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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…