Chennai

Would you accept cuteness that waddles in with three legs and whose days are counted?

Sandhya Jagarlamudi

Sandhya Jagarlamudi

One-eyed and living life queen size

Actor Sandhya Jagarlamudi knows in her bones that street dogs belong to the streets and nowhere else. She can be trusted to fight tooth and claws any attempts to have them removed from their rightful place. However, in one instance, she did not put up a fight. In fact, it was she who ensured that this street dog did not continue staying in its street.

Now, Sandhya knows a thing or two about street dogs.

With the support of her family and a few neighbours, she feeds and supports the medical needs of 35 street dogs in her neighbourhood in Moulivakkam, maintaining a file for each of the canines, with details inked in scrupulously down to the street it lives in.

So, when Sandhya decided to take a street dog home around a year-and-a-half ago, the move had obviously been thought-through.

Dot, as the female dog is known now, was found injured from a road accident near her area, and Sandhya rescued it, taking it to Besant Memorial Animal Dispensary (BMAD). In the impact, the dog lost vision in one eye, its eyeball being gouged out.

At that time, Dot was a pup, around four months old, and Sandhya did not have the heart to see her returned to where she was found. Today, Dot lacks nothing that would keep her staying a contended ball of fur, except of course, one eye. With a caring human by Dot’s side, being one-eyed should hardly matter.

Dr Edel and the quartet

A medical doctor, Edel Queen Devanesan is familiar with the fragility of life and also how it can be put back together. The latter half of this wisdom stems largely from her experience of seeing four abandoned and battered dogs claw their way back to life, under some loving care.

Currently, Dr. Edel has four dogs, having adopted them at different points of time. Each of these canines has had a rude brush with death.

Edel Queen Devanesan

Edel Queen Devanesan

Chaplin, two years old now, was adopted from “the campus of the Vepery veterinary College.”

She continues: “He had a crushed pelvic bone and both his thigh bones were broken as well.”

Despite some of the bones being out of joint, Chaplin comes across as well put-together canine. Even the quirky limp only ends up adding to his charm. “He walks just a little bit funny and that is why I call him Chaplin.”

She adopted Teddy from the Besant Memorial Animal Dispensary (BMAD), with his jaw dislocated.

“He has half his jaw and does not have any teeth. I came forward to adopt him as nobody else would. It was a time when the shelter was crowded and if a rehabilitated dog was not adopted it would be released back in the place it was found, and I did not want that to happen to Teddy,” she recalls.

Samosa was adopted for the same reason that Teddy was: He was being given the cold shoulder by potential human families.

“Samosa is a tripod and I learnt that tripods almost always never get adopted. They had left a stump and he runs a lot and he kept falling on that stump and it kept getting infected and inflamed. Because of the infections, he developed autoimmune skin diseases. And I decided to have the entire shoulder blade removed; it was a challenging and major operation but he did very well.”

Coco, almost four, brings up the quartet: She was found an abandoned puppy in Mahabalipuram, and was afflicted with Parvovirus. Dr. Edel nursed her through that episode.

The pain of being canine

Ramnath Gopal, managing trustee of LARA Animal Rights,which rescues street dogs that are in need of medical attention through an ambulance, observes that only after he started on serious dog rescues did he understand the magnitude of suffering faced by canines on the road.

He notes that it is not unusual to find dogs that are hugely eaten away by maggots. Particularly heart-rending is the sight of dogs whose eyeball — sometimes both eyeballs — has been consumed by maggots, he says, adding that they do occur with disturbing frequency.

“If a dog has lost both eyes or two legs (in an accident), we try to find help for them, usually putting them in a shelter.

Finding a home for the broken in body

Shravan Krishnan of Besant Memorial Aninal Dispensary (BMAD) reveals that every month at the dispensary around 120 street dogs would be admitted for in-patient treatment.

A small percentage of these dogs cannot be released back, due to the severity of their injuries and diseases.

“They would be really old or the damage would be so bad that they cannot be released back on to the road,” says Shravan. “They may have only two limbs. Or, their walk would not be proper for them to survive on the road. We have had six or seven cases where both eyeballs of the dog had to be removed. Animals that are terminally ill with renal failure and other ailments: All of these cannot be released back. Pedigree dogs that are abandoned would most likely be devoid of skills needed to survive on the road. And these dogs have to be taken in. These are the general rules about which dogs need to sheltered and which could be left to their own devices. We make a story about those dogs that need continuous care and ask people to adopt them.” Shravan notes there is now greater willingness among dog lovers to welcome such dogs into there homes.


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Printable version | Aug 13, 2022 12:54:49 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/would-you-accept-cuteness-that-waddles-in-with-three-legs-and-whose-days-are-counted/article65593632.ece