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Gowri's secret mission

WHO would have thought that Gowri, the unassuming street dog would play an important role in wildlife conservation? But then life is full of surprises! For a week we had complaints from callers about the MCH dragging off street dogs to their death leaving the tiny puppies behind to die. I spoke with the Chief Veterinary officer, MCH, Venkateshwara Rao, who promptly and apologetically put a stop to it.

Dozens of mothers and pups were subsequently delivered to the Blue Cross animal shelter - a compromise that would solve the problem. We would rehabilitate the pups when ready for adoption and the mothers would be neutered and vaccinated.

So when the Curator of Nehru Zoological Park made a desperate call that morning I could confidently assure him help. It turned out that the female jaguar at the zoo was not interested in motherhood - a phenomenon quite common in animals and humans for that matter. After killing three litter of her cubs the Curator had managed to rescue the last male cub before he too was killed. Cow's milk was bottle-fed to the cub, but his health steadily deteriorated. Then, for the first time the zoo management decided to attempt a surrogate mother being brought to the zoo to care for the cub. Blue Cross has a maternity ward for stray dogs and on this particular day it was full.

To our delight nine of our lactating mother dogs accepted any pup or kitten we offered. So the mother with the youngest pups, Gowri, was chosen. She was given a quick bath and spruced up for her big event and off she went to the zoo in the curator's van, puppies in tow. The next morning we had a telephone call from the Curator, Srinivas, sounding absolutely delighted.

Gowri, it turned out, was a fabulous mother and had immediately accepted the cub. She was feeding and cleaning and fussing over him just like he was her own. Mother, pups and cub were all doing fine, thank you! What a wonderful example! Many of us moms can learn a thing or two from Gowri. I certainly did.

This terrific mother and her puppies will be up for adoption, when the Jaguar is introduced to zoo life. We can't send her back to the street now, can we? If you are concerned, please help me find her a good home.

And please don't rush off to see her at the zoo. In the best of their interests, the mother and cub are out of bounds and the closest you can get to them is through this photograph.

To adopt a beautiful Indian puppy or kitten, please visit Blue Cross animal shelter. Tel: 23544355, 23545523


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