Day 95: SEARCH FOR THE DYING DOG – FIRST SIGHTING
Today we must find that stray wounded dog in the forest. Outcast and with bad wounds he has only days to live…but how to find him? Ah yes, we have biscuits!!!
I know he is somewhere. Dying slowly. But where?
The heat is turned up : the dog has days to live and the temperature has reached 35 degrees.
It seems foolish, pointless even, for two grown men with nothing but a large bag of biscuits to spend so much time looking for one dog in the expanse of woodland and forest out in India.
Of all the millions of strays in India why this one? Surely I could better spend my time earning money in London which I could then give to people who would be able to rescue more strays than me.
But if I am learning one thing out here it is to follow my compassion..and instincts. The idea of a single dog with a vast maggot-infested wound that is being stoned by locals and struggling to eat fills me with enough dread that I simply HAVE to find it. My efforst are a small gesture, not enough to justify my air ticket or time perhaps, but as Edison once said, screw it.
I’m getting that dog if it kills me.
The man who never sleeps.
And with me I have Mad. If ever there was a character who epitmosises passion over logic it is this young man. Today he told me he had not slept for over two weeks.
‘I don’t believe you’ I said looking at his fresh face and wide eyes
‘Yes, I take sleeping pills all the time but I’m still so awake. I have all these mad thikings’ He showed me his notebook full of quotes.
‘That seems pretty good to me’
He told me that a few weeks ago he met the love of his life, a wonderful Russian girl who arrived at his hotel. She was so beautiful – and so mad (he loved her unpredictable thinking) – that he was unable to speak to her and has since been unable to sleep. And instead of talking to her he gave her over seventy presents including small poems and packages which he left outside her door.
‘Be careful or you might scare her’ was my advice. If I went on a first date in London and arrived with seventy presents it might not work out. But what do I know. Ann quiet said that I had never given her 70 presents in one go and I should think about doing so.
Mad replied ‘No! I must give her more!’
‘Why not speak to her?’
‘Oh, what did you say?’
‘I asked her to marry me’
‘What did she say?’
‘I’m sorry. Are you OK?’
‘Sure. I just don’t sleep.’
‘Are you sure you won’t fall asleep when we try to catch the dog?’
‘This is our mission Martin! We will find the dog’ His face lights up again.
I wonder if catching the dog will be as difficult as catching this girl’s heart.
Making a very poor jungle trap…
We spend the morning asking endless locals as to the whereabouts of Maggot, finally ending up in a tiny village with some run down houses where they say they saw the dog last night. Apparently he sleeps in a small shelter eating scattered rice from leftover meals, taking what shelter he can. They don’t stone him here but he runs scared in the morning, avoiding all human contact. All the locals clutch their neck when they talk about him, intimating a very large wound indeed.
We spend an hour on the roof tops of the small houses keeping lookout. Nothing but frustration.
Then just as we are about to leave we see it! I take a quick snap and it sees me and runs off. Zooming in on the picture I see a fist sized wound on its neck which makes my heart sink. How can it even move with that? We both chase after it and for 20 minutes we are on its tail but its too terrified and we get no where.
It seems that with his army training, Mad responds best to missions with clear objectives and physical prowess. So I ask him to help me rig a trap using some local fishing nets which we secure across the den in which the dog has been seen sleeping. Using various ropes and pulleys – all very Heath Robinson – we rig the space so that when the dog comes for food we can pull the nets tight and secure him in the space. Mad and I get to work and within an hour our trap is laid.
Two more hours and the dusk comes.
Nothing. The dog does not return.
Our hearts sink with the sun and so we reluctanly leave. We tell the locals they must call us if they see the dog and we leave our number.
Tonight I will stay up and wait for the call.