Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Beautiful Day

TODAY was the BIG day! If you are wondering what I am talking about.... this is about the rally cum adoption camp I had announced in my post dated August 10.

TODAY, the weather seemed to have miraculously cleared after the last few days of heavy rainfall. Bangalore woke up to a sunny but cool morning. We breathed a sign of relief and thanked the weather Gods.

TODAY was a significant day for animal rights advocates as well as the street dogs in the city—a message conveyed, a point made, an awareness created, and 15 little pups in loving, secure homes. Tonight, all the 15 of them will perhaps sleep in a home they can call their own for the very first time.

This post will be mainly photographs, I shall write about the issue behind our efforts in the next one! The event began with a great rally consisting of lots of banners, posters, people, and slogans! I have here some slogans that I remember:

Save the puppies! Save! Save!

Indian dogs! Bhow! Bhow!

Street dogs can change your life! Yes they can! Yes they can!

Save us! Bhow! Bhow!

Can Indian puppies survive! Yes they can! Yes they can!

Save the street dogs! Save! Save!

Adopt the street dogs! Adopt! Adopt!

The march being flagged off.

A message conveyed, a point made.

The rally was followed by the adoption camp. The pups were first vaccinated! I must reiterate that all the pups were "Indian street pups"saved from the streets from various life threatening situations. After the pups were vaccinated, little colorful ribbons were tied around their necks. They looked a pretty picture!

Soon people started walking in to adopt the pups. They got to choose their new family member first, after which they had to complete an adoption formality.

Enjoy the pictures! The families were also given counseling by the doctors and volunteers.

All the families with their new babies received puppy care kits from Let’s Live Together and some more pampering from Pedigree who had also set up stall.

There was someone who did not hesitate to adopt the pup with three legs. For the records, this little one runs the fastest!

It was a beautiful day!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Four Little Paws

I am writing after a nearly four-month long hiatus. I was having one of those angry conversations with God once again. Certain events in these months had made me feel extremely restless. Living in this city had started to choke my innards as violently as the exhibition of violence outside—extreme levels of cruelty, silent suffering and pain!! I was feeling very, very angry and helpless.

Angry, because I couldn’t turn a blind eye to the brutality all around (I often asked, are all planets equally violent.... If not, WHY AM I HERE?). And helpless that I couldn’t do anything to make a perceptible difference. Even the choices that I had made in my life seemed so meaningless before the mounting violent choices of others!! I tried to write but no words would come out except for an overpowering sense of felt bitterness. “I can’t take it anymore!!!!” My innards screamed. All I could see around me was an overwhelming lump of mass made of material that looked just like humans but with brains that can think of nothing but “I”, “me”, and “mine”! Compassion, love, and empathy sadly limited within “I”, “me”, and “mine”!

More than three months passed, and in this time I went on a road trip to Coorg and another to Shirdi, watched Harry Potter, few other movies—old and new, the reality shows on television, wondered about different things but didn’t write about any! The trip to Shirdi was significant. Sai Baba of Shirdi holds an extremely special place in my existence. He is my guardian angel, and someone who shows me the path from the other side. I was in Shirdi for the first time for a long awaited darshan. “Why is the earth so cruel?” I asked Him too. “And if I have to feel sad every day witnessing the cruel acts of my fellow humans, how do I live....”

A few weeks back I received a mail from someone called Achala Pani and the contents were such that I went to meet her immediately. Very soon I was introduced to her world of street pups, street dogs, and abandoned breed dogs. I learnt how she along with some volunteers work on a project called Let’s Live Together, how they pick up abandoned pups and injured pups and foster them till they find the pups a loving adopted home. I learnt of stories with happy endings, of how little pups found loving human homes. I felt answers to my angry questions beginning to come....

Then I met Four Little Paws. I met her at Achala’s. She was squatting at the far corner of the room, a little hesitant and looking steadily at me with her little black-pearl like eyes. All of a few inches high and with specks of white and rust in her otherwise black body, she made a perfect case to fall in love with her. She had been found a week back in a gutter all alone—no mother—no body to look after her—thin, weary, and sick. A volunteer had brought her to Achala’s home. Little Paws was initially terrified of human touch but very soon her flawless little soul recognized a “secure” touch.

I met Little Paws when she was already seven days in a secure healing environment. She was only 1.5 months old and I was deeply touched by the innocence in her that had seemingly made her put behind the traumatic first few weeks of her life. She enjoyed chewing my fingers with her pointed little teeth and it was a blessed sight to see her hold a biscuit between her two front paws and munch on it like a squirrel.

I was sad to leave the company of Little Paws when it was time to say goodbye. Within a week I was informed that she had been adopted. Another message from God. “Now calm down,” God said. Hmmmmm.... “But I want more. I want more!” I said.

“You will have more.” God said.

I dedicate this post to Four Little Paws and Achala. They got me to create something out of the felt bitterness. They showed me the face of goodness from the highest echelons of the spirit. I wonder what Little Paws is called in her new home. I will hold her close in my memory as those four little paws that chewed my fingers and while at it, made me despair less.

Photographs: Courtesy Achala Pani