Last month, our dog Tootsie jumped over the wall in sheer fright because she heard thunder.
They are terrified of rain, thunder and lightning. Confine them indoors at such times. Firstly, remember that dogs cannot find their way back. Do not sit around waiting for that to happen.
Keep a bagful of aids ready. I had equipped each group that went out with A-4 size and A-3 size colour posters (as most people identify dogs only by their colour and markings), along with a chain, torch (for night searches) and a packet of Tootsie’s favourite biscuits. As a result, the city was full of Tootsie’s posters.
Put a colour ad in the local language paper that is read by tea-stall owners, rickshaw drivers, watchmen, and so on. If there is no response the first time, advertise again. The watchman who found our lost dog Tootsie had read the second ad five days after the paper came out and called us up. In the ads, always give more than one telephone number.
And finally, answer every call from the posters or ads. Do not think any place is too far. Sterling Avenue was the last place I would have ever searched, but that’s where we found her. We visited places across the city because we decided to visit every similar-looking dog that was reported.
Tootsie’s white legs had become black with slush, she was filthy and her ears were bent . The first thing we did was to bathe her.
I shall never forget the number of strangers who saw similar dogs and called; some turned back their vehicles and waited till we came; some held them in their homes; many volunteers scoured the streets, night and day. And then there was the watchman, Ravi, who had been feeding Tootsie chapattis during the day, and making arrangements with the canteen workers to feed her at night — he refused to take the reward money when we handed it to him, and was eventually forced to accept it. It was a reminder that we live in a beautiful world, full of wonderful people.
(The writer is the Director of the C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation)