Think Ken made this Indian Jones “take off” for me to show to my grandchildren. It’s less than a minute. And I’m embarrassed to tell you how many times I’ve watched it.
I’m taking a different approach on this story. This involves the treatment of a dog from Chennai that was rescued by a devoted animal lover there who brought him to us by car. I’m going to start with edited exchanges of the emails between us.
- April 4th, 1:50pm...Dear Leslie: There's a homeless dog in the neighbourhood. Used to be strong and healthy. Started getting thin and sluggish 15 days back. Went missing for a week and showed up yesterday. I took him to a vet who treated him for severe maggot infestation, and advised post treatment care. So far. So good.
Left him in his usual place yesterday night under care of building watchman. But he was gone today. Watchman dropped him in area 5 km away. Went to the place and searched in vain for two hours.
I am writing this because I don't know what else to do. I'm deeply saddened. Do you have any advice?
- April 4th, 2;29pm...Dear Ghurhu: I always go to Vishwa to find out things like this. He said the best times to look for him are at night when it's dark, maybe about 7p to 9p...And before sunrise about 4 or 4;30am...You can walk around calling his name. If you got another person he knows, both of you can go.
- April 5th, 7am...I just found him Leslie...The 7 to 9pm didn't work. The 4am trick worked like a charm.
- April 5th, 7:09am...Please don't think I'm dumping him on you, because I am not...The problem is his maggot infestation. He's being chased away because of the smell. If he's cured then no problem. So right now he needs shelter and treatment. I will bear as much cost as I can for his lodging/treatment. (Note: Treatment and lodging are free. But he has to pay for transportation to Tiru and back to Chennai.) But once he's cured I assure you I will personally come and take him back to Chennai. Right now, he's unsafe and shelterless.
- April 5th, 8:20am...(At this point I sent an email to Margot in Australia telling her the story)....Dear Margot: Had this exchange yesterday with Ghurhu. You might know of him. He's a beautiful, beautiful lover of dogs. Three or four times in the past he's brought creatures to us. He lives in Chennai, 4 1/2 hours away. When he has to hire a car it costs him about 4000 rupees, probably 30 or 40 percent of his monthly earnings. Once he and his mother brought a puppy on the bus. A sick puppy. Just to have a chance of saving him. By bus it takes longer. Probably a ten hour round trip.
- April 5th, 8:31am...(Margot responds)...Dear Leslie: I feel like I know Ghurhu. So many times his name crops up doing something heartbreakingly beautiful for a dog or puppy. The man is pure love...We mention him in the book when we talk about Anjali's story. He has to be there. (Note: And so Ghurhu did bring him to us on April 5th. He was with us a month. Ghurhu picked him up for his return home to Chennai on May 24th. The last two emails informing him that Valathambady was ready to go are below. The tale in photos and videos follows.)
- May 7th, 8:57pm...(Back to Ghurhu)...Hi Leslie, how is the big guy doing? I remember my promise and would like to stick to it. Let me know how things are with him.
- May 7th, 9:49pm ...Hi Ghurhu...Just spoke to Vishwa. The maggot wound is healed. His skin problem is gone. His energy is good. And he'll be very glad to see you and go "home"....Lji
And so Valathambady and Ghurhu arrive.
He’s an amazingly secure fellow. Remember he just had a 4 ½ hour ride from Chennai. He’s never been in a car before. He’s totally away from everything he knows. And is in a strange place with strange people. And he is just comfortably eating.
Animals are so surrendered to Dr. Raja. I love watching him examine a creature—how nonchalantly he checks his skin, looks inside his ear, and examines his maggot wound. (He’ll get a more thorough examination after he’s settled in a little.)
This is a shot of the maggot wound. (The Chennai vet did a good job of eliminating most of the maggots.) The second photo is of it, partially healed.
This is taken a month later, a few days before Ghurhu picked him up. His coat is beautiful. And you get a quick view of the completely healed maggot wound when Dr. Raja lifts his tail.
This next one, taken about the same time, just shows how happy he is.
This last video was taken when Ghurhu picked him up. You can hear me asking Ghurhu if he thinks Valathambady is happy to see him. And we’re joking around a little. Because Ghurhu has to re-acquaint himself.
Om Namah Shivaya... Dear Valathambady, you’re blessed with a guardian angel... It was very nice having you with us... Our prayer is that you be guided and protected... With love, From all of us.
He’s eight years old. The owner didn’t know how it happened. But it looks like a knife wound, as tho’ someone slashed him.
Dr. Raja did a ½ hour operation under full anesthesia. The video where he’s working on him is before the operation. When I saw it, I asked Dr.Raja why he hadn’t used a local anesthetic. He had. The guy was sedated and had a local, but some pain clearly got thru while the wound was being cleaned.
Well, he was stitched up by our beloved Dr. Raja, and released to his owner to continue his life with a man that really cared.
Blessings, dear guy... May you be protected and guided... May your journey be filled with Grace.
