Lon was a very weak and seriously ill-looking dog when I saw him by the side of a footpath in one of the colonies of Dahisar.” Stray dogs generally have some or the other small wound or injury or illness , and so was this one.” This exactly was the thought in my mind when I chose to move ahead past him seeing him as another such case of an injury to a stray dog . But suddenly , I was reminded of the fact that I am a volunteer for animal rights and there is a duty I owe to my own values . Observing with some patience and clarity, I realised that this is not a general case of a stray dog having some minor wound . Infact even if those minor-wounds as perceived by us, seem to be normal , they many times end up into fatal injuries or disorders and also have the ability of causing trouble to the animal I’m the ongoing phase . So , as compassionate and alert citizens, we must try to aid these helpless animals off every minor and major ailment that they face. But what I saw in the case of Lon was first of my experiences with such a badly suffering animal. Lon had outlasted a dreadful accident around a week ago, probably in the night and had ruptured his spinal cord as a result . He also had a wound in the back portion of his neck which was now wide-open and had become a breeding ground for maggots due to which the cut was further increasing . The pain of this , along with too much of weakness , a ruptured backbone and no hope for help might have been unimaginable , and this was clear with the load of tears that had wetted his face every now and then . It was the first time that I had seen a dog crying that way . Portions of his body had already become blackish, might be due to the blood that was flowing out . The dog needed immediate help , and that was the only thing bothering us then .
What was more sickening to me than the condition of the dog was the fact that he was left suffering in the same condition since the last 3-4 days by the residents and the by-passers of such an active area , inspite of many adults knowing the lethality of his condition . Medical aid was far to be expexted , but no calls were made even to the animal helpine nos. In the city . There was just one woman who kept on making attempts of feeding him water and some food whenever she could and even tried to ask for help , but there wasn’t any . The dog had resisted from eating since the last three days from the day I saw him and as a result , his ribs while he struggled to long every breath comfortably was visible .
Medical is such a field where even the delay of a second and lead to the death of the patient . So obviously I didn’t have minutes to waste . I began with Just Dial and got a list of the animal helpline number for my area . Almost all of them weren’t available on call and the one which connected claimed not to be an Animal Rescue NGO . I called up at the BMC ward office for my area to once again find that they didn’t have the provision to help that hour, their job for the issue was over for the day it seemed. It’s very disappointing to see that a job that may be an emergency anytime has been facilitated with limited hours of service by the govt. . In fact , there are very few provisions by the govt. for veterinary aid and I doubt with my other experiences whether the centre I had called up even have an animal rescue facility. The BMC call assistants referred me to a few animal rescue organisations, but no help could be sought from them as well. I tried calling a few more via getting references from the internet , but the result was the same as before. Failing to get any suitable contact for the cause , I thought of the CEO of an Animal and Environmental Rights NGO called P.A.W.S. , Nilesh Bhanage with whom I had been working on a project. Thought they operated in Dombivali , I expected some help in regard of approachable contacts. His team members referred me to a common Animal Helpline no. for Western Mumbai . Finally , I got a contact where I could successfully register the case on the ‘common server ‘ . It was around 5:50 pm that I registered the case , and I was told that aid can be provided only after the doctor began with his trips at 6:30pm. That was very late considering the urgency of the case, so after waiting for around half an hour, we got a contact of another lady who was into animal rescue , she evaluated the case with her experienced and technical eyes via the media sent by me , and got me registered . She calmed me down saying that the dog won’t die and the rescue team will be there . I was also asked to be alert-enough to respond any phone calls that I get. By now, there was pretty much of a team which was there to help-out . It was clear to them that a boy standing near an agonized dog for soo long , clicking videos and pictures and conducting ‘something’ out there . Earlier it just took to my nerve seeing soo many of them looking at me , then the dog , giving a weird look ,sometimes of sympathy and simply walking away . Sympathy without an attempt of aid was needless at that moment. Only later did , a few of them with merciful hearts started gathering and began putting some viable efforts and suggestions for the rescue. Slowly , a team had been formed which was severely concerned for the well-being of the dog . It consisted only of the youth except of the support of the lady who took care off him earlier and a few inquiry nooks by the ‘adults’ passing-by. Some even tried discouraging and wanted us to let it be , without trying to put at least some efforts from their side . Some were too lame and lazy to even encourage us with minor aid like a waste car cover which was supposed to be used for carrying the defenseless dog attacked by maggots. It had been around half an hour after my second registration and nor was the former team there, nor were the ones with whom we registered in the second round. Finally, after many requests for the same , I got the contact of their ‘rescue team coordinator’ from the lady I had called earlier . Though the number didn’t respond, but what surprised me was that these people were the same with whom I had registered earlier, the only difference being that earlier I had directly contacted the number, while this time I had done it via a different link . Later I came to know that the same team of rescuers went around at rescue site’s between Kandivali to Dahisar and all cases were registered at a common place. So after two calls, and too much of patience , I was nothing but waiting for the same squad and it was around 7 pm by now. I had to pick-up my brother from his classes at 6pm but I let that be seeing my need at the spot . My mom went and picked him up then , much before I called to enquire. Anyways, we must learn to manage in such times. Had it been a human being or our close relative or….., would we think twice before being there for the person ? Obviously ‘NO’ . The same is applicable when it comes to animals . We had called up doctors as well, but they wanted us to carry the dog at their place , which seemed a very difficult task for the untrained and unexperienced us that day.
