to pets. Busy pet parents in metros are now availing services of such people for the betterment of their canine kids.

Meet the dog lakhpathies

Our doggies are our love for life, but what after that? Have you ever given it a thought, what will happen to your pets if something happens to you? Well people like Bhawani Dutt Joshi defiantly do. An Utharanchal-based ex-military official, he gave off his entire wealth including retirement benefits to his two sons, Tikaram and Shivaraj. Before brushing aside this news, let me tell you that Tikaram and Shivaraj are his pet dogs! Even though Joshi had two wives, he could not father a child. And so, he showered all his love and affection on his two pet dogs. And now that he is old, he has formed a committee which would look after his pets after he dies. A true example of eternal love.

Bing! Bing…locating doggies!

Next time, when your pet hides himself, don’t worry. You can find him out easily in a high-tech way… like our Hollywood movies. Bing! Bing…locating doggies! A manufacturer of GPS equipment, Garmin, has developed a micro sensor device named Astro to sense motions and other additions to help owners to track their pets. Astro, which weighs two ounces, has two parts. One is a hand held GPS unit for the owner and the other device is meant to be put on the dog’s collar or harness. The unit on the dog’s collar computes the animal’s location from GPS satellites and radios the information to the owner’s hand-held unit. The dog units also have tiny motion-sensing chips that detect whether the dog is running, sitting or on point. Sounds great…well! hold on that’s not all. In Singapore, all the pets are tagged with microchips as well so that parents can trace their dogs easily…now pooch parenting has really become hitech, what say?

Bow! retirement benefits for us too!

The life after retirement might be a nightmare, if we don’t plan for it. Our serving pooches are worst victims of it. In the absence of proper care, old age becomes the sum total of discomfort and sorrows. But now, the dogs in Tamil Nadu Dog Squad will get a sigh of relief as they come under the pension scheme proposed by the state government. The dogs, after retiring from Dog Squad, were generally auctioned to pet lovers. But seeing the pathetic retirement life of these courageous and hardworking dogs, the government decided to give them a peaceful life by providing regular medical check up, diet and total care. Previously, when the dog reached retirement age, they were immediately sent out of the squad. But now, the scheme also allows them to stay in familiar surroundings and carry out routine exercise, so they can avoid the trauma of a sudden change of life style. A smart way for caring our dauntless canines!

Yummy ice creams for us too!

Scorching summer days and yummy ice cream treats…woof! We just love that. When we are slurping on delicious ice candies, our furry angels often pine for these mouth watery attractions. But not anymore as here’s good news for those who want to enjoy the hot summers with their beloved pets with a cup of ice cream. Pooches in Vienna, Austria are already slurping tasty ice creams at Iori, an ice cream parlour near St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Doggy ice creams are available in three flavours-vanilla, vanilla-rice and soy. After several months’ experiments, Anton Mramor-Leonardini, the owner of Iori, has developed these most suitable doggy ice creams. A sure way to pamper your canine’s taste buds!

Dog trafficking foiled in Assam

Every other day, we come across news of heinous activities conducted for making money. More recently, a few young men in Assam were caught for trafficking stray dogs to Nagaland. They paid Rs 50 per dog to the dogcatchers and later handed them over to the Naga traders for Rs 1000 for each dog, who use these dogs for food.

Recently, People for Animals, under the leadership of Sangeeta Goswami, saved the life of 32 such stray dogs from death, after they came to know these canines had been confined and dumped at Uluoni forest by some local youths. A real encroachment to the life of the hapless! Let’s all unite to make this world a better place for our canine friends.

Look, who’s on the teacher’s podium!!

Look,-who’s-on-the-teacher’s-podium!!

Bholtu

Pooches are our best pals. They are a solace in our sorrows and a song when we are weary. Their attitude has inspired many to make small but important changes in mind, body and spirit. They know and feel our emotions, sorrow and happiness. Your furry friend is not only a bundle of joy but a good teacher too!! A teacher who is assigned for teaching how to live this precious life in a healthy and happy way… Here are a few things we can learn from them.

