By Kuhu Roy

It was May 2007 when she walked into my life along with her pack. There was a strange calm on Delma’s face that only added to her beauty. She was a very graceful dog and a no fuss eater. While her face glowed with gratitude after every meal, she had drawn certain boundaries that we were supposed to respect.

Street dogs have to embrace hardships and abuse as a part of their daily life. Although Delma was looked after for fourteen years every single day, a series of ugly episodes made the survival of Delma questionable in the place she had lived all her life. Delma had aged and she had a tough road lying ahead of her. And then, the toothless laws.

With eleven rescued dogs as permanent resident at home at that point, could I have brought a twelfth one? With guilt in my heart and conscience, I boarded her with a shelter, only to reaffirm my faith that a shelter is no place for a dog, but a home is. I was soon invited to bid her a bye, I pulled her out instead. She was in a comatose condition and tireless efforts were made to infuse life back in her. Twice daily IV fluids, time dedicated to her feeds. She got named as a miracle dog – the dog who lived.

Delma transitioned onto become the Grand Old Lady of the House. GEORGINA, the nurse cum guide dog played the most instrumental role in Delma’s recovery. Delma stepped into a life which every dog deserves. Delma had a room of her own, a beautiful mattress, warm meals and a human secretary (me). Delma threw food tantrums she never had on the streets. She was crazy about vanilla cake.

With time, we became even closer when she had those momentary episodes of blindness, wherein my touch only comforted her. Delma was a charismatic, fiercely independent dog. She lighted up the home with her wisdom and lessons that usually tend to gather dust in self-help books. Serving Delma was one of the greatest honours of my life.

While it has been quite some time that Delma left for the rainbow bridge, she gave me the responsibility to make the plight of senior street dogs heard, the ones who are fading away on the streets or waiting for their end at the shelters.

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