“If I had all the money in the world, I’d buy an island and take all the stray animals in the world there and look after them.” Wise words from six-year-old me when I first saw a starving puppy on the road.
Today, the number of homeless dogs, cats, and even reptiles, is heartbreaking. But amidst the gloom of starving strays, cruel abandonment and betrayal of our (mostly) four-legged friends, there are a handful of guardian angels who don’t turn a blind eye – they go out there, get their hands dirty and do their bit to make these animals’ lives better.
Here are six stories from the streets of Pune about amazing animal rescues.
Nikita Sharma and the Puppy Who Lived
“The story of Rodeo began when my friend Sahil was out for his routine bike ride to Lavassa. On the way he saw a tiny puppy, which appeared to be dead on the side of the road. He carried on his way, but on his return he saw a little kid poking the pup with a stick and a crow nibbling on her back where she had a wound. Sahil slowed down and realised that the puppy was actually breathing! He immediately picked her up and brought her to me. I opened the door early in the morning to see this tiny little midget barely breathing and I took her in, no questions asked. Initially, she was so dehydrated and malnourished that her body rejected everything and she shivered every time anyone came close to her. It took me four months to get her on her feet. I fell in love with her at first sight, but my parents were adamant on finding her a new home. But with her skinny little body, weirdly big ears and skin problems, everyone kept telling us that she was “too ugly to be adopted”! To me she was the cutest thing in the world. In the end, looking after her made me realise how much I wanted to keep her and gradually even my parents fell in love with this weird wild child. Today she is one of the most important parts of our lives!”
Sachin Mamgai and the Tale of Five Snakes
Sachin and his friends have rescued more than 1000 snakes in the last six years. This is the story of the time he rescued five snakes in a day!
“This day remains memorable to me because it’s the time I rescued the highest number of snakes in a single day! During the monsoons, it’s quite common for snakes to enter houses and people often react in a negative way. Unfortunately, in most rescue cases, one usually finds at least one guy with a stick ready to kill the snake. But that day, in each case I found people from that area showing respect to the snake and following proper protocol. I rescued four non-venomous common trinket snakes that day and one venomous snake, the spectacled Cobra! Usually, it’s uncommon for people to be gentle to snakes during a rescue mission. Nowadays it’s great that rescuers have started conducting awareness lectures in schools, colleges, societies and communities and it has been an important factor in conserving these animals. ”
Shubina Roy and the Boxer Who Learned to Love
“About three months ago, a healthy female boxer was abandoned outside SPCA, Golibar Maidan. The dog is an absolute sweetheart but refused to come near anyone; I’m guessing her previous owners either hit her or kept her in a horrible condition. This made her apprehensive towards humans in general and she was terrified of everyone including me. All our efforts to get her to come to us were in vain. Over a period of two months, we would feed her and work with her so she could start trusting humans again. Now I’m very happy to say that the same dog who wouldn’t even stand close to a human being slobbers me with kisses and is warming up to others also.
We’ve come a long way from the scared, non-trusting dog she used to be. What hurts me the most is that how can human beings be so cruel and just abandon a dog that’s so loving? All she wanted was love and till date we’re looking for a forever home for her, someone who can give her the home she truly deserves because she is a wonderful dog who just needs some love and affection.”
Saket Jadhav and the Grand Old Man
“I found this dog lying next to my gym one day. Assuming he was sleeping, I never bothered him. But the next day, I found him lying in the exact same place and position. When I went to check on him, he lifted his paw to show me his stomach, which had a huge hole with maggots scurrying out of it. I rushed him to the hospital and we admitted him there. Later, he stopped eating and developed tick fever. He was put on saline every day and I had to hand feed him to bring him back on his feet. He’s old and blind and when he was a puppy someone had put a rod in his eye so his left eye was permanently damaged. Now that he’s so old, the right eye has developed cataract, but he’s my old man and my fighter!”
Mitali and Tingi, the Cat Who Refused To Be Adopted
“Little Tingi came to me when she was barely a month old. A scraggly little calico kitten with a really bad stomach. Despite all the medication, she remained quite a stinker. After a couple of weeks, she was adopted, but returned in three days because they couldn’t cope with giving her the medicine. At about two months old, she found another home, and was then returned because the grandmother didn’t want her. She was adopted and returned a total of four times, and at that point I said enough is enough, and decided she was going to stay. She was neutered, and remained a little cat. Over time she became close to a tuxedo male cat called Keechu. She remained a quiet little puss. When Tingi was about five years old, a gentleman came to adopt two kittens from me, saw Tingi, and fell in love with her, and adopted her along with one of the kittens. He rechristened her Tinkerbell and had the patience to deal with the time it took for Tingi/Tinkerbell to get used to a new human. Tingi and her new housemate, Goldie, went with him wherever he moved, and at last contact, they were with him at his parents place in Gujarat.”
Som and Bolt, and the Gift of Life
“I adopted Bolt from a from a lady called Rani Wilfred in Koregaon Park. Bolt was a very evolved soul, I have had many Dachshunds through the years and he was a very special dog. On his first day on the farm, we formed an inseparable connection in no time. He would never leave my side! He changed our life for the better for sure. We had been planning a family for a long time and life was stressful to say the least. One holiday to Coorg we had to leave him on the farm along with a stray dog who was his companion. I never believed in tying him up and he was free to roam all the time. Then a week into our vacation I received a call from the farm saying that Bolt had not returned for the entire day. I panicked, asked them to give a police complaint and I immediately thought that someone might have picked him up. The next day I received another call saying that one of the farmers had found his body in a corn field. He had been gored by a wild boar. I was driving and was inconsolable for quite a long time. I left instructions to have him buried immediately. This was a big shock for me and I almost felt that I wouldn’t be able to continue working there. The memories were too strong. But we returned to Pune, only to realise the great news that Navya, my wife was expecting! When we worked out the day of conception my heart skipped a beat. It was the day or a day or two around the day we lost Bolt. I mentioned this to our gynaecologist and she said she has heard of similar stories. My way of looking at it is that this was Bolt’s precious gift to us for the care that we gave him. Love you Bolt!”
A huge shout out to all of you amazing human beings who take the time out to rescue and adopt these amazing animals. We need more of you out there. We’d love to hear your special animal rescue story… Tell us!