About a year ago, a fluffy-eared puppy and her siblings were born in a slum on the banks of the Cooum River. The slum-dwellers in the area cared for them while a group of dog-lovers in the city began to find homes for the puppies. After much effort, they succeeded in getting each of the siblings a family.

One of them is Dollop, now a gorgeous adult dog who whimpers in excitement at the sight of car keys. “She cries like a baby when we ask – ‘shall we go out in the car?' Whether it's my daughter being dropped off for her exams or it's just the grocery store, we can't deny her a trip,” says her doting owner Babita Krishnaraj. While Dollop lavishes her affection on everyone at home, she reserves a special roaring welcome for Babita's husband who frequently travels on work. “From the day he comes back, she follows him everywhere till he leaves,” says Babita, who believes that a pet's loyalty must always be reciprocated by humans. “Adoption is a commitment for 16 years, not a spur-of-the-moment decision. Most of the time, an adoption happens when a child is cranky for a new toy. Once the charm wears off, it's over. This shouldn't be done. Unless you're prepared, don't take them in and then abandon them later.”

She also hopes that more dogs like Dollop get a chance at finding secure homes and that people look past factors like breed. “There's still a craze for breeds,” she rues. However, change is already happening, starting in her own household. Babita's domestic help Mangai has now rescued and adopted a puppy from the street after falling in love with Dollop's antics.

While Babita is glad that adoptions are on the rise in the city, she signs off with a plea on behalf of pets everywhere – “They are used to having a house, to having food. They can't be left on the street. It is better not to adopt, than to adopt and abandon.”