Sixteen-year-old Samyuktha Nair isn’t your average teenager. Having grown up with dogs in a home that treats pets as family, she enrolled as a volunteer with the Chennai Adoption Drive (CAD) last year to help find homes for rescued animals. “It was her idea and I just went with her,” says her proud mother Meenakshi.

Their decision to help out changed many lives, particularly one cocoa-brown mongrel who was born on a construction site. The pup (Mia) and her siblings had been rescued by CAD founder Jennifer Jacob and fostered by a volunteer while they waited for the next adoption event, not knowing at the time that Mia wouldn’t have to go after all.

“Samyuktha sent me a Facebook message, an email, a text message and then called, pleading with me not to give Mia to anyone else,” laughs Jennifer.

Samyuktha and her mother went through the standard procedures of being interviewed and signed a form that promised they would take good care of Mia forever. After they received the green signal for adoption, the family busied themselves shopping for pet food, collars and leashes. “She completes our family and everyone adores her,” says Samyuktha.

For Jennifer, this is another sweet success story in her list of CAD adoptions that’s nearing the 500 mark. When she thinks of Mia, she recalls crawling on the floor of the construction site, making her way through the rubble and grabbing the puppy to get her vaccinated. Since then, the naughty mongrel has come a long way.

The next Chennai Adoption Drive for pups and kittens is scheduled for February 17 at 78/1, McNichols Road, Chetpet, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. The puppies are all vaccinated (records will be handed over to the adopting family) and there is no adoption fee. Call 8939311148 for details.