Beauty Walks a Razor’s Edge

Stray animals anywhere lead precarious lives, even those that have someone looking out for them. Anyone who cares for them knows this, but every once in a while, the lesson is brought home, often in deadly and devastating ways. This is a tale of something that happened recently with one of our community dogs, one whom we call Beauty.

We have been seeing Beauty ever since we’ve been in Olaulim, part of a pack that hangs out on a grassy patch on the hill behind our house. Four years ago, when we moved here, she must have been the newly-anointed alpha female of the pack, that was dominated by a larger yellow-brown dog. Over time, she has grown into the confident core of the pack. The pack itself, as these tend to, has seen a lot of comings and goings. Over time, more or less all of its other adherents have disappeared, and only Beauty remains of the original dogs. The attrition rate of stray dog packs is often greater than that of IT firms.

Our interaction with Beauty’s pack used to be restricted to drive-bys with our dogs, where both gangs would hurl abuse at each other – ours from the safety of the car, the others as they ran alongside it as it traversed their territory.

This changed when, driven by a sudden fetish for fitness, I started going for morning walks. On the first day itself, I came across Beauty, sitting by herself outside the gate of a cemetery a short distance from our place. As is my wont when I see a dog, I did the whistling, tongue-clicking, kissy sounds and finger-snapping that is the universal tactic of a human trying to get friendly with an animal. To my delight, she came running up to me and did a little prancing around, then lay down submissively at my feet. When I got back home and told Anjali about her, I spoke of what a beauty she was, and that’s what we started calling her.

She was a scrawny little thing, so I started carrying rotis to give her, which she would nuzzle my pockets for after the initial welcome greetings.

From these beginnings, things came to a state where, for the past year, Anjali and I have been taking food for Beauty and her pack twice a week, on Tuesday and Friday nights. We know that they have other sources of food as well, and we don’t want them to become completely dependent on us, as there are periods when we won’t be around, and they will need to find food elsewhere. As of now, the pack consists of (though none of them are aware that they are referred to by these names) Beauty, a bratty but very affectionate male we call Beastie, three unrelated pups called Clouseau, Shady and Pumpy, plus an old guy called Hangal who appears on occasion.

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Beauty waits for her dinner, her tail a furry blur of anticipation

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Beastie likes to get intimate with his feeders

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Top to bottom: Clouseau, Hangal and Shady

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Beauty and Beastie have to be fed inside the car, as they tend to gobble down their helpings and then go after the others’

A couple of months ago, on one of our regular feeding runs, we found that Beauty was holding her mouth open in a strange manner. The area where we feed the pack is not well-lit at all, so we couldn’t really figure out what was wrong with her. When we gave her food, we found she was trying to eat, but her mouth was not closing and a lot of the food kept flowing out. There was also a lot of salivary discharge, and when we got close to her, we could make out a bad smell from her mouth.

Our first surmise was that she had been hit by something or someone, and that her jaw was broken. Her eagerness to eat seemed to indicate that it was perhaps not some more debilitating ailment, such as distemper or something that causes lockjaw. But we couldn’t completely discount that it was one of those diseases at an early stage.

What was most worrying was that we were due to head out of town a few days later, and wouldn’t be around to give her whatever care she needed. Thankfully, there is an active community of animal welfare workers here in Goa, and once Anjali sent out an SOS on those groups, response was quick. Karen, a volunteer with the Worldwide Veterinary Services (WVS) hospital and shelter in Assagao who lives in the same village, offered her help.

We brought Beauty home for the night, and parked her in the back room, keeping our hyper dogs at bay. The next morning, just hours before we were due to leave for the airport, Karen came by and picked her up. Later that evening, we learnt from Karen that the problem was not medical, strictly speaking. Beauty had a large bone stuck like a cap over the back molars, and that was preventing her from being able to close her mouth. The edges of the bone had dug into her gums, causing wounds that had got maggot-infested, therefore the rotten smell.