  1. Exercise (Love it) – A walk on the lap of nature. For you it may be a chore but our canines consider it as a celebration of spirits. It sends them into a frenzy that may include running in enthusiastic circles and charging at us with their leash. Without exercise, both canine and human feel more tired and irritable. For a healthy mind and body, put your pet on leash and dart out for a refreshing walk.
  2. Food (Need it) – Mostly a healthy dog eats what he wants and leaves the rest. They don’t seem bothered by the lack of variety and never eats out of boredom, stress or emotion but for necessity. If more people regarded food as a necessity for their body rather than a replacement for love or excitement, pounds would drop like flies. A perfect way to attain that ideal weight and shape!
  3. Drugs (Don’t need them)– Snowy wakes up perky in the morning without a cup of coffee and can relax at night without a glass of wine or a cigarette. Take this as an inspiration and cut the caffeine, aspirin and nicotine out of your lives. And don’t be surprised when you feel much more energized without them. A healthy way to start and end a day!
  4. Love (Give it without reservation) – Physical affection is one of life’s great pleasures and at times says much more than words. If humans were even half as nice to each other as these furry angels are to us, the world would be a much better place. Anyone can be more generous with compliments and smiles, two forms of affection all of us enjoy. Start spreading love today, in fact now…give a compliment to the person next to you and see the smile spreading.
  5. Loyalty (Give it) – A dog’s most famous trait is loyalty. They growl and bark when strangers come to your house. This willingness to put others before themselves is perhaps the most admirable quality. This quality may not be in order for us humans, but stands up for those who need it. Be loyal to your loved ones!
  6. Fun (Have lots of it) – Rapture yourself fully in the moments of exciting sights, sound and smells… Shed off the mask of seriousness and sing songs to your dogs, dance with him, chase him around the garden and make faces at him. Take time from your busy schedule to do the things you love and you will thank your canine for it along with being a much happier person yourself. There is always time for fun, just live in the moment!
  7. Self-acceptance (Embrace it) – Our four legged furry friends don’t obsess over extra pounds or food between their teeth or what clothes to wear. They’ll roll around in dirt and raise an alarm at something that’s sniff strange. If someone doesn’t like them, they shrug it off and move on. They totally accept themselves and are happy. Take the hint, accept yourself for what you are and stop thinking of what you don’t have.
  8. TV (Get over it) – While you are watching TV, your furry friend watch you looking at the box in a manner that clearly indicates, “Whatever”. Does it ever occur to you, “What am I doing”? It is amazing at how much extra time appears to be in a day when you decrease the TV watching time. So, just switch off the TV, spend some quality time with your family and friends, do that pending task and see how happy you feel at the end of it!

And you thought, only we can teach our canines!

Paw News | Mar -Apr 07

BOWttoms up!

We love to party…and so do our pooches…they also love dance…music…and…BEER… yes! of course…beer. Let us brew some fun together as now there is a special non-alcoholic beer for dogs also, which is made from beef extract and malt. Terrie Berenden, a pet shop owner in the southern Dutch town of Zelhem, has created a beer for our four-legged companions. Berenden consigned a local brewery to make and bottle the non-alcoholic beer, branded as Kwispelbier. “Kwispel” is the Dutch word for wagging tail. So let’s raise the toast together…for our pooches…cheers!

PETernity leaves…a blessing indeed for pet parents

London has given another gift to its pooch lovers, which has been spreading good vibes all over amongst the pet parents, as now there are special peternity leaves for taking good care of their pets. Appreciating the love and bond between a pet and parent, a few companies in London have become liberal and have approved two days annual leave for this cause. Also, one can take work home in case pet needs special care. Just another way to celebrate the human-canine bond!

Yumm…feasting on Rajasthani Lapsi…bow!

Royal Rajasthan is known for its warm hospitality world over, and this time our pooches too got a pinch of it. It was a yummy treat for thousands of pariahs in over 45 villages of desert region of Barmer, when they were treated with delicious Lapsi – a Rajasthani dish – for two days…sounds great…well, tastes too good.

The feast was organised for achieving peace, good harvesting season and brotherhood in the region…and for loving pooches’ blessings too.

Saving pooches…get an oxygen mask

Adversities never come informed…so do calamities. And being a pet parent one has to go that extra mile for the safety of doggies. Thus, little oxygen mask for pets is becoming standard equipment for firemen in US to save our doggies’ life. Countless pets have died in fire, as they are too scared to come out and die because of asphyxia.

It is a cone-shaped plastic mask, which fits snugly… and works wonders in the hour of emergency. Originally developed for the use of vets, they gradually evolved into rescue tools…for our loving canines.

