Friday, January 10, 2014

When an animal lover becomes a parent

Last October, Inji, one of the beautiful fur babies on my street, littered seven adorable puppies in an unoccupied house next to my apartment. The next day three disappeared. I tried finding adopters for the remaining ones and my efforts ended in vain. (Maybe, I didn’t make justifiable amount of effort. Maybe, I’m guilty!) Out of four puppies that were living in that house, two disappeared. Last week, my mother confirmed that the last two puppies were not found too. So, we presumed that the duo managed to find their way out of the house. But a couple of days ago, my mother told that an unbearable stench emerged from the unoccupied house. On the same day, we also found one puppy that was loitering in the house. My husband and I entered that house to check the status of the puppies. There was a carcass in the portico and the last puppy that managed to survive was sleeping in the first floor. I tried to grab her, but she dodged us, crossed the balcony and sat on an asbestos roof. We couldn’t walk on the roof as it was flimsy. We had to return and we waited for another opportunity to catch her.

Yesterday, fortunately I returned early from work. My husband, who was at home the whole day, couldn’t spot her. However, much to my surprise, I found her sleeping in the terrace of the unoccupied house. My mother and I rushed to the house. The puppy fled when she heard my footsteps and hid herself in the house again. My mother managed to catch her and we brought her to my apartment. On our way back, we found that the carcass that I found in the portico that morning was dragged to the terrace and the puppy’s mouth that we just caught smelled of dead body. How disturbing it was to learn that she had been feeding on the carcass of her sibling to cope with hunger!

After we left her in my apartment, she ensconced herself in a corner and she certainly didn’t like the experience of being taken away from her home ground, which wore the look of a graveyard. We took her to the vet immediately and thankfully, the vet confirmed that there were no symptoms of Parvovirus. He was amused at the fact that she ate her sibling’s carcass. He smiled! (I’m not kidding!) She was dewormed and given some antibiotics to treat her gastric infections. We couldn’t vaccinate her since she was not keeping too well. The vet advised us to monitor her stools for a couple of days, prescribed more medicines and put her on some critical care tin food diet.

Anu at the vet

While I was waiting in the clinic to meet the vet, I decided that we would foster her till the adoption drive that is going to happen on January 19. My father, who feared that I might add another pet to the family, detested my decision and advised me to just vaccinate her. He reckoned that it would be too much for us to foster her. But I couldn’t envisage leaving her back on the road at the same time I couldn’t take her home. Hence I chose to keep her in a small space in my apartment. We fed her, set up her cozy corner and kissed her goodnight. She howled for a while in the night and had a good sleep after a while. By the way, we named her ‘Anu’.

Anu at home for the first time

It’s been ages since I woke up before 9’o clock. But today I woke up at 7 am and waited for my father to leave to work. It’s because he wouldn’t like his daughter defying his opinions. I rushed out to see Anu, who was sitting in her corner. She didn’t give us eye contact. She still doesn’t. She shivered when I tried to lift her. I looked for her stools and it was all solid. I was never that happy in my life to see a dog’s poop and sigh with relief. After I gave all the prescribed tin food, after she downed a sachet of pedigree, I tried giving her some milk. She politely refused to drink. She seemed very choosy. I fixed her corner again and left to work halfheartedly.

Luckily, my husband hasn’t been working this whole week. So, he kindly agreed to take care of Anu when I am not around. After I reached office, like a kid who has adopted a pet would go gaga over the animal, I desperately waited for someone to listen to my story. This world doesn’t have too many people, who would willfully listen when an animal lover gushes. While I was in a long meeting, my husband tried phoning me many times. When I found time to talk to him, he sweetly told that he wanted to tell me that he thoroughly followed my instructions to look after her and sent me a cute picture of Anu relishing her lunch. My heart skipped a beat. For the first time in my life, I realised that I had become a parent and that I was talking to my husband about a little kid, whom we had begun to love. I couldn’t wait to return home and see the adorable child.

Anu relishes her lunch

I came back home around 9 pm and I immediately started inquiring my husband to learn the happenings of the day. He patiently explained that she enjoyed her lunch, but she was still scared of us. I realised that we were whole-heartedly involved in the process of fostering Anu. I loved that moment!

We just checked on her again. She now lives in my terrace. We have given her a nice quilt, a carton, some old clothes and water. She was crying for a while. But she settled down after we petted her once. She still doesn’t recognise us. I’m not too sure if a three month old pup would anyway recognise his/her parents. But I assume that Anu will take some more time to forget the trauma that she has experienced. She will begin to trust us soon. I believe!

Whenever I find time, I usually see some lovely doggie pictures and read a few fairy-tale stories in the Chennai Adoption Drive Facebook page. Its founder Jennifer has been a great inspiration to me. Perhaps, only because I found them helping animals remarkably that I pushed myself to do my wee bit to them. But when I spent many hours basking in the cuteness of those animals in the pictures, I never thought that I would become a foster parent soon. I never really thought that I would bring another animal to my place. Maybe, it was all destined. My mother casually said, “Anu pozhakkainumnu irukkupola. Athu appo kandippa nadakkum!” Perhaps, she was right!

I will have to foster her for 10 more days to help her recuperate and to take her to the Chennai Adoption Drive on January 19 to find a family for her. These days, my only prayer is to find a kind forever home for Anu. Today, after we checked on her for the last time, my husband questioned, “What will we do if we don’t find an adopter for her on Jan 19?” I felt a stab of anxiety. I sighed before I said, “Let’s see! She will find a home. If she doesn’t then we will put her in a boarding till we find one!” He asked, “Do you think we will be able to afford it?” I honestly didn’t have an answer. He understood and stopped quizzing.

If you are a believer, please pray for this little girl to recover and find a considerate family soon! That is all that we need now.

Anu will always be close to my heart for she has made us parents for the first time. I’m more of an akka to Calvin. So that doesn’t really count!  

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