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.

Please don’t go away!

Pets are like family members, and the mere thought of losing him is a nightmare in itself! Here’s a real life story of a family who lost their beloved pet and how Dr. Deepa Katyal helped them find him. It was Sunday?–?an off-day for me. The shrill cry of telephone announced something. “It is an emergency,” said the man over the phone. I was told that a mongrel was found outside my clinic, and he sounded a little anxious. I rushed to my clinic and the sight really disturbed me. The listless dog lay in his own vomit inside the building compound. I quickly carried him into the clinic with the help of my friend and assistant Malaika. The dog was dehydrated. I gave him some medicines that would help him at the moment, along with an antacid.

After administering the required first aid, I examined the dog properly. And I was surprised to find that he was not a mongrel but a Mudhol Hound?–?an exotic, indigenous breed whose roots could be traced to a little village in Bijapur district of Karnataka. This is one rare breed that even most dog-lovers are unaware of.

There was nothing else to do medically. So, we arranged to keep the dog without a leash within the building premises. Milk and some food were served, but the dog was too weak to show any interest in eating. After having taken the necessary care, I went back home.

When I reached my clinic the next morning, the hound was nowhere to be seen. I enquired about him to the people within the premise of my clinic. Apparently, the dog had regained some strength, drank the milk, and wandered off sometime after we left the clinic. I felt happy at the thought that he recovered. I got busy with my day’s work, and it did not occur to me that I should be searching for the dog.

Three days later, I went to the Parel animal hospital to attend a meeting of the Bombay SPCA. While I was there for the meeting, my eyes fell on a poster of a ‘missing’ dog, which showed the same ‘mongrel’ I had treated on Sunday! When I told a colleague that I had seen the ‘missing dog’ at my clinic in Chembur, he told me that I must have mistaken. But I was certain that it was the same hound. I noted that the missing animal was from Dadar, 10 km from Chembur (where my clinic is), and belonged to a lawyer, Mr Jadhav. I called up Mr. Jadhav and talked to him. The dog’s name was Bruno, and the description he gave matched the animal I had treated.

The same evening, the lawyer and his wife reached my clinic with more pictures of Bruno. Then I had no doubt at all. We began a frantic search everywhere in the locality. All evening and well into-the-night, I kept calling one person after another, asking if any of them had seen any dog matching Bruno’s description. The responses gave cause for hope. Several said they spotted a dog resembling Bruno; but none could exactly tell where he might be.

Bruno’s family was exhausted but did not lose hope. Their love for Bruno kept them going. They went home, only to return the next morning and resume the search. Eventually their faith and persistence paid off. They found him the next day, all emaciated, dehydrated, and weak. But Bruno was mightily pleased that God has reunited him with his family!

The lawyer and his wife could not contain their happiness when they found Bruno. But one thing remained a mystery. To this day, no one could know how Bruno travelled 10 km away from home to a place he had never been before. But he succeeded in saving himself from peril, and that was all that mattered. Today, he is back in the familiar environs of Dadar, among people who love him.

But not every lost pet’s story has a happy ending like Bruno’s. So, one should take care to avoid losing him in the first place. One practical way to keep track of one’s pet is by putting a proper identity collar around the pet’s neck with the pet’s name, the owner’s name, possibly address, and contact numbers. You never know when your pet might need it.

In case your pet goes missing, despite all cares, here are some steps to follow that may increase your chances of finding them?:

  • Begin a search of your pet inside your house (they might have got stuck somewhere), and then your neighbourhood. Ask postmen, delivery people, children, or vendors if they have seen your dog.
  • Carry the search further by filing a complaint about your missing pet with the local police station. You never know who will turn up with some information about your beloved pet.
  • Request all the local veterinarians to put up pictures of your pet in their clinics. The people who are more likely to notice a lost animal are those who love animals and generally own a pet themselves.
  • Put up ‘missing’ posters of your pet in as many public areas as possible around the place where your pet was last seen. The poster should definitely list your telephone numbers.
  • Contact the municipal dog squad, local NGOs working for animals, as well as your local chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Give them pictures of your pet.
  • You can also put advertisements of your missing pet in your local newspapers.

Remember to add all relevant details of your pet, particularly his picture, name (in case someone finds it, the pet is likely to respond to his name), age, sex, and your contact information. But withhold the identifying marks and characteristics of your lost pet when you post flyers or posters; you may need to verify them if a person calls you.