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The bone that caused the problem

The WVS doctors put her under anaesthesia, and did a minor operation to remove the bone and clean and suture her wounds. Within a day or two, Karen reported to our relief, she was eating. When we got back to Goa, Karen brought her back to our place, and we released her back to her accustomed spot, where she was greeted with curiosity by the rest of her pack.

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Mmmm… biscuits!

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Food and love at our place before being released

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What’s going on in there??!!

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Back home in the wild, and off to mark her territory immediately

This story ended well, but it made us think of how such a simple thing – chewing on a bone – could have ended up killing her. Most strays in such a condition – even those who are fed by people – wouldn’t end up getting the little care that she eventually needed, and would die of the maggot infestation or of starvation. We come across so many cases where strays get their heads stuck in plastic jars or wire loops or other such discards of humanity that can prove fatal to animals. It takes so very little to devastate a life like theirs.

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A getaway for hot dogs

Until the unseasonal rain in mid-May, it was hot as hell, and the dogs were lethargic and bored. A trip to cooler climes seemed like a good idea, but Goa doesn’t offer much within easy driving range. After some scouring of the Internet, we zeroed in on a resort called The Last Resort, in the hills near Chikmagalur. But that was still a long drive away — Google Maps said it would take close to nine hours, but with our way of doing things, we new that would stretch to ten or ten-and-a-half.

That’s a little too much for us to do at one go, so we looked for a pit stop closer to home, and found it in the Coqueiros Beach Resort at Kundapura, which promised air-conditioned cottages to offset the heat. Anjali sprang into action, and soon had the Coqueiros management convinced about allowing the dogs at their place. The Last Resort guys were willing anyway, so the itinerary was sewn up.

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Waiting to leave

But one knows what happens with the best-laid plans. To begin with, a bunch of chores backslid into the day of departure, and by the time we left from Porvorim, it was already noon. The bothersome business of negotiating the bridge construction work either side of the Mandovi and the Zuari became much, much worse once we crossed over into Karnataka. The National Highways Authority of India seems to have gone into overdrive there, and construction was afoot virtually every inch of the way till Kundapura.

We were, as a result, driving through half-built highways, with chaotic traffic going both ways on the constricted roads. The effects of a cyclone over the Arabian Sea were also making themselves felt, and by about 4pm, thunderclouds were overhead, plunging us into a deepening gloom. The light stayed in that quasi-twilight zone till nightfall some three hours later, creating a strong sense of disorientation. Oncoming vehicles would sometimes have their headlights on high-beam, sometimes not have them on at all; some had double-blinkers in action, others drove as though it was bright daylight. To add to everyone’s woes, piles of gravel and sand, haphazardly-placed barriers, and construction crews would pop up out of nowhere. I usually enjoy driving this stretch of the coast because of the spectacular landscapes cut into strips by wide rivers. But even those were a bit hazardous under the current circumstances, as many bridges were being enhanced or newly-constructed, and a lack of signage plus, in several cases, vanished siderails, made negotiating them a tricky prospect.

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On long drives, initially the dogs are all hanging out the windows, but after we hit the highway, they figure that they aren’t going to have any more dogs to bark at, or other interesting pastimes to indluge, so they settle down. Hero, of course, takes up most of the space in the middle seat, leaving the others scrunched up in the remaining space. Sungta, in particular, can’t abide this.

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This time, therefore, after about four hours of driving, we put Sungta up in front, and Anjali sat in the middle of the rear bench, with Hero and Soulkadi on either side of her. This arrangement seems to be the precedent to follow on future journeys.

It was one of the more difficult drives that I have done, and I was mentally and physically quite drained by the time we turned into the Coqueiros compound. By that time, the storm was raging around us, winds and rain lashing, lightning flashing, and thunderclaps booming like massive explosions. The sea across the road from the cottages was a deep slate grey, and wild and frothing.

