One rainy afternoon, a homeless puppy was soaking wet when he found himself in front of an architect's office. It was a stroke of good fortune that changed his life. Pavithra Sriprakash, an architect whose first passion is animal welfare noticed him and made two decisions — he would be a part of her family, and his name would be Rowdy.

In January, Rowdy became a local celebrity when he won the top award (Best dog) at the Wacky Mongrel Show organised by the Blue Cross to promote adoption of homeless animals. “I don't think it went to his head,” laughs Pavithra. “To him, it was just an afternoon out. He got a lot of treats. But we were exhilarated that he won a trophy”.

While her husband and family have always been supportive, Pavithra reveals that there were others who asked her why she picked up a street pup. “They said — you don't know where he has come from and you don't know about his temperament. But I believe that a dog's personality is a reflection of his nurture. When Rowdy gets excited, he lifts his mouth and shows his teeth like he's grinning. And when he wants to be petted, he gets on top of our swing and wags his tail. That's his petting station”.

Rowdy has an extra toe on each of his hind legs, so Pavithra calls him her good luck charm. Coincidentally, she has recently rescued another pup with extra toes on her hind legs. Pavithra is now looking for a home for Cinnamon, named so because of her sweet disposition. “Cinnamon has a long, slender snout and loves to play a game that we call paw-face”, she says. Pavithra strongly advocates animal birth control to reduce the homeless dog population, and suggests that we graduate from wishful thinking to real action. “If you want a pet, don't buy one, please! Instead, when you see a puppy on the road, reach out and make a difference”.

(To adopt Cinnamon, the puppy featured in this photograph, contact Pavithra at 9884910988)

HERO OF THE WEEK Gita Srikanth is our hero for getting two homeless dogs spayed, adopting them and taking them to her farmhouse

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