Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Daisy - III

At The Hospital And After

I reached Blue Cross hospital the day after Daisy was picked up. It took me a while to locate her in the hospital. When I found her, she was still in the isolation room. She hadn’t yet been attended to. A couple of Blue Cross workers were assigned the duty of initiating the formalities for Daisy. Under my scrutinizing eyes, they opened the doors to the isolation room. Daisy emerged at the doorway, and I must admit she looked terrible. Her mouth was red with blood – she would have bitten her tongue from the terror of the “pick-up”. She did not seem to recognize me at all and refused to budge. One of the workers promptly carried her in his arms and we marched toward the general OPD under a tree. A lady doctor greeted us with a smile, and asked Daisy to be laid on the metal table before her. She examined Daisy and ascertained that a muscle on the leg has been damaged in the impact of the accident. Therefore, Daisy limped. She administered an injection and Daisy’s treatment began.

The doctor informed me that the chances of recovery were unknown at that point. It will all depend on how Daisy’s body responds to the injections, she said. I left the hospital that day not with guilt but with a feeling of peace. A little voice inside told me that she has come this far, it will only get better from this point onwards.

Daisy was in the hospital for four weeks. I visited her every weekend. My visits also opened the doors to a world of compassion, love, and care toward animals. This was the first time I ever visited a hospital for animals. In the hospital, apart from dogs, there were cats, goats, pigs, and horses. I read whatever I could find about Blue Cross Hospital, Chennai on the internet. My purpose of coming to Chennai became clear to me. This was my primary gain. I left the hospital each of the days I visited with a sense of inner peace. The world of animals is so uncomplicated unlike humans that it charges the weary recesses of the mind with hope and love.

By the end of the second week, Daisy had started responding to the treatment. After the third week, she was up on her four feet. I was very excited at the recovery. All the same, she had grown thin. I was told that she was not taking food, she was in fact, surviving on glucose. Now when I think about it, I am not surprised or alarmed. Daisy is very choosy about food!!

Finally, the day to release her approached. MD had presented Daisy with a violet band. I had chosen the color. Being the color of the crown chakra, among many of its properties, violet also provides healing – physical, psychological, and spiritual. I believed Daisy would stand protected at all times. Another reason for the band was to send out a signal that the dog had an “owner”. I handed over the band to one of the Blue Cross workers requesting him to fix it around her neck the day she is released from the hospital.

The van, a much smaller one halted at the same spot it had come four weeks back. A door opened and Daisy popped out. Although thin, she looked sprightly with twinkling eyes and a cool voilet band around her neck :-) She looked relieved to return to her old spot. She went about busily sniffing the various corners of her bus stop. It was fun to watch her. The Blue Cross workers produced a sheet of paper once more, I signed on it, and tipped them generously out of heartfelt gratitude. I left Daisy at the bus stop as I walked back home.

To be continued.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Daisy - II

Daisy Goes To Hospital

Two weeks passed, Daisy regained strength – the wound healed, and she started to walk. But, she still limped. That is when I decided she needs medical attention and institutional care. I wanted her to scamper about on her four legs just like Budi Boo. My search to find medical help for her began. I googled.

Apart from what I had set out to find, I came across news articles about exceptional people in Chennai whose compassion for dogs have translated into meaningful service for these animals. I was led to the rousing tales of Narasimhamoorthy and C. Padmavathi, Amala Akkineni, and Yaggna Prabha. I remembered the language of omens that Paulo Coelho talks about in The Alchemist. I felt that these news articles were omens to support and encourage me in my search to find help for Daisy.

I finally found a list of animal welfare organizations in Tamil Nadu. I still remember my ecstasy at finding the list, I was ecstatic because I had never taken an initiative of this nature in my life before! The list made me feel that I had won half the battle. Armed with the list, I started dialing. Most numbers had changed, so I had to search some more to get the current ones. I spoke to different types of organizations with various approaches toward animal welfare. One well-spoken gentleman wanted to rope me in as a volunteer-researcher for his organization, another wanted me to help them with their website “in lieu” of helping Daisy. Another well-intentioned gentleman tried his best to convince me to give up the idea of keeping her under institutional care. His reasons were plausible, only it didn’t suit me. According to him, I should get Daisy home from where she can receive medical attention. Leaving a dog in an animal hospital is sinful, from what I understood of his viewpoint. My plea that the possibility is RULED OUT coz I live in a P-A-Y-I-N-G G-U-E-S-T accommodation fell into deaf ears.