The Coqueiros Beach Cottages have been set up by a local entrepreneur named Chandrakant Shenoy, who we learnt had had a long professional association and a strong affinity for Goa. He named the resort after the O Coqueiro restaurant in Porvorim, and dotted the area with the coconut trees that the original is named for. When we drove in, those trees were whipping themselves into a frenzy of headbanging in time with the blasts of wind. Prashant, who oversaw our arrival, was quite nonchalant about the weather conditions, mentioning casually that it had been raining there for the past 20 days or so.

It was good to get out of the storm — the cottages are cosy and pretty much insulated from exterior weather. They are pre-fab wooden cottages which we had, in fact, seen some years ago being promoted in Goa. We had stopped by a demo site where they had been out up, off the highway between Verna and Nuvem, and had a look at them as a potential option for use when (or if) we got around to building a home for ourselves.

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The complicated protocol of bed occupation

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Ah, bliss!

Though there is a dining area, we ordered in, not wanting to brave the bad weather again. On our trips with the dogs, before we settle in for the night, we give our dogs one last walk. This one got quickly aborted, however. While the main entry to the cottages is from the compound, they each also have a balcony that faces the sea, which would no doubt be a lovely place to watch the sunset from in more pleasant conditions. We decided to go out that was with the dogs, but had just got out when a local mutt came trotting out of the darkness. Fearing a raucous battle, we beat a hasty retreat. After a while, I peeked through the curtains to see if the coast was clear, and found her sitting right outside our balcony door. She seemed to feel that if these interlopers could be allowed access to the shelter of the cottage, she should be too.

The next morning, we learnt that the dog is Rani, a much-loved dog that hangs around the resort, and we got to make friends with her too (our dogs, of course, are anti-social brutes and only want to tear non-pack dogs limb from limb, so they didn’t get to meet her).

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The view from the cottage balcony

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Rani

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The Coqueiros resort

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Dogs at rest; dogs in action

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By the dim light of day

After a heavy-duty breakfast, we drove out towards Chikmagalur. The storm had abated, and the weather was much more pleasant. Once we turned off the national highway, the drive was also a dream, and we reached The Last Resort by around 5.30pm. The cottages here were much more basic, but huge! There were two double beds in our cottage, and there was still enough room for us to have had a kabaddi match if we had so desired.

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The road to the hills; the truck in front of us said ‘Vegetable Express’ on the bumper

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At The Last Resort

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Our cottage at The Last Resort

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Coffee and dogs

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Room to stretch

The landscape was the opposite of the previous evening’s. The Last Resort is in the middle of agricultural fields and orchards of arecanut and coconut, and looks out towards misty hills. The day after our arrival, we drove up into the hills. The road, to our surprise, was concrete up to the start of the Bhadra Tiger Reserve, some 10-12 kilometres up. Till that point, the hillside is covered by coffee plantations, many of them sporting signs announcing their association with Coffee Day.

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Tourist map of the region

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Happy dogs walking

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The lantana poacher

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An installation presumably inspired by the Appiko movement, which started not far from here. The sign says something along the lines of ‘Save trees, save the environment’

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Panoramic view of the beautiful landscape

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Panoramic photography in progress

This area, of course, is the birthplace of coffee in India, legend having it that the plant was brought from West Asia by a pir called Baba Budan, whose shrine is in this area.

We had hoped to take the dogs to a stream or waterfall, but the only one in the vicinity, the Kalahatti Falls, can only be accessed through some dratted temple premises. Religion messes with everything!

We enjoyed the drive and the walks, though. The area is beautiful, and the weather was great.

By the time we got back to the resort, though, a potentially undesirable eventuality had happened. We had been given a cottage right at the end of the resort, one of a bunch of three. When we got back, we found that some group of young people — either college students or perhaps colleagues at an office — had occupied the other two cottages. Some horrendous music was emanating from phones, but luckily they weren’t particularly loud and obnoxious.

