Delightful stories of rescue and adoption of mongrels were the highlight of The Great Indian Dog Show conducted by the Blue Cross

They were almost the invisible dogs — they'd have spent their lives hiding near garbage bins and railway stations foraging for food, or waiting at an animal shelter and hoping that someone would take them home. Fortunately for these 76 dogs, someone did. The Great Indian Dog Show conducted by the Blue Cross on Sunday afternoon at PS School grounds, Mylapore, saw a long line of owners bursting with pride, and enthusiastic to tell the world the story of how they rescued and adopted a dog.

There was Manjunath who walked on stage, cradling his young adult mongrel whom he’d found at a dumpster as a puppy. Named DeNiro, the regal-looking dog looked nonchalant as he collected the trophy for ‘Most Elegant Dog’. Yagnaprabha, owner of a cheerful dog named Merry Brown, tearfully described how she first met Merry. A group of people had sliced off a community dog’s tail, and Yagnaprabha’s neighbour alerted her about the incident. A complicated surgery later, Merry Brown had lost her tail but found a home with her rescuer.

Sruti brought on stage her pampered dog Ammu whom she first met when she saw someone chasing her with a stick when she was a puppy. “I shouted at them, and Ammu crept beside my legs and just refused to leave,” she said. “She’s now the mascot for my office.” There was Muffy, whose owner Venkatesan and his family spoke of how she was found in a flooded hole with three dead siblings, when they rescued and adopted her. Blackie, a mongrel showed up wearing a sash and a silver tiara because her owners declared that she was the princess of the house, while Ronaldo who was rescued as a puppy after a hit-and-run accident came wearing a pair of red devil horns, and a trident tucked into his harness, to show he was an incorrigible mischief-maker. There was Dharmesh Shah who said his rescued dog Swamy wouldn’t sleep without his stuffed toys, and Viji who said she adopted her dog Browny from the Blue Cross shelter when he pleadingly barked non-stop at her from behind the enclosure until she picked him up and brought him home. The human companions narrated stories of how rescuing a dog changed their lives too. Pet owner Sundar told the audience that following his mother’s death, his dog Shenbagam stayed by his side through the ceremonies to comfort him, while Jasmine spoke about how her newly adopted puppy Sweetie was making a positive difference to her son with special needs. The judges — veterinarian Dr. Jayaprakash, actors Anuja Iyer and Venu Arvind and S Vinod of the Animal Welfare Board — struggled with their decisions as each rescue story was as compelling as the one that preceded it. 36 trophies were given to the winners, and all the dogs received medals that read ‘Proud to be an Indian dog’, with gift bags containing collars, bowls and t-shirts. Actors Simbu and Mahat, and C. Sylendra Babu, IPS, were the special guests at the event.

Between entries, volunteers of the Blue Cross brought on stage dogs for adoption from the shelter that wore tags which read: “Please adopt me. Danger: extremely lovable”. There was also an adoption section with young puppies that reached through the fence to touch their potential owners. Twenty of them found homes at the event. Said Anuja Iyer, “If there was one place in the city filled with people of compassion, stories of survival and a spirit of oneness, it was at the Great Indian Dog Show”.