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The Street Dogs

There are a lot of dogs living on the streets in our colony.  Every dog has its own territory.  I was reading some information recently that said that if you know a street  dog and want to feed it, it is better to give it food anonymously by leaving it somewhere that they will find it.  Dogs get emotionally attached to people who give them food.  The point was that if you want to have a relationship with a street dog, take it home and make it your pet, don't just give it a half commitment.

The Singh's next door to us found a lost puppy outside their gate one day a few years ago.  They took him in and looked after him.  He grew into a beautiful dog.  He was half German Shepherd, it seems.  Most of the street dogs around our area are very thin and weak looking.  The Singhs loved their dog and called him Buddhi.  Apparently that means 'wise one'.  The trouble is, when Buddhi grew up, he totally refused to be constrained in the house.  He went mad to go out and one day ran away.  The Singhs were very upset.

He reappeared a few weeks later, looking the worse for wear.  He was thin.  He'd been in fights.  One of his ears was nearly hanging off.  The Singhs took him in, fed him, called the vet and gave him the requisite treatment and medicines.  As soon as he got better, he went back on the streets again.

He used to hang around the gate of his former home.  That gate is right beside ours.  He used to terrorize anyone who came near our house.  People complained to us, thinking he was our dog.  He wasn't our dog.  He was the Singhs' dog.  We felt  helpless.

Then, Buddhi fell in love.  His mate was a black, thin, mean, mangy looking bitch.  Yes, that's what I said.  Sounds awful doesn't it?  Everyone called her 'Kali Kuttia' which means 'black bitch'.  Yes, I know, I didn't like it either.  But I called her that too.  The pair of them used to strike terror into the hearts of our neighbourhood when they roamed together.  They were a rough looking pair I can tell you.  They adored me for some reason.  Whenever I appeared at my gate, they would follow me to the presswala or the local shops.  I used to walk along and pretend I didn't know them.  What else could I do, tell me?

Once, during the rainy season, Buddhi was swept into the open drain beside his house.  An emergency operation was launched to rescue our favourite stray dog.  One sweeper, a very nice man, went down into the drain  and tied a rope around Buddhi so we could lift him to safety.  Everyone heaved a sigh of relief.  The Singhs were  very upset and decided to keep them in their house until the rainy season was over.  They put him up on their terrace.

Kali Kuttia  maintained a twenty four hour vigil outside the Singhs' residence.  But she didn't stay lonely for long. She proceeded to have affairs with all the stray males in the neighbourhood.  From his terrace home Buddhi had a bird's eye view of the carry-on, and howled practically twenty four hours a day, much to our horror.

"What is wrong with that dog?"  I asked Yash.

"His mate is being unfaithful with the entire neighbourhood," replied Yash.  "Naturally, he's upset."

Well, I suppose sometimes a girl gets lonely.  Particularly when her mate gets incarcerated for an indefinite period.  But soon enough, Buddhi was free again.  Looking fitter and smarter than his bedraggled looking mate who was definitely the worse for wear.  They resumed their relationship and sure enough, Buddhi soon looked  rougher than she did.

But it couldn't last forever.  Kali Kuttia disappeared one day and Buddhi moped about inconsolably.  He became extremely weak.  The Singhs kidnapped him again  and it seems that he was infested with worms.  They got him treated, and got an operation done to remove a large lump from his stomach.  As soon as he recovered he gave them the slip again.

One day he walked into our house and ran up the stairs.  We had to persuade him to come down by giving him food.  His eyes looked very sad.  I'll never forget his expression.  It was heartbreaking.  We got him outside the gate.  We were always a little afraid he might lose his temper and bite one of the children.  After that day, we never saw him again.

We gradually realized he was never coming back.

Two years later, the children still miss him.  Nitin asked me where has he gone.

I told Nitin that he's  probably hanging around outside our gate right now.

"His body got sick and died," I explained. "But his spirit must be still around!  You just can't see it," I explained.  That made Nitin happy.

It would be nice to think that our canine friends are still hanging around us in spirit form.  They probably are.


  1. Ah...your post has brought tears to my eyes. You know how I feel about dogs..particularly street we have so many in this country. I've taken in my fair share of them, given them a good start and found homes for them. But have kept Beki for 8 years and now Poppy for a year.
    They both have "boyfriends"...who are constantly hanging around our gate...too much so now that they are both in season.

    You are right about the feeding of strays...this is comething I've written about. I put spare food next to the communal rubbish bins for the dogs to find. It's impossible for me to feed them individually...once I make eye contact I feel I have to adopt them.

  2. Awwww... I seriously didn't know that dogs have so much going on for them. Our neighbor's have a dog and all he does all day is lie around or bark. And we don't have any stray dogs in our area, so I guess your story was a little surprising for me. About the whole dog relationships and things. And you know, once you get attached to an animal you certainly miss it when he's gone.

  3. Its a great pity that nothing can be done about all the strays. There must be dog's mess everywhere too.
    It is very sad for the dogs.
    Very sad tale (tail).
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  4. Oh my. I am a sucker for dog stories. This one made me laugh and cry. I am going to go hug my dog now.

  5. All the street dogs in our immediate neighbourhood are Ranjan's wards and he feeds them, bathes them, treats them for wounds etc and they adore him. They recognize his car and motorcycle and come running into the garage and play around with him till he gets inside. Quite a sight to see.


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