Here is Manik's story about INDog-mix Tara, her old friend who has recently become her family member!
'The first dog is the dog that gives so much that the first dog is often the reason for the second dog!!'
So truly quoted...
Tommy came into my life and brought along so many more canine friends to grace my life with pure love and bliss.
Blacky followed Tommy and then came Madame Chinky... Blacky passed away very young due to hemangiosarcoma, when he was barely five and a half years old. Tommy passed in May 2015, and Chinky decided to follow him...she passed away on 2 October 2016. She was barely ten years old.
In January 2008, a small brown frail female dog was first spotted by me opposite my building in Santacruz. I approached the dog, she was friendly. I offered her food which she gobbled greedily. So I decided to encourage her to settle in my lane. Looking at her size I first thought she was a four or five month old puppy. After 15 to 20 days when she was in better health, and settled, I checked her teeth...and found she had all the permanent teeth. So sh was a near-adult dog! Perhaps seven months old or more. Guesswork on my part. But the next task was getting her spayed. I immediately dewormed her, got her vaccinated, and some months later had her spayed by a local animal welfare NGO.
I named her Tara - 'star'!
Tara grew into a confident dog. Power in a small-sized package. She was naughty at times and loved to tease other dogs. Her worst activity was chasing motorbikes and incessant barking at night. She was notorious for these and had even been threatened by people. But she didn't mend her ways.
Chinky and Tara never got on well.
Tara always wandered in my lane and slept under the bench opposite my building in the daytime. At night she used to sleep in an auto-rickshaw. This was her regime for many years. But around 2012, she started venturing into my housing society premises and took shelter on the stairway leading to the terrace; and sometimes on the terrace. During diwali she used to scratch on my door seeking help. We would shelter her in the bathroom or bedroom, since Chinky and Tara were enemies!!
In May 2015, Tommy passed away. And in June that year we had to shift to faraway Thane, as our housing society went into redevelopment.
I tried very hard to get Tara adopted. I had tried this even when she first entered my area, but with no luck.
Taking into consideration my parents' reluctance to adopt her, and Tara and Chinky's strong dislike of each other, I had no option but to leave Tara to fend for herself. I requested my friend Thomas to feed her every night, and intermittently when my father visited the area, I would send food for her and for my other dog friend there, Tiger.
Tara stayed on in the demolished building premises...during the rains...through the dreaded diwali...through winter.
My heart always cried for her, but I was helpless.
Then my Chinky was diagnosed with renal failure and for five months thereafter, I devoted all my time and energy into comforting her and nursing her through the ailment. I didn't get a chance to visit my old area of Santacruz.
After Chinky passed away, I called the local NGO to vaccinate all the street dogs of that area against rabies. Finally I met Tara again.
She had grown very thin but was very active, and seemed to have been accepted by the security staff and workers in the plot.
But towards end-November when my father visited Santacruz, he was told by the security staff at the site that Tara had not eaten any food for the last four days, and had just been lying in a corner. Even when my father offered her her favourite 'paneer' (cottage cheese), she ate slowly and reluctantly.
When my father broke this news to me, I was very sad and upset.
Once again I asked my parents for their opinion, but they didn't agree to bringing her to our new flat in Thane.
So I requested my friend Chinmayi to go and check Tara for fever. I suspected jaundice or tick fever.
Chinmayi went...Tara's temperature was normal. And she gobbled some packaged dog food. So we decided to take her to the vet.
I had a sleepless night. I booked an auto-rickshaw and went to Santacruz. Gave food to Tiger and took Tara to the vet clinic. She was checked by the vets there, and her blood tested. Fortunately her report was normal. The vets opined that the dog was probably under chronic stress, and was also malnourished.
I was lost in thought. What should I do?
I carried her into an auto-rickshaw and told the driver to take us both to Thane.
It was a very difficult decision. I was just about coping with the loss of my pets, and now another dog to nurse!
But I felt Tara should be given a chance. She had remained loyal to my building premises even after I had left.
That had beenTara's first visit to a vet, and also her first ride in an auto-rickshaw. She tried to snap at me every time I picked her up. On the vet's table; in the auto-rickshaw. But I understood she was unwell and just trying to protect herself. I appreciated her trust in me.
Finally I brought her home...23 November, 2016. Chinky's birthday!!
For the first three days Tara just lay on the blanket I had placed her on. She ate chicken and rice very slowly and seemed very very weak.
Gradually, after a week, she shifted herself from the blanket up to Chinky's bed. She started walks in the building premises.
|A week after adoption - so happy and relieved!|
It is now three months since I adopted her. And it's as if she has been our pet for the last eight years! She has made friends with the building dogs, Kalu, Spotty and Boss; all except Lalee the female dog. This legacy of female-female canine dislike she has decided to retain.
|Wearing our old INDog Club tag!|
|With her friend, Spotty|
|A visit from the K Gang, with a dog-gate in between (Kiba and Kimaya are NOT the most polite guests!)|
She has put on weight, and has a kiddy fan club following her!
I wish, hope and pray for many more years of happiness and peace and companionship for Tara and me!
Thank you Tommy for starting it all. Love you all, always!!
Story and photos: Manik Godbole
Above, left to right: Blacky, Chinky, Tommy! Read about them in these posts -
Tommy and Blacky
The Tommy Diaries
Life with Blacky
Training your INDog
Tommy and gang
Tommy, Blacky and Chinky
Tommy's 8th birthday
Tommy, Chinky and Buddy
Doggies' day out!
Tommy, Chinky and Steffi
A summer day with Tommy and Chinky
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