There are quite a few timeworn houses that are being brought down in Balaji Nagar, Royapettah where I reside and the last year has seen numerous constructions coming up. A sterilised female mongrel that grew up under the care of the construction workers of one such building refused to leave after the building was ready and stayed back even after the new residents moved in. She continued to guard the territory and bonded with the workers and employees of that office-cum-residence. Whenever I took my dog Noodle for a walk, this pretty young mongrel would come running to Noodle wagging her curly tail to exchange pleasantries.

Strangely one day, she didn’t move and faintly wagged her tail upon seeing us. I went near her and was appalled to find that both her hind legs were badly broken, bruised and just about hanging there with the temporary cloth that was wrapped around them by workers, who’d applied some turmeric powder on her blood-stained legs in an attempt to help. I found out from witnesses that someone chased her down in his vehicle the previous day in a bid to scare her because she always barked when he parked outside their house. She had been cornered between the vehicle and the garbage bin, and couldn’t escape unhurt. I was horrified to see her writhing in pain and rushed her to the Madras Veterinary College since the owners didn’t know how to attend to such emergencies.

Every alternate day, my neighbourhood friends and I took her to the hospital. A couple of painful surgeries and post-operative care with just milk and vitamin supplements being her dietary companions followed for six months. She would walk on her two forelegs (in Gangnam style as her orthopedic surgeon called it) but gradually showed results by walking comfortably on three legs and now occasionally on all fours.

We never imagined her to endure such trauma and be able to walk again but we gave her the best chance to recover and she did. She showed us that the easiest thing to do is to give up, and she was not willing to take the easy route. Her grit ensured that the person who hurt her could not take that spirit away from her. She is a guardian, a fighter and a survivor. We call her ‘Ghani’.

(The writer is a media professional and animal enthusiast)