Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Yesterday evening as I left the house on my way to Urban Pind for drinks, I noticed I was being followed. By puppy. Since being in India, I have learned to ignore stray animals as they are everywhere, but something about this one caught my attention. I stopped and the little puppy came up to me and then curled into a ball at my feet with sad puppy eyes looking up. It was a blatant example of guerilla sales techniques and it worked like magic. I was sold. I phoned Manuel who had gone to the corner market and since he did not answer, I stayed with the puppy until I saw him coming back down the street. I called him over and within seconds, the deal was sealed.

We had no intention of keeping the dog, I know we are most likely leaving India in just a few weeks, but I couldn’t do nothing. We brought the puppy inside and gave it some milk which it drank with abandon. As I had to go for an appointment, I tasked Manual with going to the pet store and getting flea spray, puppy soap and food.

A couple of hours later I came back to a newly clean pup curled up in a ball in the new bad Manuel had made from a box and a towel. While Manuel had told me the puppy was a girl, I came home and discovered it was a boy. But our little boy had no energy at all, like a little rag doll and he kept groaning like he was in pain. We decided he just needed a good night’s sleep and then he would be back to his puppy self. I didn’t sleep at all, listening for him to make the slightest sound, any excuse to get out of bed and play. But apart from whining for a few minutes a couple of times during the night, he didn’t make a sound. At one point I checked on him and he wagged his little tail and I melted. We had a real puppy. I went back to bed and forced myself to pretend to sleep until seven.

When I got up, I discovered he had not had a bite of food in eight hours. I tried to get him to eat, I tried to get him to drink, but he wasn’t interested at all. He just stayed motionless, groaning. I decided to take him to the vet. My first goal was to get him healthy and then find him a home. I also figured that with the right records, puppy could come with us to wherever we moved.

I went to the Defence Colony SPCA clinic where I got the lowdown on puppy. He is between five and six weeks old, has worms and is actually a she. I suspected the worm part, but a girl? I wanted a girl and had resigned myself to a boy. But now a girl. I swear I looked, and they looked like a little wee wee… But I have to admit, I was wondering why he was peeing like a girl. But suddenly, she went from having no name to being Penelope, right there on the exam table. I was told she would need medication a few times a day for the next month. She would also need feeding with a syringe every few hours. I bought the medication but something in me knew I should leave her there, at the SPCA. I don’t rally know anyone who would be interested in adopting a dog. I also spoke with a doctor and getting a dog out of India takes some doing, mostly due to possibility of bringing in a disease. I was also told that at the SPCA, she would probably not be alive much longer than the next fifteen days, due to the viruses from other dogs and her current medical health. The best hope was for me to bring her home. And even if she did survive, her future means being released back on the streets in a few months.

I wanted to, but knew that ultimately it was the wrong thing. It would mean her being around someone all day, everyday and then suddenly having that taken away. I started calling people I knew would tell me to do what I knew I had to do, but didn’t want to. I phoned Manuel and then I phoned Lata asking if she knew someone who might want to adopt a tiny puppy. I knew what the answer would be before I phoned, but I had to give it one last chance. Lata told me the best place was the shelter where I was standing.

So, I held her for awhile and signed the papers giving her to the shelter. I know it was only fifteen or twenty hours she was here, but I really bonded and I really hate the fact I could not bring her home. But, if I do get a job and stay in India, the first thing I am doing is going to get her, if she is still alive. I feel like I have sent her to death, but I know I could not have given her a life. But then maybe I could have given her a fantastic month. I am not sure I did the right thing, but logically, it seemed the best thing to do. And as I type this, I wonder what it would be like to have Penelope sleeping against my chest.

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