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.)