But to give a word of caution, one should be careful in receiving calls from people about your pet. First, ask the details and the descriptions of how, when, and where the dog was found. Some people might just want to mislead you for money.

(Dr. Deepa Katyal, MVSC (Mumbai), MVSt (Australia) is a veterinary practitioner from Chembur, Mumbai. She is the CEO of K-9 Klub for dog lovers. She can be contacted at 9819742557.)

NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS

New Year resolutions by tail waggers A new year makes me feel a whole new beginning in my life. One year of our life is equivalent to seven years of human life. And so, a new year holds much more importance for us than for the human counterparts. I am lucky to be in a world, which is reasonably full of people who absolutely love, adore and pamper us?–?so much so that in our very short life span, we manage to live our life to the fullest.

This year, I have compiled the following list of a few things that I would want to change — for myself and for the others in my orbit :

I shall?try and not wake my ‘parent’ (yes, that’s how my owner insists I call her) very early in the morning. I love to go out for my early walk, but I see that she has a lot of trouble leaving her warm cosy bed to take me out.

I shall?try and be more active in catching the small rats in the house.

I HAVE?also decided I shall not run away from the house whenever the main gate is left open by mistake. Though I love that occasional thrill of being on my own, going wherever I feel like, and sniffing whatever catches my fancy, I am aware that my parent is not so happy about it. So, I shall stay put till she takes me out herself.

my new?Year resolution would be to share. I would not be overly possessive about my toys, bowls, leash, etc.

I have?also decided to strike a peace deal with the milkman who comes home every morning to deliver milk to my family. If not for him, my parents would have to go all the way to the milk booth.

I shall?try and refrain from occupying the prime spot which is the main sofa in the house, which is also the heart of all activities, by which I keep myself updated.

I MUST?make sure to shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house. Though I love the attention I get whenever I do that, something tells me they are not too happy about it.

I PROMISE?I shall not insist on having the car window rolled down when it’s raining outside. Much as it is enjoyable for me, I notice that it makes my parents very annoyed and upset.

I shall?also try and not use the house sofa and curtains as my face towel, even though I love rubbing against its soft surface.

I shall?also try and keep a diary for where I put my things. I realize I am becoming forgetful and so whenever I need to retrieve anything I have hidden away safely, I have to turn the whole house upside down.

And while there are many other resolutions that I can pen down, I know I won’t be able to pride myself on my will power. So for now, I shall try to work on these resolutions for New Year, and hope all of you out there, work on your resolutions too. Here’s wishing all of you a Very Happy New Year. Woof Woof !!!.

New Year resolutions by pet parents

My four-legged family member knows he is really loved and pampered. But even then, there are times when I realize that I don’t give him as much time and attention that he truly deserves. He does not demand anything from me but that does not mean he does not need anything. Which is why this New Year I have resolved certain things that I need to do for him?: I shall?not scream at him. He is such a baby and I shall try and remember that when he is playful, he is not able to discriminate between what is harmful and what is not. And so, I shall pet proof my house, and stash away everything that might hurt him. That way, he will not harm and be harmed. I love?him so much but there are so many things that I don’t know about him. Now I have decided I shall study about his breed and the specific things they love to do. Believe it or not, different breeds have different likings and once we pet parents are aware of it, life will be so much more enjoyable. I can actually spend more quality time with my pet by doing fun things together.

I HAVE?also decided that I shall contribute regularly to the animal shelter homes. After all, these organisations are doing what I would love to do, but don’t have the resources and time to do. And which is why I am going to try and do whatever little I can to help them in their beautiful endeavour.

I shall?also take my pet out for exercises and make him stay fit and healthy. The best part is, I have decided to make sure we do it together. That way, we will not only be regular, but will get to spend a lot of fun time with each other.

I shall?not postpone my visits to the veterinarian. There is no way my dear pet can tell me what’s wrong with him. And so I shall make sure that his regular check ups don’t suffer.

I shall?never neglect his grooming and shall make sure that if I don’t have time and energy for it, I shall take him to a salon where he can be given the luxurious massage, grooming and the best treatment that he deserves. After all, his good looks will not only make my four-legged friend happy, it will also reflect my good taste and care.