Pooch… serving mother India

It’s a big honour to serve the nation for any one…be it you or me, but only a few lucky ones get a chance. Our pooches have been a part of the Indian Army’s Remount Veterinary Corps (RVC), one of the oldest arms of army, established in 1779. Today, the RVC unit includes Labradors (for sniffing and mine detection) and German and Belgian Shepherds (for guarding, patrolling and tracking), in the average age group of 6 months – 12 years. And, we all are testimony to the bravery acts of our K9s, who have saved lot of people in natural disasters like Tsunami and earthquakes. Besides, we have also heard of our K9s sniffing bombs, drugs and other anti-social elements. The recent Republic Day tableau had active participation from the RVC, where the dogs could be seen with their handlers. Great going young K9s, we salute you!

A gift of life… for Salma… by Diva

Salma Hayek needs no introduction… she is one hot dame, who has left millions breathless with her gorgeous looks. Guess, what happened to her, just an eve before Golden Globe Awards, where she bagged two awards…her pet pooch – Diva saved her life. It so happened while Salma was sleeping and Diva suddenly grabbed her sleeve and woke her up and it was then she realized that there was a gas leak in the house. We all (Salma’s fan) just want to thank Diva for saving our Diva…long live the Divas!

Brave little Bella!

Caesar in the city Ever since I saved Bella from being eaten by a turtle in the river, she follows me around like a little, lost puppy. When I race down the hallway in the morning, she’s right at my heels, slipping and sliding around the corner and into the kitchen. And when I lay my head on Raven’s slipper, Bella lays her head on the other one. She’s a cute kid since country life humbled her. One morning, Raven pulled out The Big Bag. Oh! no. This meant he and Josh were leaving. I put my chin on my paws and began to pout. Raven said, “Don’t look so down, Caesar. You can go too.” Go! My second favorite word – right after “treat”. I wagged my tail slap slap, slap against Raven’s leg. Bella wagged her stubby little tail too and looked at me as if to say, “Why are we wagging our tails, huh huh?”

As we headed down the road, I tried to guess where we were going. Auntie Carissa’s? I sniffed the air for clues. Raven was wearing that smelly stuff he splashes on his neck and face sometimes. He wouldn’t wear it just to go to Auntie Carissa’s house. No, we were headed someplace important.

We drove all day, got out and stretched our legs, then kept going. I was sleeping when I heard Bella begin to squeak and leap around. I growled my “calm down!” growl, but it didn’t work. I sat up and looked out the window to see what all the fuss was about.

Bright lights blinded me, car horns blared, tall buildings blocked out the sky. “We’re here!” Josh said and opened the door.

Where was the grass? And the trees? We hopped out of the car and started down the crowded sidewalk. Feet clomped, slapped, trudged past me. I felt dizzy. Bella took the lead, trotting with her head held high. We came upon a door that went round and round. Raven waved at us and disappeared into the spinning door! I lunged to save him from the fast-moving trap. Josh pulled me back and said, “Caesar, you can’t go.” Can’t – the second worst word in the world, right after “no”.

As we crossed the street, I stepped in a slippery black puddle that smelled bad. Bella walked daintily around it and looked back at me as if to say, “Do what I do.” Oh! no. Little Ms. Confidence was back. My Labrador pride would not allow me to accept a tiny ball of fluff as my leader.

We strolled past buildings that smelled like food. Hey, maybe the city isn’t so bad after all! Soon we came upon a large square of trees and grass. “Nice park!” Josh said. Suddenly, I was surrounded by squirrels! Squirrels gathering nuts under the trees, squirrels jumping off of benches, squirrels leaping through the air! One passed right in front of us and I lunged at it so hard that Josh let go of my leash. I raced like a greyhound after the squirrel. Bella made a sharp, high-pitched yapping noise – her fear bark. What was her problem? She never felt afraid when I chased squirrels at home.

The problem with running like a greyhound is that it’s hard to put on the brakes. All the squirrels had scampered up trees and I had crossed the green square when just ahead of me I saw cars zipping by. A huge bus came screeching at me. It wasn’t going to be able to stop in time and neither was I! I thought I was Labrador lasse for sure when suddenly from behind, something strong and powerful tugged at my tail. It pulled me back away from the street and onto the grass. I turned to look and there was Bella with her chompers on my tail.

Josh was hugging me and patting my head. Bella looked worn out with her pink tongue dangling from the side of her mouth. As we walked out of the park and back to the scary revolving door that had sucked up Raven, I stuck close to Bella and watched how my street-smart sister maneuvered through this crazy, chaotic world – the city.