That night, they had a bonfire lit in a little clearing across from our cottage, and partied into the night. The Kannada and Bollywood film music was interspersed, to our surprise, by Pink Floyd and Santana, and we were please to find that our cottage was astonishingly soundproof.

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Bonfire awaiting party

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Dogs behind bars

The food that they had, and the detritus from it, presumably, had a different side-effect that had repercussions for us. Late in the night, around 3am, Soulkadi suddenly needed to take a walk. As I was taking him out, I found that the plush sofas in the patio were occupied by two dogs, one of whom greeted us by thumping his tail on the sofa arm. Hidden by the sofa backs, though, they escaped Soulkadi’s attention and I managed to take him for his spin.

On our way back from the resort the next day, we stopped at a small shop selling the produce of a farming initiative run by a young woman, from whom Anjali ordered some ghee and stuff to be delivered by courier.

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The stuff that nightmares are made of

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On the way back, near Hubbali

The trip back — we returned directly to Goa — was also long, but not as harrowing as the outward journey, as we drove through the interiors which are largely forested or covered with fields. For the large part, the roads are in excellent shape, and we reached home tired but quite satisfied with the uneventful but relaxed trip.

Coffee Home

This Sunday morning was a little disorienting. For starters, I woke up in our bed in the bedroom. My slippers were right by the bed where I had left them – I had had no cause to put them up on some out-of-the-way spot the night before. On my way to the loo, I didn’t have to carefully negotiate the little puddles of pee and look out for the occasional coprological booby trap. I wasn’t ambushed on the way by something small with teeth like a shark. When I shut the door, it didn’t get pushed in after a short while by a curious trespasser. The main door to the bedroom stood open all along, and I didn’t even have to shut it when I fed the dogs later.

All this was at odds with how it was for the month before. Around that time, the sound of a puppy crying in the immediate vicinity of our house had roused our sympathetic instincts, and resulted in Anjali bringing in a terrified little black puppy from the road outside. I had vehemently opposed her move, arguing that we were not in a position to have another dog, especially not a small pup that would be around for another 12-15 years (Anjali and I had agreed on this a couple of years ago). She was adamant, saying that she would find a home for it.

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Soon after she arrived, wide-eyed and worried

The first couple of days she was here, we hardly saw her. We kept her in our bedroom with the door locked, to keep her safe from our pack. When we were in the room, she would scoot under the bed, and find herself a hiding place amongst the suitcases stored there. She was so completely black that it was impossible to spot her except with a torch, and even then it was difficult at times, so cannily would she conceal herself.

We would haul her out from time to time and take her out into the yard on a leash, running the gauntlet of enquiring dog noses on the way. On these jaunts, she would sometimes stand petrified and be more or less dragged around on the leash; or strain away from Anjali at the other end of the tether.

Over a few days, though, she started gaining confidence and courage. She would come out and greet Anjali when she brought her food. My presence too was accepted. One day, Anjali ecstatically reported that she had got a few licks. A few days later, it was my turn. It felt great!

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Out on her own in the backyard

Gradually, she came out of her shell. From supervised ‘visits’ with our dogs, we took to letting her wander about as long as we were around. There were a couple of minor skirmishes with Soulkadi, who is always the most aggressive towards other canines, but on the whole she ruled the lower levels while the older dogs escaped to higher ground — the sofas, the diwan, the bed — to get away from her.

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Soulkadi was aggressive, Hero dismissive; so she took to tailing Sungta whenever she could

I had felt from the beginning that it would be difficult to find an adoptive home for her. So, about a month into her stay, I was beginning to waver from my position that she remain She-Who-Has-Not-Been-Named. A few names had passed through my mind – I liked Kiwi (since she was all black). But Anjali finally decided on Coffee – she likes hers black.