Now , it was getting too late and some of the volunteers had become incoming and outgoing peers every now and then . I had to link up another contact from the Just dial sources I had received . After trying one of them , I was delighted with their helpful response and soon I was referred to a very active volunteer of Mumbai . He inquired into my case saying that it was long been registered and the rescuers took time because there were many such cases . I prayed for the other dogs in agony and assured him all of the possible voluntary support required. After evaluating the wounds via the media we had sent him, he got hold off a skilled volunteer from Kandarpada in Dahisar and sent me her contact. My phone was draining with it’s battery and my team hommies got me a place to charge in their society . When you work with passion for a cause, people just can stare watching you work for long , many good hearts come up with their helping hands. It was undue help at a time when I couldn’t afford to see my phone getting switched off due to low battery balance .
Very soon we had the animal rescuer who was just informed off our plight with us and we the first thing she did after a bit of re-evaluation was grabing his mouth and tying a rope around his mouth because there was a risk of him getting violent and biting somebody off, though he had little energy in him to do so . I remember him crying when it was dark and we were still there. Earlier we thought that he was howling but later observed that he was crying in pain with tears spating from his eyes . This was the first time I was witnessing a dog crying out loud .
This had further driven us into mercy and aggrandized our compassion for the innocent creature. He was shaking and trembling even while drinking small amounts of water unable to even to lift his neck due to weak condition he was in. Some of the water fell down b iny the side and some graciously secured it’s place to quench his long trailing thrist . All those attempts made us even more active for the mission to save him. So very soon we had grabbed his mouth with a rope , wrapped him in a car-cover to carry him all the way to a local and a highly skilled veterinary doc., Mr Dave . It was a big challenge getting a rickshaw . No matter how sympathetically you explain them how traumatized and tensed the dog and the situation was , they had a ‘no’ for help to the badly afflicted dog . Finally came a extremely compassionate person and immediately agreed to help escort Lon to the hospital . For us and for Lon , this was probably an aid from the divine at a moment when almost everybody denied ti help us . Very soon we were in front of the clinic. The doc. and his team was before-handedly informed of the case . It was for the first that I saw myself carrying a dog and kept slowly on the operation bed . We all were relieved seeing this and so were the others when we updated them.
We waited outside speaking to other dog owners and wondering and discussing the ignorant and merciless attitude of people towards these innocent beings . Saline was loaded and the treatment began . Sitting over there, I realised that even though ours was an emergency case, it wasn’t the only one. The doctor treats a number of such animals everyday and around the city there are a number of such serious cases regarding animals . I felt a touch of the actual atmosphere in the field of animal rights. Apart from passion, you need courage , wit and a practical attitude in tough times . You can’t be as scared as the animal or the people around in times of a rescue as everybody depends on your guidance to save the dog’s life.