When Raven met us he was smiling from ear to ear. Something really good must have happened inside. Then Josh looked down at me and I heard him say my name and the word “can’t”. Raven’s smile changed to a frown. I knew why. Raven liked the city. He wanted to stay. But I had ruined it by almost getting run over by that bus. Raven looked so sad and it was all my fault!

It was getting dark and so we stayed in a room. As I stretched out in front of the TV, I thought of a way to convince Raven and Josh that I could handle city life. I would need to learn a few things from Bella first.

Beautiful dogs on stamps:a collector’s pride

Everyone has a hobby or two and if you are a dog lover and a philatelist, then what would you collect? Dog stamps! This is exactly what Vinayak Moorthy does. He has a huge collection of stamps featuring dogs of all breeds, sizes and ages from all over the world. Here’s a peek into his vast collection.

 

An avid animal lover, Vinayak Moorthy has a beautiful collection of over 300 stamps featuring dogs from various countries like India, US, Vietnam, Scandinavia, UK, Germany, China, Tibet, etc. Each stamp has a description of its origin and is filed neatly. It is a real pleasure to see some of the beautiful dogs on these postal stamps. This is indeed a superb way to celebrate our canines.

As Moorthy puts it, “Stamps of butterflies and different models of cars made my childhood colourful. Later, dogs became my favourite and in 1974, I started breeding dogs. My love for dogs prompted me to collect dog stamps six years back and now it has become my passion. The oldest among my collection is a Lhasa Apso breed stamp, issued by Oman in 1971. Besides this, two more stamps I treasure are – a 30-year-old Foxhound and Irish Setter stamp, issued by Cuba in 1976, and the other is issued by Mongolia in 1978, featuring GSD and Labrador. In spite of having stamps from different countries, my favourites are stamps featuring Indian breeds.”

So how do Moorthy collects stamps? “I have lots of friends in different countries and they play a major role in widening my hobby. I also buy stamps through Stamp Associations,” he added.

Moorthy has exhibited his collection in various stamp exhibitions and also at schools. How do dog lovers react to his collection? “Oh! It’s overwhelming. I received huge appreciation when I displayed my prized possession at International Dog Show, conducted by Kennel Club, in Chennai. I still cherish their warm response,” replied Moorthy.

Giving tips to people who collect dog stamps, Moorthy said, “Just like bringing up a pet, a philatelist also has thirst for collecting pet stamps. You should be aware of the breed and origin of the dog and then you can actually treasure your collection.” Just as Moorthy, who finds pride in his own collection!

Caesar and Little Ms. Confidence

What happens when the lil’ baby of the house gets a new sibling? Sibling rivalry? This is what happened to Caesar when Raven and Josh brought home Ms. Confidence. But, all is well that ends well and soon she found a secure place in Caesar’s heart.

Ever since Raven and Josh picked me up off the streets, I’ve lived the good life in a cozy cottage surrounded by a lush, green forest with a river winding through the middle. The river is my all-time favorite place. I can’t get enough of the water! I guess that’s the Labrador Retriever in me.

Life was better than ever. That is why I never could have guessed that fifteen pounds of fluff would come waltzing into my life and disturb my peace completely. But that’s just what happened one rainy day at the end of summer.

When Raven bent down to put on my collar and leash I got excited. Oh boy! A walk in the rain; splashing in puddles and digging in mud! But then the door swung open and there stood a round lady with a little, fluffy dog wearing a shiny collar.

Raven and Josh petted the little dog and said, “Hello Bella,” over and over again. I hoped the little ball of fluff would leave, and soon my hopes were dashed, when the lady got up and put her coat on, patted the little dog on the head and left without her! I watched fretfully as the sun disappeared behind the mountains. Unfortunately, the ball of fluff didn’t disappear.

At bedtime, Raven and Josh folded a blanket and laid it in the corner. But instead of going to the new blanket, the brat pranced over to MY blanket and lay down. I gave a loud sigh and plopped down with my chin on my front paws in perfect pout position.