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Just when it looked like our pack size had increased to four, though, Coffee found a home. Anjali had been trying everything she could all along, and from time to time we would try and identify new targets for our adoption efforts. Last week, we thought of our friends Elaine, Anushka and Sachin, who had lost two dogs over the last couple of years, and had adopted a young puppy. Why not try them, we thought.

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Getting her shots before going off to her new home

Anjali’s call to Elaine revealed that they had adopted not one, but two pups, but Elaine was large-heartedly open to the idea of having a third. She said that, if not them, her sister-in-law on Divar had five dogs of her own but might be open to having another. Quickly, the deal was sealed and on Saturday morning, Coffee went to her new home. Earlier that morning, Elaine’s sister-in-law had told her that a neighbour whom she vouched for was looking for a puppy, so that was also an option.

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Coffee with Elaine and Anushka

We handed Coffee over, and met Elaine and Anushka’s dogs Mojo and Zober at the same time, fat boisterous little pup both. By the evening, Elaine sent us video of Coffee romping around with her two new housemates (though she was still wary of the new humans), and we knew she had gone to the perfect home for her.

Getting away from Ganesh

Rackety processions blaring music that go by late in the night, accompanied by firework explosions that sound like a mini-war, make the Ganesh Chaturthi period hellish for the non-human denizens around here. On the animal welfare groups on Facebook and WhatsApp, the days around Ganesh result in a deluge of posts about pets that have run away, strays that have gone missing from their usual spots, injured animals, and other tales of woe.

Visarjan nights are terrifying for our dogs, too, who spend them trying futilely to find some shelter from the storm of noise. Over the last couple of years, our tactic has been to try and take them to quieter spaces during the period. This year, we chose two places in southern Maharashtra, just across the border to our north.

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Let’s go already!

The first couple of nights we spent at Golven Resorts, a set of 10 beachside huts in Vengurla. The wigwam-like cottages are built in mildly landscaped grounds off the Sagareshwar beach, set back the CRZ-mandated 500 metres from the waterline. They are well-constructed using wood, bamboo, thatch, cloth and mud, and are very comfortable, if a trifle cramped. But our priority is simply that the place allow us to take dogs — they don’t care much about the amenities.

What they do get excited about are the surroundings, and Golven generally had the right elements. Wild, green patches to sniff around — and pee and crap — in. A comfortable walk, no doubt replete with scents for them to pick up, to the beach. The beach itself was quite uncrowded at this time of year, and the gently sloping sand allowed us to walk quite a way in without overwhelming the dogs.

About the only challenge was the presence of a pack of dogs in the grounds, but we didn’t mind that. In fact, we like places where they let the strays be — in our eyes, it speaks of their tolerance and compassion. How it affects us is that we have to put up with a bit of a struggle keeping our pack and theirs from going at each other, but that’s something we have learnt to handle.

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The Golven pack takes a stroll

From the point of view of us humans, the resort has the most comprehensive menu we have ever come across — it was a veritable book. The food — we stuck to the local Malvani fare — is good, and though there’s a dining hall, you can be served in the huts if you want. Given that it was raining, even if mildly, most of the time we were there, that helped. The young chaps manning the place were very nice, and really took pains to ensure we got what we needed.

 

Besides spending our time lazing around, walking on the beach with the dogs and eating, we also took a drive down the coastal highway, which is a picturesque road to drive on.

After two nights at Golven Resorts, we drove up the same highway to Bhogwe, where we had booked a stay at the Aditya Eco-Village. Run by the Samant family, this is a bunch of huts perched high up on a plateau overlooking the Deobagh and Tarkarli beaches and their backwaters. The view is spectacular, and it would be very pleasant to sit out on the deck of the hut gazing down at it, but because of the rains, we had to largely stay indoors — and keep the door closed because of the dogs.

Arun Samant, whose son Chetan runs the place (he was away at a relative’s on Ganesh duty when we arrived), pointed out to us when we arrived that one could even see, deep in the distance, the island fortress of Sindhudurg and the town of Malvan from this vantage point.