He lost his mother when he was a week old. She’d been killed by a two-wheeler. Don’t know if you’ve seen how a mother monkey cares for her little ones. They carry them on their stomach wherever they go, holding them before they’re too young to hold on themselves. They’re just continually, without lapse, against the loving warmth of the mother’s tummy. And, all of a sudden, Ramu’s mother was gone… Someone brought him to the Shelter. Confused. Frightened. Not understanding.
Suguna cared for him. She became his mother. He stayed with her night and day. For the first week he got milk with Cerelac every ½ hour. Then for a month every hour, and then increasing to every three hours at the end of four months. From that point on he was slowly introduced to solid food…grapes, banana. etc.
At night for the first month she’d either hold him, or he slept in a basket right against her. I asked how she managed with so little sleep…”No problem, sir.”….Om Namah Shivaya.
We’re actually not allowed to have monkeys. They’re considered wildlife and we are not a wild life sanctuary. We could get into a lot of trouble. So we just take them in when they are in trouble. And release them as soon as we can. When sweet Ramu was around seven months, Vishwa tried releasing him. In order to do that they have to be adopted (if they are young) or accepted into an extended family, if they are older. Below is a video. He was probably still too attached to Suguna to respond to the females that came in close. Several did as you can see. But no one adopted him.
He’s now a year and a half. He’s kept with other adult monkeys in a large circular cage. He sees Suguna a few times a day but is no longer so attached to her. Soon Vishwa will release a group of them who have been encouraged to form an extended family in the Shelter. It will probably be a successful release.
In the meantime, our dear, dear Suguna with the enormous Heart has another baby she named Vali. This one lost his mom when he was two days old.
Say prayers for us. For them. For everyone.
And to you sweet creatures. We are so, so pleased we can help lift your suffering. We are here for you… always…With love…From Us.
Someone abandoned some babies just outside of Vishwa’s house. This is him at 5am with the sweeties before dressing and coming to the Shelter.
Okay, Little Ones…You’re in good hands with good people, and we will protect and take care of you.
He is a young fellow, only a year old. Lives in a local ashram. Fortunately, they had two sadhus bring him in shortly after it happened. Otherwise, it would have been life threatening.
The first photo is of the two sadhus who brought him. The video shows the rope coming out of his anus. Dr. Raja tried removing it and realized it was pretty far in.
Dr. Raja had to go in thru the belly. It was not a simple operation. It took three hours. And until he actually removed it he did not know just how long it really was. (For those of you sensitive to blood, you might skip the first video…It’s not super gory, but just in case you’re sensitive.)
Wah…Poor, baby. Thank God they got him to us early.
He was a real sweetheart. He stayed with us three days. Made a number of Furry Friends and loved supervisor Raja. Unfortunately, we don’t have any videos during his convalescence….But you would have loved him.
The ashram people picked him up. He was very, very happy to see them.
Well Young One... We were so glad we could help... And loved having you with us... Next time there’s a long “stringy thing”, don’t eat it unless it’s spaghetti... Love, from the “Shelter Gang”.
Included this because this little guy just wanted to sleep. Nothing, but nothing could induce him to get up and start responding…A nuzzling puppy that’s lying with him. One that’s chewing on his basket. A big guy that comes sniffing around….Reminds me of my teenager days during a period of rapid growth when I did nothing but sleep.
Well dear pup…you’re going to make it all the way... Thank you, God... Protect this little guy... Please. Please. Give him a good life... From the Hearts of All of Us... With love.
(The guy in the photo below is our "Poster Boy" for fund appeals.)
There is considerable pressure from very strong increased Shelter activity.
Number of monthly visits to the clinic:
- Oct. 2013-Sept. 2014: Average, 346
- Oct. 2015-Feb. 2016 : Average, 711 (an increase of 105 percent).
- It seems to have hit some kind of critical mass and really started surging.
Number of monthly emergency rescues
- These are cases above and beyond the clinic visits. They are almost all serious. And in most instances we go out to get them. Most are during the day, but a number are at night.
- Oct. 2013-Sept. 2014: Average number, 43.
- Oct. 2015-Feb. 2016 : Average number, 106 (an increase of 147 percent).
Number of monthly in-patient treatments
- Oct. 2013-Sept. 2014: Average, 1,155.
- Oct. 2015-Feb. 2016 : Average, 1,455. (an increase of 26 percent).
Two distinctly different trends are indicated. Briefly:
- Monthly visits to clinic: The steady, strong increase is auspicious. It is a heartening reflection that people are opening their Hearts more and more to the animals, becoming more aware of, and caring more for them.
- Monthly emergency rescues: The increase is ominous. Most of it is traffic-related. Tiruvannamalai has an almost unique traffic configuration that is increasing the traffic intensity at an exponential rate.
This whole unfolding has given rise to intense operational and financial pressure.
We're traversing some difficult terrain, and can use any support you're inclined to give. Recurring donations, even quite modest ones, are best for us. So please...Keep your support coming.
…OM NAMAH SHIVAYA…