The next two days, the rain never let up. I gazed through the window at the drooping tree branches and the quiet street and wondered if life would ever get back to normal. By now, Little Ms. Confidence was strolling through the house as if she owned it. One night, I was on my after-dinner kitchen patrol, sniffing around the floor near the stove. Bella pounced on the tiny morsel of chicken I had been about to lick up. I growled a low growl, but she pretended not to notice. She just sauntered over to the trash can. BAM! Bella let the lid slam down. From another room, Josh shouted, ‘Out of the garbage!” Then he came into the kitchen, but by that time the little brat had scooted out of the way, leaving me closest to the garbage. Josh muttered, “Caesar, you’re setting a bad example for your new little sister.” Little sister? Never!

When she stole my favorite squirrel toy, I was ready to howl in despair. But then the sun came out and with it my leash. Josh said the magic words: “Let’s go for a walk.” The fact that Bella was coming along didn’t stop my tail from wagging. The air was filled with tantalizing smells after the rain: musty leaves, fresh grass, and tangy pine needles. Life was good again. As we started down a dirt path, a frog hopped in front of us and Bella jumped backward, her fur standing on end. Afraid of a little frog! How silly!

Just ahead of us, an enormous gray bird fluttered up and away. Bella crouched down on her belly and put her paws over her head. I was beginning to understand. Bella was a city girl and all this country stuff was scaring the fleas out of her. I stuck out my chest and held my head high.

Once we reached the edge of the river, Raven and Josh spread a blanket in the grass and sat down. I did my usual leap into the shimmering coolness. Bella was watching. I began to swim in wide circles. I noticed out of the corner of my eye when Bella stuck one paw in the river, then another. I could tell she was trying to follow me. She waded out to the part where the sandy bottom disappears. That’s when she started flailing her legs every way. Raven and Josh weren’t paying attention. Frantically, she pawed her way toward a rock in the water. The rock moved and Bella let out a squeak. The “rock” was a slimy, brown turtle and he wasn’t at all happy about being mistaken for a rock.

Bella’s eyes flashed raw fear and she looked at me. I swam over to her as fast as I could and gave her a strong nudge toward the shore. When she started to panic and sink, I gave another nudge until finally she climbed out onto the sand. She looked like a half-drowned rat.

Raven and Josh appeared at the river’s edge. “Oh look. They went swimming together!” Raven said happily.

As we walked back home, Bella followed close to me. She shook like a leaf the whole way. As soon as her leash was off, she went straight to her blanket in the corner and curled up. I picked up my squirrel toy, trotted over to her and set it down beside her. I couldn’t wait to teach her how to chase real squirrels! Bella touched my nose with hers and her big, brown eyes glistened.

Who knows? Having a little sister might not be so bad after all. I guess time will tell.

Stars with a difference! Kool K9!

Undoubtedly, dogs are lovable, regardless of breed, size and age. But, some  are ordained to become famous, and what keeps them apart from others is their attitude and loving nature. Here are a few dogs, who have created history and will always be remembered with fondness.

Playful Pluto
Pluto – Bloodhound, the best buddy of Mickey Mouse, is friendly and loyal. His playfulness and good spirits always make him a lovable pooch. His eagerness to please Mickey makes him even more adorable. Pluto likes to be rewarded for a job well done. Kindhearted and faithful Pluto made his debut in 1930 in ‘The Chain Gang’. Playing with chipmunks and other animals, chasing balls…he loves
to do and says: “Grrr …” “Snort!” “Sniff, sniff, sniff …”
“Bark! Bark!”

Gold hearted Goofy
Goofy is a happy-go-lucky pooch with a heart of gold; his never-say-die attitude made him a big star. Optimistic and enthusiastic, with loads of positive attitude made him shine, he became an official mascot for the 1980 French Olympic team, 1981 spokesman for the German Sportlife Fund, and 1983 mascot for the first Wimbledon Tennis Jr. World Championship. The Goof’s message was, “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose; just get up, try, and, most of all, have fun” a-hyuck, a- hyuck…

Smart Scooby-Doo
Scooby-Doo, a comically nervous Great Dane, with four teenagers, Fred “Freddie” Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, and Norville “Shaggy” Rogers spent hours hunting ghosts or finding the rational behind mysteries involving ghost and supernatural forces. While doing this, he won the hearts of million across the world. These Ghostbusters drove around in a van called the Mystery Machine and named their gang – Mystery Inc. In 2002 Scooby-Doo hit the big screen and there also the applause was same. Kudos, Scooby!

