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Updated: January 8, 2011 16:02 IST

How I met my puppy

Sriya narayan
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LIFE-CHANGING Give a home to a four-legged friend. Photo: Special Arrangement
The HIndu
LIFE-CHANGING Give a home to a four-legged friend. Photo: Special Arrangement

Dogs love us with all our flaws and we accept them with all their quirks — it's the perfect relationship. Often, this long-lasting bond begins with a gesture of compassion. Chicago-based Mehul Kamdar is proof. The former Blue Cross volunteer was helping out at the shelter when an adult dog stood on his hind legs and put his paws on the enclosure to greet Mehul. An instant connection was made and the dog, now named Jack, travelled with him from Chennai to U.S.A. by flight when Mehul relocated. Mehul has helped dozens of people move overseas or within India with their dogs and believes that moving is no reason to abandon a best friend.

Nithya Pari was a college student when she noticed a puppy begging for food at a tea stall. Nithya hopped off her bus when the puppy was stoned. She named the pup Elsa and adopted her. Elsa is now a treasured member of the family. Nithya founded TAGS (The Animal Guardian Society) with the goal of spreading the word that every orphaned puppy is an Elsa in the making — an adoring animal that wants to belong to a human.

Gopi Shankar of CUPA (Compassion Unlimited Plus Action) acted as a silver lining to an aged dog. Subbalakshmi was an Indian mongrel that Gopi saw on the streets. While there are instances of people abandoning their pets after a certain age, Gopi did the opposite and brought home the 12-year-old dog and promised to love her for the rest of her days. Subbalakshmi became the matriarch for his family's other pets and passed away peacefully after being a faithful friend for several years. Gopi uses Subbalakshmi's example to educate people on the importance of being there for a dog in sickness and in health and, most of all, in old age.

These heroes found their inspiration in a dog that changed their lives and they now belong to a new breed of humans who believe that the best love stories begin with an act of kindness to a homeless animal in need.

(To adopt a homeless Indian puppy free of cost, get in touch with the NGO Red Paws Rescue at 99588 66067 or email Visit

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