The Story of Julie - Politics as Usual
Julie was eight years old. Supremely sweet and loving. She was so, so loving as Dr. Raja worked on her for two and one-half hours. She had soft fur, white and a whispy light brown. She was clearly loved and well-cared for. A relative of the owners had brought her in.
The owners wife had seen her attacked by several dogs. No one realized the extent of her injuries. We didn't even realize it until she was put on the examination table. It was more than just dog bites. There was a clean cut half way around the circumference of her neck. It just missed the main vein and artery. Which would have been the end.
It was the most grievous cut we'd ever seen. Amazingly, for the first hour that Dr. Raja worked on her, she didn't need any painkiller. She was completely comfortable. Wagging her tail every now and then. Licking and smiling.
For the stitching she was sedated and got painkillers. Inside, Dr. Raja sewed her up to "close the dead space". The equivalent of twenty-five stitches. On the outside, to close the skin, she got another twenty-five stitches. I told Dr. Raja and Vishwa that I wanted to speak to the owner. He was out-of-station but would be back late afternoon. It was the next day when I greeted him.
Julie was in for a post treatment check. I told him that the main wound was not from a dog. That it had most likely been inflicted with a sharp blade. And that it seemed as though someone had tried to kill Julie. He said, "No. No. My wife saw it. Three dogs attacked her." I took him over to Julie. Showed him the bite wounds. And that they were totally separate from the slice around the neck.
I told him they shouldn't leave her out unattended. Even for a minute. I asked if there were anyone he was aware of that would want to kill her. He said he was a pretty highly placed politician and, as such, he had enemies that could possibly want to harm him - local and state Indian politics can sometimes have heavy undercurrents.
The Story of Jack
Jack, a pedigree male doberman, was given away as a young puppy.
Our first contact with him was a report of an adult doberman. In terrible shape. On the roadside. Abandoned. He was a year old. Cadaverously thin. Not able to stand up well. The life knocked out of him. Spirit broken.
We put him on the veranda with the other dogs and puppies. Gave him a lot of hugging, stroking, kissing. He started recovering quickly. Gaining weight. Growing fast. Reclaiming his birthright. He started small, first playing with the puppies, of which there were many. After some time, the adult dogs were included.
He became so energetic, and strong. So Doberman. That he was too much for the other dogs and puppies. His mode of frolicking was way beyond theirs. We considered bringing a young lion in to play with him, but gave up the idea.
He was just too much for the Shelter. So we started looking for a good foster home while we found a good permanent situation for him. No easy job. Couldn't find one until Ken, our Canadian hero stepped forward. He had rented, longterm, a house with a pretty large enclosed area. And so Jack was taken to live with Ken.
Ken claims that for several days Jack just silently watched him, chin resting on paws. Ken understood that it was wise for him to be respectful and nonthreatening. Then one day Jack came over and put his chin on Ken's lap.
And so, the beginning of their relationship. He was with Ken for three or four months. It ain't easy to find a permanent good home for a big male doberman like Jack.
The search went on and on and on. We tried everything we could think of. Then, as Providence would have it, an aging male doberman was brought to the clinic by its owner.
It had a failing kidney condition. The owners also had a mature female doberman at home. It was clear that the owners loved this guy we were treating. After a month, he died.
We waited a while before we approached them with the idea of adopting Jack. The lady was against the idea. But it was a really ideal situation, so Leslie, Dr.Raja, and Vishwa went out to their home one evening to discuss it.
The lady's son, in his mid-twenties, strongly wanted to adopt him. But he did not prevail. A week later he called the Shelter. Now they wanted to adopt him. We were then a little hesitant. So the son came out to Ken's house one evening. Leslie was there, too.
They chatted and he looked at Jack, and by the markings, said that he was pretty sure he was one of the puppies they had given away 1 1/2 years ago. Leslie and Ken looked at each other. Both thought the guy was bullshitting so that they'd give him, Jack.
But then, Jack, who was usually not friendly to strangers, started relating to this guy as though he were his long lost brother. What a mind-blower.
And so the day came that Vishwa was going to take Jack to his new home. Leslie told Vishwa as he was leaving the Shelter with Jack to spend several hours there to give Jack a chance to settle in. But Vishwa returned a half hour later. "I thought I told you to spend several hours there." "Sir the female doberman was at the door when we arrived. They immediately took to each other. She was Jack's mother."
What a karmic stunner. They unwittingly sent Jack into suffering as a puppy. And now they can recover by giving him a beautiful home.