My personal ordeal

One thing that I had never thought was that a small mistake would cost me so dear. It all started when one day I happened to see the main gate of my house left slightly open. I suddenly wanted to be adventurous and I ventured out for a little walk – all by myself.
I had barely strolled for a while when a burly looking man suddenly picked me up. I was rendered speechless by fear. In retrospect, I think maybe if I had screamed my lungs out, someone would have noticed.
Before I knew it, I was being taken away from the familiar locality to some strange area. He finally entered a house and I noticed to my horror, a woman coming towards me with a pair of scissors. Before I could react, she had chopped off my beautiful hair and I felt totally skinned and vulnerable. They then tried to feed me some milk but I was too frightened to eat. They then left me alone in a dark room and I slipped under the bed for some comfort. God, how I wanted to be out of there, and back in my cozy bed, in the arms of my family!!!
It went on like this for a few days. And then suddenly one day, I heard a familiar voice. “It’s papa’s voice!!!” I realized. But it seemed too good to be true. I waited for him to come up and rescue me, but nothing happened..
But the next day, I heard that same comforting voice again and my heart leapt up. I prayed to God and promised Him that I shall always be a good girl.
I think He heard my prayers because very soon, I heard that voice coming closer. Soon I was dragged out and lo and behold, it was Papa!!! He rushed forward to hug me and I was overwhelmed with joy. He took me in his arms and soon we were heading home. When I reached home, I got such a warm welcome that I couldn’t stop whimpering and whining.
For me, my rescue was nothing less than a miracle. I knew I was very lucky to have parents who left no stones unturned to find me. And now every time when I pray to God before sleeping, I thank Him for saving me and I also pray that all those dogs who are lost or have been stolen, have parents like mine, who Never Gave Up On Me!!!!

Dognapping with happy ending

“People often accept the loss of their pet and move on. But that’s wrong. We won’t do that for our kids, then how can we lose our four-legged kids just like that,” says Sherry Sharma. It was a lapse of barely 20 minutes – but it made time standstill for the whole family. The main gate had been left open by mistake and it took someone no time to notice that the little Cordelia had ventured outside, unattended.

By the time the family realized the missing baby, she had already gone far away from them. Frantic search parties were set out in all possible directions to look for her. A watchman, who had been on duty some few houses down the road, said he had seen such a dog close to where he was sitting. Before he could even realize, a man walked up and picked up the dog, saying he had been looking for his dog.

The whole day, Sudhir looked everywhere but in vain. In the meantime, without wasting time, Sudhir and Sherry immediately got in touch with the local cable operator and had the scroller on their missing dog running throughout, with a cash reward announced as well. The kids were beyond consolation and Shivani, their daughter, who was very attached to Cordelia, cried relentlessly.

The next day, Sherry and Sudhir decided to go full throttle again. The couple distributed fliers and posters were put up in their locality and adjoining areas. And yet, there was no news of Cordelia.

They also contacted all the vets they could think of and even got in touch with the animal NGOs, but to no avail. For the couple, it was a very traumatic experience, because they had to keep a brave front before the kids. The minute Sudhir would see Shivani’s eyes – expectant and empty – he would go out again. “I couldn’t bear to look at her face. It was an expression I cannot forget,” he added. But the couple refused to give up. Sudhir would diligently go out every day and ask each person in the area, for any news of Cordelia. Sherry on her part, called up every one she knew, for some help. “I refused to give up. I was determined to find Cordelia, no matter what,” she said.

Then on the sixth day, a friend from an NGO told Sherry to get in touch with a lady called Renu Sharma. She said the lady would be able to help her since she had a similar experience a few months ago. After listening to the whole story, Renu advised Sherry to go to Kotla and look for the dog. “It’s a place where most stolen dogs are kept. They are either sold off or kept for breeding. I found my dog there and I hope you do too,” she said. Within minutes, Sherry called up Sudhir and he was on his way to Kotla with one of his friends.

It was after hours that someone said he had seen a similar dog in a house down the road (he gave them the exact location). Sudhir and his friend rushed to where they were directed. But on reaching there, when they asked about Cordelia, they were met with strict resistance. “What nonsense is this? We don’t have your dog,” they kept saying. When Sudhir refused to move, they got a male dog of the same breed.

