When her beloved six-year-old Labrador went missing two months ago, Aruna Ananthavijayan and her family were distraught. They searched far and wide for Titan, put up his ‘missing’ poster in the area, shared it on Facebook, in newspapers and followed up on every lead. Around Easter, they received a call from a person who saw their Facebook post and said that a male Labrador was spotted in their area.

Aruna, accompanied by her son and his friend rushed to the spot. When they arrived, they found a male emaciated Labrador who was being pounced on by other dogs on the street. The fur on his tail and front limbs had been pulled off by the dogs, and he appeared to have been starving for days. On closer inspection, they found that he wasn’t Titan.

Aruna recalls sitting down next to the dog and calling him. He came to her readily, but moved away in a few moments, still disoriented from the experience. While it wasn’t clear whether the dog was lost or abandoned, Aruna imagined Titan in the place of this dog and was disturbed by the thought of some other owner suffering the same way she was, wondering where her pet was, and made enquiries in the locality. After the efforts to find the owner proved futile, Aruna finally put the dog in her car, as she couldn’t bring herself to leave him there or send him to a shelter.

She got him cleaned up at a veterinary clinic and fed him. “We tried calling him, using all the names that dogs usually have, and he didn’t respond to any of them,” says Aruna who named him Simba. In the days that followed, he became more accepting of affection and regained his health. Aruna is an optimist who believes that her own dog too is safe with a family like hers. She has decided to adopt Simba and continues to search for Titan through newspaper ads and posters. Aruna refers to her missing dog as her third child (as she has two sons). She speaks fondly of how Titan would make puppy eyes at her after being naughty, and of his ability to understand both English and Tamil. She hopes that she will soon receive that much-awaited phone call from the person who has been caring for him, so that her family can be whole again.

(If you have any information on Titan’s whereabouts, contact Aruna at anantha_vijayan@yahoo.com)