Jack has been brought to the Shelter two times over the last two years. And he is really Big. Strong. Secure. Happy. And All Doberman. Dr.Raja and Vishwa were there both times. And both were very, very respectful. If they had said, "O' hi Jackie, remember us", and attempted to hug him. They probably would have immediately experienced a violent death.
The Story of Sugar – Born to be Wild.
I was walking back to my room one afternoon from a morning at the beach in Arombol, India, when a small black and white dog crossed my path. He stopped to sniff fhrough the garbage on the side of the road. I walked over to him and took a closer look.
What I saw was indescribably horrible. The little fellow was crawling with fleas. Thousands of them. They covered every inch of his entire body. Compounding the problem was that he couldn't bite them since his jaw was deformed and he couldn't fully close his mouth. As a result the fleas were having a field day and propogating like crazy. He just had to endure what must have been constant 24 hour torture.
I also noticed that every few seconds he would shake his head. This twitching thing is a sure sign of the contagious and often fatal disease, distemper. But it was impossible to know if he had just gotten it or had survived it. Only time would tell.
I was able to convince the little fellow to come with me in a three wheeler to a rescue house near the beach. Some kind tourists had taken in some of the worst case conditions in the area and did their best to treat them. God bless them for that.
The first thing we did was cover him with flea powder. It began to rain fleas. It took effect almost immediately. Within minutes they had all lept off the poor pup to save their lives.
We bathed him and discussed what to do next. He was terribly underweight and needed to be fed on a regular basis. But since we had no idea if he had just contracted distemper they couldn't keep him there since the first stages of the disease is so contagiious.
On the other hand, if he didn't get any worse we would know that he had survived the disease and not be contagious anymore. But someone had to keep an eye on him to know that. What to do?
The only place we could put him was my room. Just until he gained some weight and we deternmined if he was contagious or not.
So that's what we did. I took him in, made a bed for him and started to feed him. Four or five times a day to begin with. He quickly gained weight and started looking a whole lot better.
I had a bicylce at the time and fashioned a back seat out of a plastic laundry basket which I bungeed to the back of the bike. With a blanket in the bottom, I put Sugar (because he was so very sweet) in it. And off we went. Me peddling and Sugar as pillion.
Every day we went for rides. We'd visit some friends, have lunch and every day go to the internet. Sugar would wait outside for me while I checked my email. But one day, he wasn't there when I came back out. I searched the area several times but no Sugar could be found.
I figured he had headed back home. He knew the route well since we had taken it so many times before. But when I returned home, no Sugar. What? What happpened?
Days went by and no Sugar. And then I visited some friends who told me Sugar had dropped by to say hello. He looked great and seemed happy enough.
And then it dawned on me what had happened. Of course, Sugar liked his life on the street. Even more than being with me, loving and feeding him. Wow. Bow Wow Wow.
This was great good news for me since I had previously mourned for all the street dogs without a home and a master. I figured that's what they all wanted. Not at all. Some were simply born to be wild.
The Story of Osho – Man about Town
For stray dogs living on the streets of India, territory is everything. If not born into a territory you're going to have to carve one out. And that can be fatal.
Territories provide everything, but in limited quantities. Water, food, shelter and if lucky, the companionship of a few human beings. And of course, there's puppy love – twice a year or so.
All the dog pissing we see is just territory marking – this is my patch of earth, stay away or else. And so they generally do. They stay within their well-defined territory, rarely venturing beyond the borders.
So it was strange to meet Osho, a very different dog in this regard.
Osho, formerly a street dog but now a pet dog, disregards borders and limitations, roaming across any territory he feels like whenever he wants. In each territory he has a girlfriend or two. And everywhere he goes humans warmly greet him. What a great life.
Yes Osho comes and goes as he pleases. Sometimes gone for days at a time. But he always returns home safe and sound.
The most remarkable thing about Osho's roaming is that other male dogs don't seem to be bothered by his intrusions. Certainly there's the occasional scrap but most all the males give him clear passage whenever he likes. Even in mating seasons. But how is this possible?
After careful study I've come to the conclusion that Osho gets away with his gallivanting because every dog in Tiruvannamali knows about his master Leslie. He's lifted the suffering of thousands upon thousands of their canine friends.
Yes, they know all about the founder of Arunachala Animal Sanctuary and Rescue Shelter and what's going on there. Friends that have been sterilized there or treated for accidents and wounds tell stories about the gentle, loving humans that work there.
They have therefore given Osho a great deal of respect and a lot of slack ... to go anywhere his heart desires, do anything he likes. "Just take good care of your Master" ... is all they ask of Osho in return.