I shall?always make sure he gets to eat the best food possible. As far as possible I shall try and get the combination of taste and protein right in his diet. And since I know what kind of flavour gets him most excited, I shall try and feed him that as much as possible.

Last but?not the least, I shall make sure I get some sort of identification tag for him. God forbid, if he ever gets lost or something happens to him, everyone should know where his family lives. Even though I shudder to think of it, it’s better to take practical steps.

And I promise myself, I shall do all that I have resolved to do this time. Only God know how much I love my dog, and I shall make sure I give him not only all my love and care, but all the very best in life that he deserves. After all, he has filled my life with nothing but joy and I want to do everything that is humanly possible for that sweet lick of his, for that frantic wagging of tail, and that “woof” of delight every time he sees me. This New Year, I shall devote my resolutions to the most beautiful of God’s creations?–?my adorable four-legged canine kid.

A trip to remember WOOF…

A trip to remember WOOF…

A vacation with your pet? Seems a brilliant and bindaas idea! But, the problem lies in identifying dog-friendly places. Sparkle with his family went to Naukuchiatal and had a wonderful time. Here’s an account of their trip …

From Sparkle’s diary…

Hey guys, remember me? I am Sparkle and some time back, I promised to share my most memorable experience with my family. And here it goes… One day when I woke up, I was a bit sad to see those dreadful bags again, bags with which sometimes my mom disappears and sometimes my dad. This time, I wondered who will be away? I saw excitement in the house. There was a flurry of activities and surprisingly, I saw that my stuff was being packed too. Their excitement got the better of me and I ran all around the house. Next morning, to my utter surprise and amazement, I was woken up at 5 in the morning (my family is a late starter and wake up only after 7). I was excited and thought that something good is going to happen and I got it – my folks were going out and the best part of it was that I was going too. We took a small walk before settling in the car. I had the backseat of the car all to myself and my mom and dad settled in the frontseat. Our journey started at 6 am and something inside me churned and told me that I was going to have a whale of time and I was right. After a few hours, we stopped to eat something and there, for the first time in my life, I saw a pair of waddling feet in the pond, which I later learnt belonged to a duck. To my utter amazement, I saw the biggest garden I had ever seen with scurrying bunnies – I really wanted to chase them but was strictly advised by my mom not to. I felt I was in heaven and was curious to know what other surprises lay ahead of me.

It seemed like a long drive but I enjoyed every bit of it – I would snooze, then wake, we would stop for a short time, I would stretch my legs and sniff all the new smells. It was just wonderful! My head was buzzing with smells of all kinds. Then, we started on winding tracks, the weather became cool and we rolled down our windows to immerse ourselves in those serene and lovely surroundings. Boy, wasn’t that amazing- the fresh mountain smell- a far cry from what we get in cities. I could feel the rain and I could even see the clouds rolling in. I had the urge to jump out and run to my heart’s content – but the car did not stop. Maybe there was much more in store for me!

A short while later, we reached our destination and lo and behold, I saw my dream location. I was not aware that such a place existed. After completing the formalities for checking-in, we went to our log hut – and it sure was awesome – the best part was it had a garden right in front. As soon as we kept our luggage inside, I wanted to dash out and play in the greens. The scenic beauty was marvellous – the birds, the squirrels, the flowers, not to mention mud and all those smells drove me wild with joy – I had never spent an afternoon in total madness and that was just too good. I ran to my heart’s content, playing ball and catch and catch, not to forget fetch with my folks. We also went for a long walk in the wood and I saw a stream on the way too. I felt important and pampered. It was a great feeling! I didn’t wanted to sleep and my parents were very surprised. After romping around, we came back and settled in our room for a lil’ nap. I was too happy to sleep – I just sat by the glass window and gazed out thinking God has given us a beautiful world.

The evening was even better. Suddenly, the lights went off and it was pitch dark. Luckily, we were at our hut. Somebody approached us with a flash light in hand, my guarding instincts came alive and I warned him to stay away from me and my family. My mom stroked me gently and told me that he was the night watchman and he had come to put on the generator. That calmed me down. After that, we ate verociously and went to sleep, tired but extremely happy.

The second day dawned and my expedition began right after breakfast. I walked and romped all over, digging and running. And then I heard a debate going on among my parents. It focused on should we or should we not take Sparkle. Luckily, the decision was in my favour and you won’t believe it, I went for BOATING, something I had never imagined.

