A Rescue Operation

My phone rings. It is my neighbour.

“Poonam, do you know that there is a dog lying outside your house?”


I instantly got up from my bedroom and went to check at the door. Sure enough, there was a large black dog laying in front my gate. He had a huge wound, yet I could see he was breathing. There was also a huge odour. I silently closed the door.

I was soon on phone to find a vet. A colleague, R, who is also an animal rights activist, said she would get me some help. Actually this whole effort could not have been made without her help. First she gave me the number of a voluntary organisation called Paws.

Me: Hi, I have a wounded dog lying at my gate. He needs a vet. Can you please help?

Paws: Can you please describe the wound?

Me: Its about 6 inches circular wound infested with something like flies.

Paws: Does it smell?

Me: Yes, a lot.

Paws: It’s a maggot wound, which is very painful for dogs. Sometimes they are consumed within 4-5 hours. Can you bring the dog to clinic it is here and here?

Me: How will I bring the dog! One it’s huge dog and there is no help around. Second it’s injured. Third it may bite. And life is seeping out of him, he needs help urgently. Being new in city, I might take time in finding my way so far.

Paws: Just put it in an auto rickshaw and send it to this address. I will see if I can find you a volunteer. It is hard since it is Sunday. But I must warn you that our dog kennels are full so the volunteer will only help you with first aid and taking it to vet. Our volunteer will bring back the dog and then if the dog is still around, we can take to vet every day.

I hung up in dismay. Needless to mention, no autowallah agreed to carry the dog. To be fair to Paws, a very nice Paws volunteer Rishabh called me, but by that time I had had help for the dog. Rishabh assured me that dogs do recover from huge maggot wounds.

I recounted this to my colleague and searched Net for other animal rescue organisations. It was again my colleague R who then came up with a number for Animal Farm. They would send the ambulance, she said.

I called them, yes they were sending ambulance. Only two conditions: I must ensure that dog doesn’t go any more when ambulance arrives from so far so maybe I could tie it. And I should cover the wound with a cloth so that it is not infested with more infection.

Covering the wound was alright, but I was unable to tie the wounded dog as instructed. To be honest, much as I wanted to help, I was very scared.

My earliest memory of a dog is to be chased by one when I was 10. I let out horrifying cries while running with shopping bags in hand when the dog (or was it dogs) chased me around. It was a small lone stretch of ground I was running on, and it was dusky. Fortunately, a friend of my father had heard my cries and came running. While he shooed away the dogs (yes, it was a pack of dogs), I fell down to my knees on the ground with relief. That day uncle gave me an important lesson to deal with dogs. My first lesson on dog’s reflexes. Now whenever I see a dog on street, I do two things instinctively. I chant prayers in my mind and second pretend to stoop low as if I am picking a stone. It always works, even the growling dogs who have been dangerously eying, run away when they see you stooping to pick a stone.

Cut to Present. I asked for help from people to tie the wounded dog down, I don’t get any. People said it was stray dog, could bite. Maybe they were right. So I did the second best thing.

I kept my door open; open to bad odour from the dog. I plonked with my laptop in the living room to keep an eye on the dog while the ambulance arrived. I realised later that I needn’t have bothered since dog didn’t budge except when lights came on in the evening. Even when Ambulance arrived and the two men had to haul the dog in their lap since dog was too weak to even stand.

They said they would give him painkiller on the way and that judging by the condition dog will have to be put on drip when they get to their vet hospital.

The ambulance guy asked me to fill up a form and charge five hundred bucks for ambulance. I paid and asked for the receipt. (Later, when I saw the receipt it was a donation receipt and not receipt of services. ) To be honest I had planned to donate little more than this. After all, this was only organisation that agreed to send an ambulance. Yet I was flummoxed by being asked upfront for money.

I called my animal lover colleague and discussed. She agreed that services were meant to be free so that people would be more and more forthcoming in helping the mute, stray beings. So, I went on to speak to the proprietor of the organisation.

Me: Hey, just want to know do you charge for ambulance or is it voluntary?

Animal Farm Lady: Of course we charged. Ambulance came from far. Petrol charges. And I spent 3 lakhs from my pocket for the organisation to run. The least I can ask is to cover the cost of ambulance. We will provide medication and health care to so many other dogs and several other animals.

Me: I admire the work you do. I would love to be part of what you do. I don’t regret giving the money. I just wanted to be sure about the charges because I had this idea that you provide free, voluntary service so that more people would care and report about the animals. I wondered if it was error on the ambulance driver’s part.

Animal Farm: That’s not my problem, people’s problem. (Me thinking that was animals’ problem! For if you charge money, many people may turn a blind eye. ) And the driver gave you receipt so you shouldn’t worry about his mistake or money not reaching us. I have spent a lot of money and effort. Why don’t you come down and check out my facility? See our farm and then make up your mind.

Me: I sure will come down. Thanks again for taking care. Please do update me on the dog’s progress.

After the call, I decided that the lady was within her rights to ask for a small donation. No one else was willing to send an ambulance on Sunday to my area. No one else takes out their time and savings to start a NGO for the mute beings. They deserve more help from me. From us.

