Rio Kamodia is a very handsome INDog-mix from Mumbai. His human Mallika wrote to me about him last week.
His story begins very sadly, but he is one of those lucky few who found a really loving, understanding family!
(When you've finished reading the story please read my footnote at the end).
Rio was about one month old when his mother was brutally beaten to death by a watchman, somewhere in the Powai area. The man had hit her really hard on the head with a thick wooden stick, because she peed on the tyre of a car.
Her poor puppy was found shaking and shivering, totally traumatised and all alone, next to his dead mother.
An American girl who was living there at the time saw him and felt really sorry for him. So she picked him up and took him home.
I belong to a lot of non-profit rescue groups in Mumbai, and I foster animals too whenever possible. This girl posted a foster appeal for the pup on Facebook, as she was leaving for Hyderabad that very night. I saw the appeal and agreed to foster him, but I told her I could only take him the following afternoon as I had an exam in the morning. She replied that that was fine, and that her friend would drop the pup off to my place the next evening.
It turned out she had left him alone in her bathroom in the dark from 8 p.m. till around 4 p.m. the following day. She hadn't given him any food or water because that would have made him pee and poop around the bathroom.
This added a tremendously to his already terrible trauma, and messed him up almost beyond recovery.
When he came to us he was malnourished and weak, and so scared that for three days straight he trembled constantly, while eating, sleeping, all the time. Finally after three or four days he started trusting us and came to us wagging his tail, and sat in our laps for hours because he craved and wanted love. Another couple of days and I decided this was it: he had chosen us and I couldn't give him away. After everything he had been through he had finally started trusting us, and I couldn't betray that trust and give him away. I wouldn't have been able to sleep at night if I'd done so.
And trust me, this was the BEST decision we had ever made as a family: to adopt Rio as my little brother, and my parents' son. We love him more than anything in this world. He is now about one year and nine months old. He still has a lot of issues though, is still really nervous, takes time to trust strangers, and is absolutely terrified of going out. We consulted the best canine behaviour consultants in town, but they said that he can't be taken out like a normal dog as he is one of those very few dogs whose trauma cannot be healed. But we have no regrets because he is still one of the best things that has ever happened to us. For exercise we take him up to our terrace every evening for three hours, where he runs around in sheer happiness, fetches his ball and plays hide-and-seek with us as well!
He helped me deal with my own depression issues too. Today I am a super-happy person, all thanks
to him! He is a miracle angel in our lives. And also thanks to him I will always want an Indie and no other breed.
Follow Mallika and Rio on Instagram: mallikakamodia
Story and photos: Mallika Kamodia
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My note: Reading Rio's history, which begins even more sadly than most rescue stories, I wondered for the umpteenth time why the official animal birth control programme is still conducted so half-heartedly in this city. After more than two decades of mass spay-neuter, why are innocent dogs still being left intact to breed in such frighteningly hostile, dangerous conditions? Dogs deserve so much more than just sentimental words and tepid welfare efforts. Rio and his mother were not just victims of a brutal watchman: they were victims of a largely uninterested 'animal welfare' system. Please don't be part of the apathy and cruelty: get the dogs in your area neutered!