Totally dejected, Sudhir and his friend made their way home. By now, much as he hated to admit it, Sudhir had lost all hope. And he couldn’t bear to go home and face the crestfallen faces of his family again. But the next day, Sherry kept insisting that he go to Kotla again. “Let us at least try our best,” she said. He understood and went back there again. In Kotla, his friend stopped at an optician to get his glasses mended, the person at the counter said softly, “You are looking for your dog, aren’t you?” “Yes, why? Have you seen the dog anywhere?” asked Sudhir, his heart beating faster than ever. “Yes, I have, it’s at the same house where you went looking yesterday. I was there when you came,” he added.

“But we saw the dog. It’s a male one, not ours,” said Sudhir. “That’s the other one. Yours is on the first floor, under the bed. Go and look for her,” he said. Sudhir thanked him and promised to deposit the cash reward as soon as he got the dog. Then they practically ran to the house they had visited earlier. They demanded to go and check the dog on the first floor and threatened to call the police if they didn’t comply. Somehow, the family realized that the men meant serious trouble, and they finally relented. They all went up and finally pulled out Cordelia, from under the bed. Sudhir let out a groan when he saw his little girl. They had chopped off the hair on her body and ears and she had lost a lot of weight. She let out a squeal of delight when she saw Sudhir who ran forward to hold her and couldn’t wait to get back home. “More than anything, I couldn’t wait to see Shivani’s reaction,” he said.

When he came home with Cordelia, it was like coming from a battlefield with the crown. The whole family was ecstatic and couldn’t stop screaming and shouting in celebration. And now, after the nightmare ended, Sudhir said a lot of credit for recovering Cordelia went to Sherry. “She was sure we will find her. She left no stones unturned. It was almost like she was possessed and would think of nothing but ways and means to find Cordelia. If not her, I would have given up long back,” he added.

On her part, Sherry said she never allowed herself to accept the fact that Cordelia was lost. “We have to be aggressive in our approach, our search. People often accept the loss and move on. But that’s wrong. We won’t do that for our kids, then how can we lose our four-legged kids just like that,” she said.

Sudhir and Sherry have proved to be “pet parents” in the true sense. The key in such cases is – Never Give Up, if you lose your pet. The road will be difficult and stormy, but if you try really hard, you will get your four-legged family member back – to light up your life with pure joy, all over again…

The Homecoming

A dog is man’s best friend and it is a legacy that is passed on from generation to generation. Rusty sacrificed his life for his human friends, will Rocky, his son, live up to his father’s loyalty… Come Rocky, shouted his mother. “You must be hungry.” But there was no sign of Rocky. His mother shook her head in exasperation. He was such a naughty pup; she didn’t know what to do with him. He was out playing all day, and though she had asked him not to venture out too far, she knew with his curiosity, it won’t be long before he went too far…and too near the old bungalow!!! She dreaded even thinking about that.

Never mind, she thought. He would come when he got tired. She had no strength to chase after him. Besides she knew that Rocky could take care of himself. There were times when she felt he would turn out to be a better hunter than Rusty, his father. He was after all, the son of a fine breed hound, and had his power; she was a stray and would have died long back, if not for Rocky’s father coming into her life. She still remembered it all so clearly. It was a wet September morning. It had been raining continuously for the past four days and the air was biting cold. She was shivering, standing near a roadside bench when Rusty and his master, an impressive colonel, passed by. She was scared and wanted to move, but realised that she had no strength to do so. Rusty almost passed, but when she managed to glance up at him, if only for a fleeting moment, he caught her eyes. He saw into those pitiful weak eyes and he could not take his eyes off her. The colonel and the beautiful hound reached the end of the road, and then tuned left. That was the last she would see off them?–?off anyone, she thought.

But she was so wrong. Rusty went back home to the colonel’s big bungalow, and sat down with the colonel’s family of three sons for tea. He was served a hot cup of milk with bread, an ideal meal for a wet cold morning. But Rusty could not eat. He could only see those lovely, hungry and weak eyes. Seeing that the colonel was immersed in the newspaper, the cook busy in the kitchen and the servant boy nowhere in sight, Rusty took the bread in his mouth and slipped out quietly. Then he ran, as fast as he could, to those eyes.

And there she was. He put the bread full of hot milk in front of her and she gorged it down. It felt so good and after ages, she felt alive. Once she finished, he got up and told her to follow him. She did, silently, and that was the first time she came to the bungalow. But she did not follow the dog inside the house. She quietly went to the far end of the garden, which was close to the kitchen. That was where she spent the night peacefully after a long time.