That one-hour ride on the boat made my day – the clouds rolled in – I sniffed the mountain air. I could not get over the glassy effect of the water and kept gazing and thinking, “Lord, please give me more such holidays.” After the boat ride, it was time to catch the driftwood and I had my first experience with my paw in the lake. The first time I put my paw on the lake, I felt that the surface was not like the normal earth. I kept pedalling to check where the ground was and then I saw my mom diving right in and calling me to join her. Lil’ did she realise that she is tall and I am short! My sixth sense warned me not to follow her. But, I did not miss the fun and went in till I was submerged half in water and tried to catch the wood with its peculiar taste, smell and feel. It was simply mind-blowing.

The resort itself was really great and the staff was very friendly and happy to have me as their guest. I got the same treatment as my mom and dad. I was even allowed at the restaurant. I wish I can go there again, and also wish that everyone should take their lil’ darlings too to this amazing place.

But as they say that all good things come to an end so did my trip and after two days we were on our way back. On reaching back home, I was a lil’ sad and quiet – my folks were worried about me. They gifted me two days of enjoyment and coming back to normal life meant end of fun.

As if reading my thoughts, my mom assured me that they will take me again sometime later and even promised me more holidays at new destinations. I willbe too happy to share my new experiences with you. So take care and bon voyage to you all………….Woof!

These are a few of my favourite things… Merry X’mas!!!

Come Christmas and everybody looks forward to the gifts Santa Claus would bring for us. This Christmas, Amrita asked her four-legged family member Heera  to pen down his wish list. And here he goes…

When I first heard Audrey Hepburn sing “These are a few of my favourite things” in the evergreen movie “My Fair Lady”, I never thought I’d have an occasion to present my own list some day. But you know what they say, “Every dog has his day”, and I got mine too. This Christmas, my dear owner in my eyes, is no less beautiful than Audrey Hepburn herself, has asked me for a list of 10 things that I want from Santa Claus. And God! I can’t wait to get started.
The first and foremost thing I want is to have my own bean bag, in front of the television. With my own Bean Bag, I can be a part of the prime time audience.
I also want to have my own car and a driver, so that I can go for long drives as and when I want. Oh what fun would it be, to just hop on to the back seat of a convertible, have the wind blowing in my face and to have no one pushing me to the extreme corner of the car seat. I can’t wait to lie back and say to myself, “Now that’s the way to live!!!”
One thing I always dream of is to have a cupboard full of dog bones, in all flavours—chicken, pork, mutton, egg and even fish!!! I can chew on it all day and treat my palate to my heart’s leisure. That’s called getting a real taste of life!!!!
Another thing that has always been a secret passion for me is to have a cat in my captivity. But something tells me, this wish of mine will remain a wish considering my owner goes “Oh chooo chweet” every time she sees a cat at her window sill, sitting majestically - much to my rising blood pressure!!!
One thing I have always dreamt doing is to fly first class. After all, my owner has always made me feel that I deserve the best!!! I would love to lie back in the comfy cosy chairs I see in the television ads, be served chicken/mutton soup, with chop lambs and a jug of my favourite milk that I can keep lapping up while admiring the clouds and the sky outside. I would love to be on cloud nine literally, this X’mas.
I also want a nice big bed all to myself. Even though I have been provided a decent bed and I am practically the master of the whole house (at least my owner tells me so), I still would love to have a master bed, where I can sleep without having to worry about stretching too much. Sometimes, I feel I don’t manage to catch the other dogs and cats in my dreams, because I don’t have that much of space to run while dreaming.
I also desperately need a mobile phone. You might not believe me, but I do have quite a few local friends. They are cool dudes and it’s nice to meet them when I go for my walks. But there are times when I’m getting bored in the house. No cat or mouse in the house to hold my attention and no maids or squirrels to bark at. That’s when you feel like just calling up your friends.
I would love to have my own personal shrink. There are so many things I want him to analyse for me, especially my dreams. I want to know why I only dream of cats and dogs and chasing them unsuccessfully all over town. I wonder if I have any karmic debts to settle with them or is it just my ID, my ego or the super ego that is causing me so much of heartburn.
You might find this funny but I would also love to have a skateboard for myself. You know how it is. Sometimes you just feel so tired. I do want to go out for a walk, but I somehow don’t have the energy to walk. At such times, it must be such fun to just step on to the skateboard and look around. Now that would be a real smooth walk, don’t you think???? And last, but not the least, I would like to have my own ATM card. There are times when you feel like indulging in something particular, but my owner does not understand exactly what I want. That’s when I feel my ATM card would be very useful. I can just go and withdraw money and head straight for the nearest dog store and buy whatever goodies I feel like eating. With time I might even cajole my owner to get me my own credit card. I have seen how easy it becomes when you have one. Then I can go to the jazziest dog store and have a blast.
Come to think of it, my list can go on and on, but I have been told to stop at 10 things for now. I can’t wait for December and the jingle bells ringing. With my wish list all set for my very own Santa Claus, I have already started my countdown. I am going to be the happiest dog this Christmas with all my wishes set to be fulfilled. And all those who love my kind and me, please come forward and join me in chorus to say “Amen” to that. Soon, I shall call all of you from my mobile and thank you all personally for all your good wishes. Merry X’mas!