In a while , we had Khyati didi coming out to inform us of the situation. We all were de-stressed to know that all was well , but this wasn’t permanent for me though. She said that somebody had put rockel on the wound and that had made the case severe for the doc. . I recollected a few hours ago , the lady who had taken some care of him for three days , had put rockel on the wound to get rid of the maggots . I had insisted not to do that , but she said that many of her neighbours have suggested that this will be beneficial . I couldn’t resist further thinking that the adults must be right and experienced . But that had further added to the dismay . I regretted , probing as to why had I allowed her to go further?…….. The rockel had caused a burning –feeling to his skin.
Now , the only question that bothered us was , ‘’Where to rest him in the night ?’’ The team that had guided us for the cause was off the Mumbai Animal Association-MAA () . They had planned to take him to an animal shelter for recovery the next morning . But we couldn’t let him be on the streets throughout the night because there was a risk of other dogs or the rain provoking some mangle with his poor condition. It was the four of us who were there for the dog then , a boy named Rakshit from the team that helped me , Khyati didi and an Sahilji , an elderly from from the society where the Rakshit lived. Nobody amongst us could help accommodate the dog in our respective buildings for one night . Finally it was decided by Khyati didi that we shall admit him in an animal hospital in Malad overnight. An ambulance from the Mumbai Animal Association had come to take the dog there along with whom the three of us except Khyati didi had to go. Rakshit had to visit some place in the night so he couldn’t join us . My parents didn’t allow me to go further inspite of many attempts request them. The ambulance was intended to stop a few yards away from the hospital , away from the site of the staff so that they take it as a new case and admit him ; or else, they would have denied admitting him seeing the ambulance . Once and for all , after a bit of inducement from the Dr Dave and Khyati didi , he agreed to go alone . The problem being faced was that he had to carry the dog all on his own, which he thought would be a bit risky as the dog was a bit active as compared to the erstwhile case. But when told that the distance he had to carry won’t be much and the hospital authorities would then take care of the dog , he agreed.
I went back home thinking that Lon will be alright and we’ll soon learn that he is taken care off in an animal shelter . But fate didn’t follow . In a call with Khyati didi I was told that Lon was no more. He expired for the heavens at midnight in the hospital . I couldn’t react too much , though I had thought that his condition won’t lead him to god’s place. The doctors had reported that he had met some accident a week ago , and obviously we were late . Probably not me , but the system was late . I ain’t referring to the governing system or the judicial system here, I am referring to Public system , which includes the all of us . All of those people who just passed-by just with a dismal look for Lon, all those locals and even dog owner’s who inspite of knowing his terrific condition chose to ignore . We need to consider sentinence not only to humans but to these innocent beings as well . The person who had caused the accident didn’t help the dog , and he was once found in a BMC garden for senior citizen’s just in front of the place where I saw him . The watchman kept him out of the garden as it posed a risk for the people coming in . I wonder why didn’t the watchman have the sympathy to inform the authoritative people he obviously knew in regard of the garden about the freaked up condition of Lon. Would that have been big-bad deal? Anyways, least can be expected from the huge circle of the people who lay there in ignorance for around a week. I remember a 10 year old telling me that he had informed an adult in his society who himself owned a dog , but the man insisted for him to let him die . ‘’ He will die in sometime, let go .’’ Such words take to my heart , what if he was in the dog’s place , what if somebody said the same for him . Humans have made the world like a hell for the animals .
Even today when I pass the spot where I found Lon , I think of him and his soul, I remember him crying that night , an hour before the rescue . Imagine that you had hit verrrrrryyyy hard by an accident and nobody cares and you lay there on the road living each and every moment of pain caused to you . Similar is the story of many other dogs around the city and similar is the story of many other ignorant whom I meet during almost every animal rescue .
People still up-hold the ‘’Jaane de’’ attitude . ‘’He is old now, let him go , he will die .’’ such were the words of an old lady whom I met during an attempt to arrange medical cure for an old dog who was in physical endurance and me in mental endurance. As for the man who asked the kid to ‘’let go’’ , he not only showed benighted side , but also passed on his message of ‘’let go’’ to an active, com-passionate and sensitive young lad . But the young guy had no effect , he was years ahead in compassion than him .
It is very substantial , what Khyati didi said at the hospital , ‘’ People will ignore , but the youth won’t . The youth just doesn’t tolerate !’’
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