Next day, I received a call from Animal Farm. My dog hadn’t survived the night. They will arrange for a dog funeral, Yes, Animal Farm takes care of animal funerals too.

I had failed the dog, but I learnt a lesson in life.

P.S: Thank you, Animal Farm. I recommend them to animal lovers in Pune.

24 Responses to “A Rescue Operation”

  1. 1 njan October 6, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Hadn’t known about such organisations in our country at all.

    A salute for the good deed.


  2. 3 hitchwriter October 6, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Just recently we tried madly to find a vet for a horse who was badly injured… sigh… we do not have much for them do we…. sigh…

  3. 4 Quirky Indian October 6, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    At least there are organisations that provide such services. The Animal Farm lady is justified in charging some money….

    And what you did was creditable.


    Quirky Indian

  4. 5 Prats October 6, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    That was really considerate of you…I really think you did a good thing….

    As far as Animal farm goes, its a catch 22 situation I understand their concern.. Just two points here which I thought on analyzing the situation
    1- If the dog actually died at the door step people would pay almost the same amount to the sweeper to get rid of it, but I am not sure if they would pay animal farm the amount.

    2- I am not sure what animal farm guy would have done if you had refused to pay. Would they have left the dog to die at your doorstep. Secondly i think they should have informed you about the payment upfront. I mean this is more to do with general business ethics you say the price first.

    Personally, I don’t think it was wrong of them to ask a price , but they way they did wasn’t appropriate.

  5. 6 Aathira October 6, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Ii must say thats a very great thing that you did.

    I think the dog would have been more relaxed knowing that people were taking care of it, and not hurting it further. Maybe he did die in peace.

  6. 7 Vee October 6, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Wanna pat on your back. Ok, go ahead, I give you permission to do that. :D:D:D

  7. 8 Nova October 6, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Really sorry to hear about the dog… and kudos to you for at least putting in the effort…

    Thank you, in the end, for letting us know of Animal Farm. M sure manu will benefit out of it…

  8. 9 xylene October 6, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    that was really nice of you. Although I am afraid of dogs ( after the two marks one of them left on my leg) its nice to help out another living being.

  9. 10 Smita October 6, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Hmmm am proud of you that you took so much initiative. Honestly speaking I wouldn’t have done even an iota of this because like you am scared of dogs!!!

    As far as charging for the ambulance, I guess it makes sense, sometimes I feel we are so used to having things on a subsidy that we look out for it everywhere!!! But then the other major point is that not everyone would be as forthcoming as you in giving away money for a stray dog. As Prats says it is a Catch 22 situation indeed!!!

  10. 11 Pranav October 6, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Good to know that there is Animal Farm!! Thanks for sharing your experience:-)

  11. 12 Ava October 6, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    You didnt fail the dog. In fact he found a bit of relief in his last moments because of you. But I am also taken aback at them charging. I mean, its ok to use this incident to expect donations, but what if there is some well meaning person who cant pay?

    In my view, people should make regular, small donations to good organisations like these. That way, they will be able to find steady funds for their efforts. It is better than dropping guilt money in mandir and gurdwaras.

  12. 13 B K CHOWLA October 7, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    In this ,you turned out to be the brave person for which you must be complimented.There is no harm if the organisation charges a nominal fees,after all it is for the life saving facility(so what if it is a dog).
    I can realise you must have gone through….I lost my German Shepard in similar circumstances.

  13. 14 vishesh unni raghunathan October 8, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I doubt if I would have done anything…I would have freaked out..am scared of dogs and well I would have made a billion calls all over the place and tried to get help..

    You did it well 🙂 Quite motivating as well , I get into a similar situation , this story will sure come to my mind 🙂

  14. 15 Nova October 8, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Hey, this blog should also go into itsafreeworld.. Why dont u cross-post it there 🙂

  15. 16 Hypermom October 8, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    you did all you could-and I am glad there are places like the Animal Farm-I get their point about the money too-they wouldn’t survive without it-but they should have been upfront about it!

  16. 17 Reema October 8, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    a very good deed on your part.

  17. 18 praneshachr October 9, 2009 at 10:47 am

    hats off for your efforts and also timely help your got
    three cheers to all. efforts are ours ultimately result in not in our hand. life is like that.

  18. 19 happy tripathy October 10, 2009 at 1:40 am

    Touched by your kind deed, hats off to it. Keep up the good work.

  19. 20 Kiran October 13, 2009 at 9:43 am

    I am sorry for the lost 😦

    Extremely touched by your humanitarian efforts. Keep it up! More people like you are needed. More lives can be saved!

  20. 21 Harsh October 13, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    Three cheers for your effort !!!! …. 🙂

    So did you establish an attachment with the dog … the words “my dog” suggests that you did !!!

  21. 22 Indian Homemaker October 14, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Even if they make profit, at least we have someone to turn to.

    Donations are tax-exempt.
    Such organisations also receive a lot of donations from animals lovers.

  22. 23 Prerna October 23, 2009 at 7:48 am

    As a dog lover I am touched by your effort. I hope there are organisations like this in Delhi as well.

  23. 24 aniruddha pathak October 28, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    good job Poonam ..feel sad for the dog.nice to know that you tried your best to help the dog

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