Postal pooches

Good news for all the canine-crazy people. You can now write letters on the first day covers featuring Indian breed four-legged friends. You can even frame the doggies on the envelopes in the form of stamps.

What’s new?
The Indian sub-continent is the largest conglomeration of various breeds of dogs in the world. Through a long process of evolution, each geographical region in India has produced a distinctive breed, adapted to the local environment. Known for their sturdiness and loyalty, there is a need for creation of awareness about the variety of the canine population in India. The Post & Telegraph department of the Government of India has recently released postage stamps and first day covers on four breeds of dogs of Indian origin.

Featured breeds
The breeds that feature on the stamps include Mudhol Hound, Rajapalayam, Rampur Hound & the Himalayan Sheepdog.
Mudhol Hound : Primarily a desert variety of gaze hounds, it is generally found scattered all over Maharashtra and has been mostly kept by tribals. The Raja of Mudhol, a princely state, now part of Karnataka, trained these dogs for hunting. The Raja of Kolhapur also patronised this breed. Quiet, aloof, placid and reserve, they hunt with extreme concentration, equally well on dry and marshy lands.
Rajapalayam : Built on the lines of the Great Dane, it is an all white dog, though at times mottled white is also noticed. The eyes are brown, and the pink nose is distinctive. With his button ears and whip tail, he has loose hanging upper lips and is deep-chested. Though he is not a fast runner, but he is tireless and steady over long distances. Traditionally used as sheep dog and for hunting, he has also figured in battles. It is said that in the 18th century, Pudukottai regiment of Rajapalayam dogs was effectively used for fighting the enemies. Although he is used more for hunting hare and other small game, he is gentle and is everyone’s friend.
Rampur Hounds :They are most well known elegant Indian breed, featured in Mughul miniatures. These dogs come from Rampur of erstwhile Rohilkhand of Uttar Pradesh. They are medium sized, muscular, powerful built for great speed and endurance. They have long wide head, flat between ears, and powerful jaws with scissor bite. They have slightly oval, brown to dark amber eyes. They have long and tapering tail, and the body has short and firm coat. Every year in a mela in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, the best Hound exhibited is given the title Rustum-e-Rampur.
Himalayan Sheep Dog : Found in Ladakh and adjoining Nepal, they are strong and powerful dogs. Gentle and sensitive with humans, they are alert and have sharp reflexes. They are courageous and ferocious, making for excellent guard dogs for cattle. They are generally black or brown with patches of white on ears, legs and body. They have a thick coarse over coat and a thick smooth fur for under coat.

Formal release
Nasik Kennel Club and the Philatelic & Numismatic Society of Nasik recently organised a function in Nasik to mark the occasion. It was attended by over 50 participants and was presided by Dr. Arvind Choudhary.
Shantilal Hiran, President of the Philatelic Society, said that this would result in greater awareness about these breeds. Dr A.S. Kulkarni, Secretary of Nasik Kennel Club was glad that the Government of India has given recognition to dog breeds of Indian origin and that this would prompt dog lovers to consider owning a dog of Indian origin. He also mentioned, “We are quite casual about maintaining records and pedigrees of our pets and this has resulted in our fascinations for breeds originating in other parts of the world.” Dr. Shriram Upadhye, a local enthusiast of the Indian breeds, was present with his 3-year-old Mudhol Hound female, Ash.
(Inputs by Dr. A.S. Kulkarni, Secretary, Nasik Kennel Club.)