This story is from a few weeks ago, one of the strange serendipitous encounters one has with the world’s creatures.
Sometimes, instead of walking our dogs on their standard route around our house, we drive out in the Scorpio to a place close by where there are open fields, where they can have the run of the place. It was one of those days, and we were on our way home after the walk. As we slowed down at a road junction, we suddenly found a very small puppy in the middle of the road. I brought the Scorpio to a halt, and the puppy ran under the car. The dogs had seen her too, and were raising merry hell. Perhaps scared by their yelling, she cowered under the car as Anjali and I got out and tried to entice her out.
Eventually we managed to grab her and pull her out. Anjali held her as I drove ahead a little and pulled over to allow passage to a couple of cars that had by then lined up behind ours. Having parked the car, I got out and joined Anjali in mulling over what we should do next. That stretch of road has no houses in sight. The puppy could only have come there from the Aldona Police Station and Primary Health Centre, about half a kilometre ahead. So, with the other dogs scrambling all over each other to try and get a sniff at the new creature, Anjali got into the front seat holding her carefully, and we drove down to the PHC.
The security guard there, and a few other curious folk who gathered, told us that the puppy had been dumped outside the PHC a couple of days ago, and had been hanging around there since, sometimes following anyone who showed her some kindness. She must have trailed down the road after someone, and landed up where we found her.
We tried some more enquiries down the road, but it seemed quite evident that the pup was not from around there, and there was no chance of our locating her mother or siblings. Having a new puppy added to our household wasn’t exactly what we were planning for, but then as the song goes, life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. Not having any other option, we brought her home. It was an evening of thunder and lightning, and she was quite a bright spark, so we gave her the provisional name Bijli.
Our dogs aren’t exactly welcoming of new recruits to the pack, so for the first night we kept her in the car, making a small nest for her with newspapers, water and food. She was small enough that it was roomy for her, and she seemed quite content to sleep in what was a warm dry place after what must have been a traumatic few days in the open by herself. We checked on her every few hours through the night, and let her out in the yard for a short chukker.
The next day, we were due to go out for some part of the day, and we didn’t dare leave her unsupervised with the hounds at home, so she remained in the car. She continued to seem comfortable, sleeping most of the time. On occasion, we would come back to the car to find she had gone exploring and was in the back or under the driver’s seat.
Our first stop was at a vet’s, where we had her seen to, gave her some deworming meds and left an appeal for them to try and find a home for her. Throughout the day, at every stop we made, Anjali continued to make adoption requests to the most incongruous of people, but without any luck. One friend was very keen, but his rather more sensible daughters pointed out to him that if he took the pup home, it would be he who would be thrown out, so that possibility fizzled out as well.
Bijli curled up on Anjali’s feet in the car.
So Bijli came back home and spent another night in the car. The next couple of days, we were both at home, so we gradually introduced her into the household. The initial introductions were the most nerve-wracking but with Anjali holding her closely and me allowing one dog at a time to come sniff her, we got through them. Bijli of course was most excited and soon was running around after every set of feet that passed her – canine or human. The dogs, for their part, wanted nothing to do with her and preferred to stay up on the furniture, where she wouldn’t be able to get at them. Only Sungta showed any interest in her, but sometimes the interest seemed to be along the lines of “what a delicious morsel this would make”, so we kept a close eye on their limited interactions.
We kept up the adoption efforts, but knew that they were likely to be futile. Adoption of indie dogs is an extremely hit-and-miss affair, with only the very occasional hit. We were also aware that the two main local shelters were going through bad times, and even if one of them took Bijli in, her chances of survival would be quite low, so that option was also ruled out.
A week passed, with Bijli travelling with us whenever we had places to go. Luckily, the weather was still cool, so it was possible for us to leave her in the car with the windows cracked open while we attended to our tasks.
The next Saturday rolled around, the day of our weekly shopping trip to Mapusa. Anjali and I contemplated leaving Bijli to her first unsupervised stay with the dogs, but finally decided against it.
In Mapusa, we parked in the communidade complex, and went to our standard veggie guy. After we were done, I left Anjali to bring Ma back slowly to the car, and went ahead with the bags. Approaching our car, I saw that there were two women – quite clearly mother and daughter – peeking in the car window. I knew what had attracted their attention and grinned at them when I got close.
They were cooing and billing over Bijli, whom the mother was referring to as Clivey. Bijli, on her part, was on the seat, front paws up on the window, her little tail whipping about in a frenzy of ecstacy.
As I put the bags into the car, I explained about Bijli and how we were trying to find a home for her. The woman introduced herself as Lee and her daughter as Keisha. Soon, Anjali had also arrived, and a general round of extolling the loveability of dogs ensued. It turned out that Lee and Keisha – and her husband Alex, who also appeared – also had a couple of dogs at home. Another one, named Clivey, had passed away recently, and they had been reminded of her when they saw Bijli.
Within no time at all, the talk turned to the possibility of them adopting Bijli. The women were excited by the prospect right away. Alex seemed a little hesitant, but Lee sealed the deal saying to her daughter, “Take the pup, Keisha, I’ll deal with Dadda.”
And that was it. As suddenly and unexpectedly as she had come into our lives, Bijli went out as well. We handed over the toys, bowl and milk-and-biscuits mix that we were carrying and she went from the loving embrace of Anjali in our Scorpio to Keisha’s in theirs.
Over the next few days, phone interactions continued as instructions were asked for and recived, and status was checked. We learnt that Bijli, now officially renamed Clivey, had found a friendly elder in one of the other dogs, and was sleeping curled up with him from the second day. She had also quickly got used to the idea of a staircase and was stumbling up and down floors in pursuit of human feet.
The ordeal that she must have had to go through her for a few days – stuck out in the middle of nowhere in the rain and storm with no companion – had ended up bringing her into a haven where she would quite clearly be loved and pampered.