If you’re taking care of street dogs in Bangalore, I guess anywhere in India, it’s a heart breaking, pocket emptying, frustrating but ultimately very rewarding and joyous experience.
Once you begin taking care of streeties… you mostly cannot stop. It becomes a lifelong addiction. Because these dogs are on the street, they are way more susceptible to road accidents, pack fights, diseases and so on that your pet dog is mostly spared.
So sometimes, even the most logical and rational human being is driven to despair and flailing helplessly. It happened to me on one occasion about three years ago when our community dog Toby was listless, apathetic and wouldn’t eat. He had an angry tumour in his mouth. We took him to Cupa, where the wonderful and caring late Dr Vishal did a bunch of tests and scans etc. He told us that Toby had cancer and the chances of his survival were non-existent. There were no meds as such, except pain killers which we agreed to administer. He had a week, tops, Dr Vishal guessed.
We brought Toby back home and he promptly ran away, we assumed to find a quiet place to die.
Around that time, I met Poornima Harish, my guest today. Another friend had told me she was an animal healer and that I should mention the situation with Toby to her. I thought to myself, what the heck, why not? What do I have to lose?
Poornima asked me to send a picture of Toby and then text her every day so she could heal him. Alright I said, and texted her diligently for about two weeks. I wrote cute messages and poems. Toby hadn’t come back. I was hoping in vain I knew, and yet something made me persist with this charade.
And then about two weeks later our watchman came rushing in yelling excitedly. Toby 'Aa Gaya. Toby Bandidare. Toby is back.'
And bloody hell if he wasn’t back, no sign of a tumour in his mouth,. Hale, hearty and a waggedy tail. Coincidence? Is that Poornima’s middle name?
I don’t know.