By Dr. Kuhu Roy
On my way home post work on the 11th of July, 2014, a notification popped about a stray dog that had apparently come under a train, in a city 70 kilometres from Baroda. I hoped someone would turn up to help the needy dog. Then reality struck. What were the odds of a stray dog getting help in a remote city?
At six in the evening, I was on my way to Nadiad. I wanted closure. A needy dog left to an unknown fate does not bring peace. It is during the traffic snarls on the highway it struck me that with no contacts, no one to tell me about the dog’s whereabouts, had I made an impulsive decision? And, what if it was too late?
Two hours later, I was in the heart of the city asking for directions to the railway station. As I stepped inside the station, I met a railway police official first. He had no knowledge about any stray dog coming under a train that morning. The station master was not much of help either. Had I been fooled? I went back to the station master, that time with folded hands and said, “I will really appreciate it if someone can help me find the dog. I have come all the way from Baroda burning my time, emotions and money to help save a life.” One of his subordinates who was listening to me came forward and said, “Yes, there was an accident in the morning.” “Is the dog alive?” “No idea about that. But I can send someone along with you to help find the dog.” I followed the gentleman who was deputed to take me to the injured dog. “Which NGO have you come from, madam?,” he asked me on the way. “None. The suffering of that dog is what brought me here.” We met a tea seller on the way, then a porter and all of them confirmed the location. Five minutes later, we reached a dark secluded corner, at the end of the railway station. “Here, madam,” said the gentleman as he pointed towards what appeared to be an abandoned room. I lit the torch and opened the door. It was a dirty humid room with a strong odour of blood and there was some movement. Lying soiled in blood and dirt was a dog with its forelimbs bandaged. Alive. Tears of joy taste sweet, not salty. The wild goose chase was worth it. When there is a will, there is always a way.
I lifted the young dog with great caution, there was no protest from her. I placed her in the car, dabbed her with a painkiller, an antibiotic and a tetanus toxoid shot and we set off for Baroda. As we left the railway station, some blessed us while others watched us with a puzzled look.
Rani slept for the next one hour. She woke up and took a note of her moving surroundings with beautiful light brown eyes. She chose to trust me and did not panic. We reached Baroda late in the night. Her wounds were cleaned and she went off to sleep after having food.
Rani was successfully operated on by an experienced surgeon later the following day. She was a confident dog post-surgery. Left with just the hind limbs and two stumps, there was no sorrow or self-pity in her body language or face. She was a brave heart with a lot of life in her eyes and had a voracious appetite. However, three days later, we unexpectedly lost Rani to an internal haemorrhage, which the vet suspected must have occurred due to the accident she had. I wish Rani had lived to sparkle our home, run around with prosthetic limbs and pink shoes that I had imagined for her and enjoyed the company of Butter, the dog with the most magnanimous heart. It has been eight years, but in four days in my life, she taught me to be grateful for the small yet big blessings of life that we often take granted for.