It was taxing speaking to this well-intentioned gentleman, so I was grateful when he decided to spare me.

After more phone calls and more talking, I finally hit upon the Blue Cross of India, a hospital for animals – primarily dogs. For now that is all I will say about Blue Cross. It deserves a separate post, which I shall make in the future, soon. So done, it was decided that Daisy will go to Blue Cross for treatment. All arrangements were made and at an appointed hour on the first Saturday in March, the Blue Cross pick-up truck stopped in front of the bus stop where Daisy lived.

Two men got down from the truck; they first made me sign on an undertaking as I was the informer for this “pick-up”. That afternoon, Daisy was sprawled on the bus stop grounds enjoying a siesta, she had no notion about what was to come. I had especially been careful not to make any mention of the hospital trip to her knowing fully well that dogs are capable of extra sensory perceptions.

The operation to “pick” her began. One of the men approached her stealthily from behind with a long iron handle at the end of which was a roundish clasp. Seeing the device, I remember feeling a sudden pang of guilt. What was I pushing Daisy into? I was having a premonition of what was to happen. Suddenly, the man, with a quick and deft movement of his hand fixed the clasp on Daisy’s neck. Time seemed to stop for a few seconds thereafter. And my heart missed a beat. A heart-rending cry filled the air. The passersby stopped in their tracks. The crows started flying low helter-skelter and crowing menacingly. The invisible dogs in the locality joined in her shrill cry....

I will not go into the details from this point on till I went to meet Daisy the following day at the hospital. Suffice to know that I was distraught for a long time after she was “picked-up”. The manner in which it was done got to me. Everybody I spoke to about the ghastly pick-up tried to convince me that, that is how dogs from the street are picked up. Moreover they told me, the method does not cause pain to the dog, although it seems that it does. I hoped that they were right. My heart was still divided. I patiently waited for the next day when I would meet Daisy at the hospital. For a dog that I knew to have suffered trauma, how far was I justified in subjecting her to this experience? I wanted to know.

To be continued.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Daisy - I

It was a sultry morning. I was waiting for my bus to office. The bus stop was crowded with office goers, their eyes glued to the road. Not many would have noticed a bundle of brown huddled on the ground – face buried between its two fore limbs. It seemed oblivious to the human forms moving around. I feared that it might get trampled. Just then, I saw a woman pause by it, a train of children behind her. Suddenly, she kicked the brown bundle. It got up with a start, eyes dazed, looking hurt. That was the first time I saw its full form. I also noticed that it limped as it slowly made its way to a corner in the bus stop. It had a fresh wound on one of its hind limbs – most probably caused by a speeding motorist.

This was sometime in the last week of February this year. I remember feeling very upset and helpless. All day I channeled Reiki to the emotionally and physically hurt dog praying in earnest that insensitivity towards animals come to an end. I also prayed for it to get better. Before the end of the day, I had started to feel hugely responsible toward the dog. I resolved to facilitate its recovery. From next day onwards, I started giving it food twice a day. I found that it had no interest in the South-Indian platter. All it had was Marie biscuits and milk. I got a red-colored bowl for the milk.

It was a shy dog. It wouldn’t come near me although I could sense that its eyes lit up when I arrived with food. It seemed scared of humans. It would spring up with a startle when someone passed by. I am sure this reaction was rooted in some traumatic past experience. It never really waited for me and my arrival with the food, or showed that it did. At the same time, I could sense that it was grateful for the food. The dog came across as a being who had lost all interest in life.

I encountered all kinds of attitudes from people who had started noticing us. A guard in the nearby building offered to keep its bowl at his station at the gate, so that I do not have to get it everyday. I felt very heart warmed by his thoughtfulness. There was another who ordered me and my dog to go to a distance because he believed we were a nuisance outside his premises. Not that the sidewalk belonged to him. There were yet others who enjoyed watching us and would say a few kind words here and there. This experience reinforced one learning I've had in life: for every negative action or thought expressed, there are always positive actions or thoughts of equal number or more. The Universe has fine ways of balancing, tilting it in favor of the positive. Faith is the key.

One early morning in the stage of wakefulness and sleep, a name popped into my consciousness: DAISY. I decided to name my dog Daisy. I felt that “Daisy” has been her name forever.

To be continued.