Chetan’s wife Ashwini and his mother organised a sumptuous thali lunch for us on arrival, made entirely from locally grown ingredients — Anjali got a fish thali, while I had a vegetarian spread. Ashwini’s daughter Dhanashree was quite mesmerised at having dogs as guests. We learnt later that she had called up all her aunts and uncles and told them that Hero, Sungta and Soulkadi had come visiting their place. She had also taken the opportunity to tell them that she had a dog named Melya.

In the evening, as we were having dinner, Chetan came home and it was a delight to spend some time talking to him. Like his father, he’s very knowledgeable about local matters — ecology, wildlife, agriculture of all varieties, food. Gradually, as it’s wont to, the conversation drifted towards politics, and we were quite pleased to find that, in the midst of what we assumed must be a BJP stronghold, Chetan and his father were quite outspoken in their views against the right-wing party. Though they would intersperse their sentences with “we are not for or against the BJP, but…”, it was clear their sympathies didn’t lie with the policies of the ruling party.

We were also later joined by a couple of other members of the extended family — a father-and-son duo — who had been enticed by Dhanashree’s account of the travelling dogs, and come to see them. They came and checked them out through the glass doors to the hut, which of course, sent Hero into a paroxysm of angry barking.

“Dangerous, hunh?” the older man asked, evidently quite pleased at the prospect. He was a little deflated when I said they weren’t, and that the barking was because it was dark and the dogs didn’t know them.

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The dangerous dogs in the hut

Though we had planned to stay a couple more days, we curtailed the Bhogwe stay to just a day. Because of the wet weather, we were being constrained to quarters, and that had begun to tell on the dogs, who were becoming rather whiny. We gambled on the possibility that the main Ganesh celebrations and visarjan ruckus would have happened on day two, and what remained wouldn’t hassle the dogs too much. (As it turned out, there was just about half an hour one night that was disruptive, so not too bad a decision, I would say.)

We drove back via Kudal. The landscape around the Vengurla-Bhogwe area is quite unusual. You’ll be travelling on twisting ghat roads through thick forests, and suddenly breast a ridge to find yourself on a vast, flat plateau with the road a long, straight ribbon slicing through. In both circumstances, there were many good spots to stop and give the dogs a walk, and use the opportunity to take some photos as well.

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Flags flourish next to a temple in Vengurla

Some more photos, if you’re interested, on my Flickr feed: https://www.flickr.com/photos/11052243@N02/albums/72157686143776483 

Lost and found dogs (part 1)

A while ago, I had written a post about how we managed to find homes for three puppies that dropped into our laps (not all together, at different points of time). I had meant to include stories about some lost dogs who have also passed through our life, but that post grew too long, so I decided to keep those tales for a separate update. It’s taken me almost a year to get around to it, but here is the first of those anecdotes.

This was when we were living in Porvorim, a year or two after we had moved to Goa. Late one night, one of our neighbours — not one we knew too well — landed up at home, so drunk that he was swaying as he stood there. With him was a dog on a rope, a young Labrador, panting and excitable. While our four dogs raised raucous objections to this sudden intrusion from inside the house, he tried to persuade us that the Lab was one of ours.

Too sozzled to take no for an answer, he left the dog with us and stumbled off into the night. At a loss about what to do, we gave the dog some food and water on the balcao while the others continued to rage away inside. After he had wolfed it all down, Anjali and I ventured out into the night with him on a leash, hoping he would recognise something and find his way home. No such luck. For close to an hour, we walked this way and that around the neighbourhood, but got nowhere.

On our way back home, we worked out a plan of action for the night. Back at home, our fearsome foursome were bundled into our bedroom (they generally slept there anyway), while we took the lab into the dining room. We set up a makeshift bed for me on the floor, and I spent the night there with the dog. While he had been generally cheerful as labs tend to be, the way he clung to me after we lay down betrayed how insecure he must have been feeling. It was almost as if he was afraid I might leave him at night and disappear, and therefore needed the assurance of physical contact.