The next morning, the maid saw her first. Getting ready to be shooed out, Rocky’s mother almost dragged herself up. But suddenly she saw the maid returning with a plate of food, which she placed in front of her. And since then that small corner behind the kitchen, in the far end of the garden where almost no one ever came, Rocky’s mother found a new home. Rusty found her the next day, and from then on, they were a part of each other’s life. Rusty would sneak out whenever he could and spend time with her. They were very happy together and life seemed blissful. But alas, not for long.

It was on one such night when Rusty was with her that everything changed. They were enjoying the peace and quiet, when Rusty suddenly sprang up. He had heard something near the bungalow gate. He immediately rushed out and they were waiting for him- the two men who had been eyeing the bungalow for long now. They threw poisoned meat at him, but Rusty pounced on them with full force. Taken aback, they shot at him twice. In the silence of the night, the shots sounded like bombs and within minutes, the whole house woke up. The colonel also fired back at the men, but it was too late. The men had run away, but Rusty had caught the bullet in his stomach.

The shock was too much for her. Her heart sank with all the noise and she knew Rusty was no longer with her. She gave birth to Rocky the very next day. The maid took her to see Rusty’s grave which colonel had made for him, but she could not bear it. She hated colonel, because she had lost her Rusty because of him. She never wanted her Rocky to go anywhere near him. Every time she recalled that day, her feet turned cold. But she feared that one day Rocky would venture near the bungalow and she would lose him too.

Her thoughts were broken by the loud barking of her darling baby. “Mother!” he yelled, and she couldn’t help smiling. “And mom, I also saw two boys playing in the far end of the garden, near the bungalow. I so much want to play with them. May I?” he asked.

“No, never. You must never go near that bungalow. That was where your father died and I don’t want you going anywhere close, do you understand?” she asked sternly. He nodded sulkily and then hugged her. She was still worried, but could not think of leaving the place, which she had shared with Rusty.

One night, Rocky was busy strolling near the bungalow. He could not sleep and decided to walk a little further. Mom was asleep and she would have no idea, he thought. Slowly he walked on and noticed the watchman sitting sloppily in his chair and yawning away. “What a watchman,” thought Rocky. He was about to turn back when he heard something. “Psst..” said someone and Rocky noticed two men near the gate. “Sir do you have a match?” asked one. The watchman nodded and came over to the gate. He handed them a matchbox and they in turn offered him a cigar. The watchman’s eyes sparkled and he immediately began puffing on it. But before Rocky understood what was happening, he saw the watchman fall to the ground. The two men immediately pulled out the bundle of keys from his pocket and opened the gate. They knew the colonel was out and the cook and the servants were all asleep. They were pleased that they finally got their chance again to rob the bungalow. Six months ago, a stupid faithful hound had spoiled their neat plans.

But suddenly, something pounced on them and they couldn’t help but shriek out. They were just not prepared for the attack. One of them managed to flash his torch and he yelled out again. How was it possible? It was the same old hound that they had killed six months ago. They started firing again and Rocky began barking at the top of his voice even as he bit into the arm of the man wielding the gun. The gun dropped and the other man rushing to save his buddy also met the same fate. He cried out in pain and the other began yelling out to run. By now all the lights of the bungalow were on. There were people running from everywhere- the colonel’s sons, the cook, the servant and the maid were all there. But by now, the thieves had lost consciousness and the servants immediately tied them up and took them inside, while the cook called the police.

But the colonel’s two boys couldn’t move. They stood staring at the fine strong hound in front of them, looking at them with all the love in the world. “My God, it’s Rusty. Our Rusty is back. He has come back to us,” they screamed in delight.

“No boys. This is not Rusty. This is his son Rocky,” said the maid proudly.

But it didn’t matter. The boys ran to hug Rocky and he squealed in delight as he licked their face. The boys cried and he licked their tears. He was home, finally – to his family. The maid then took all of them to meet Rocky’s mother. The boys hugged her too and asked the maid to get them all home to the bungalow. The colonel, who had been called back immediately, made a beautiful room for Rocky’s mother, but the boys would not let Rocky go out of their sight. He was now a favourite of the colonel and the boys and everyone loved him more than their own lives. And when Rocky’s mother saw Rocky playing with the boys and being pampered by them, she sighed in relief and joy. She knew she was wrong to think that the colonel had forgotten Rusty. He was as heartbroken by his death as she was. But now, things were fine. They were home, safe and secure, with the family that Rusty loved more than his own life. She knew that Rusty would finally be at peace now.