The odds were stacked against Malli and her puppies. The homeless mongrel had given birth to a litter of six and had kept them under a parked car on Dr. Ranga Road, Alwarpet, for safekeeping. While the pups were at risk of being killed in traffic accidents, the mother was at risk of littering again in the next few months.

Luckily for Malli, the residents of the colony came together to change her life, and before she knew it, she had a street full of ‘owners’. Designer Sidney Sladen and author-translator Pratibha Jain gathered the puppies and got them veterinary help before looking for adoptive homes for them. All the pups found homes but for one. They named the puppy Chikki and decided to adopt mother and daughter as the pets of the colony. The kindness of tea-shop owners and auto drivers also made this rescue a reality.

Since Malli’s rescuers were aware that while these two dogs were fortunate to find homes, most others aren’t, they arranged for birth control surgeries for both mother and daughter. The dogs now divide their time between their many caretakers. They spent the day at Pratibha’s house while Sidney has gifted them some LED collars and treats them to monthly visits to his pet spa Kabbs.

Their fairytale existence was interrupted last year when Diwali crackers went off, and Malli ran away in a panic. She was finally found hiding alone in a motor room down the street.

The two dogs inspired many others to adopt homeless pets. Chikki won even ‘Best Female Puppy’ at the Blue Cross Indian Dog Show.