Early the next day, Anjali and I walked out with the dog again, this time towards the shops and apartment complexes a couple of roads above where we stayed. At the shops, we were told that he had suddenly appeared there a couple of days earlier, and had been wandering around since. He had even tried to get into cars when people had opened the doors. Combined with his general good health, this reinforced our belief that he was from a home where he was well looked after, and used to going places in a car.

If such were the case, we felt our best bet would be to canvass the vets in the neighbourhood. There aren’t too many in all of Porvorim, so it wouldn’t have required a whole lot of effort, but we lucked out with the first one we visited — Dr Marilyn Estibeiro, quite close to where we lived. We were told by staffers at her clinic that they had had an enquiry the previous day from the GSPCA shelter nearby, about a lab that had gone missing. Excited by the information, we rushed him down to the shelter, and were told to our immense relief that our peripatetic pooch was indeed the missing pet.

His name, we learnt, was Miles, he lived in Alto Betim, and was brought regularly to GSPCA for his vaccinations and stuff, just as our dogs were. He and had been spooked by some crackers a few nights before and had run out unnoticed by his family, probably through a break in the compound wall. Alto Betim wasn’t exactly next door to where our house was, and Anjali remarked how the dog had lived up to his name in the distance he had travelled to get there.

The shelter staff contacted his guardian, who was delighted that Miles had been found. He was at work, and said he would come by in his lunch break to take the dog home. Happy at how things had turned out, we left Miles at the shelter and returned home, where we were given a rigorous investigation by our dogs.

That wasn’t the last we would see of Miles, though. A couple of weeks later, we had taken our dogs for shots or something to the GSPCA, and had just put them back in the car to head back home, when a car drove up with a dog in the back. Never ones to pass up a chance to meet a new dog, we waited for him to be taken out. To our delight, it was Miles! His guardian (whose name I can unfortunately not remember — yes, I know what it says of me that I can recall the dog’s name but not the human’s) told us that from the moment he drove up, Miles started to get all excited. He could evidently see us through the windshield and couldn’t wait to come out of the car. A short and ecstatic reunion happened, and then we said goodbye to Miles.

Six on the beach

While digging through my back-ups trying to locate a file, I came across this folder of photos from a friend of ours, Urvashi, who had come to Goa with a bunch of her colleagues from Femina magazine. We had gone to meet them on Morjim, which has of late been our favourite beach to take the dogs to. This was sometime late in October 2012, when we still had six dogs. Over the course of the next couple of years, the three older dogs –Ms Chipku, Jaya and Bhaloo – would all pass away, leaving us with the trio of Hero, Sungta and Soulkadi.

Morjim is perfect for the dogs in several ways. Off-season, it is relatively uncrowded; added to that, it’s a long beach, so it’s easy to find a stretch that has no people on it. It also does not generally have a large dog population, so low chances of confrontations between our pack and the local ones. The beach is flat out to a longish distance, so one can take the dogs into the water without having it get too deep for them soon. And, barring the jam-packed stretch of beaches from Vagator to Sinquerim, which is pretty much off-limits for us, it is the closest beach to where we live.

Here are some of the photos from that outing a few years ago. [You can click on the images to see larger versions.]

Mario’s dogs

If you’re familiar with Mario Miranda’s cartoons and illustrations, you’re likely to know that he had a thing for dogs, which make an appearance in many of his works. My personal favourite is this one, which hangs above our bedroom door as a sort of ‘abandon hope all ye who enter here’ warning.

161119-mario-canine-portrait

I recently came across this tribute of Mario’s to a beloved dog, a rescue named (what else?) Tommy. Thought I’d post it here. It’s a little long, but worth a read if you like dogs.

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