Ten years ago, Elmo was a homeless American mongrel, possibly an abandoned pet, running around on a street in Richardson, Texas. Fortunately for the then one-year-old dog, he was spotted by a local NGO that picked him up and put his picture and details on the Petfinder directory, a website that helps rescued animals in the U.S. find adoptive homes.
Elmo struck gold when Sowmya Mahadevan saw his information on the website and decided to turn his life around. “I was in Dallas for my Master’s degree and then worked there, for about five years,” says Chennai-based Sowmya who had made up her mind about adopting Elmo even before she met him. Sowmya, who had never had dogs before, visited the shelter with her husband and drove home with their new pet after stocking up on bowls, food, a crate and a bed.
She recalls that Elmo was nervous in his new surroundings at first. “My husband was working from home for a month, so it was the right time…it took Elmo about a week to realise this was home.”
When the time came to return to Chennai, Elmo took a trans-Atlantic flight to India along with his doting owners. “My family has never had dogs before and he’s converted them all into dog-lovers. And life revolves around him,” she says, adding that he’s a great friend to her two young children today.
Speaking about why she chose to adopt a homeless animal, Sowmya says — “They’ve gone through a lot in their lives. We should give these dogs a chance. Someone we knew had also adopted a rescued pet and had a very good experience. It made me decide that if I ever get a pet, I’d get a rescued one.”
She states that breed didn’t factor in their decision, and that Elmo is a non-pedigree dog. “He’s obviously a mutt,” she says, laughing. “ We shouldn’t want a dog because of the way he looks. He’s a commitment and a family member.” She adds that her good-natured pooch gets plenty of compliments from the people who see him, and that some of them are curious about what breed he is. “When they ask me, I say he’s one of a kind. He’s unique and special, and I was extremely lucky to have found him”.