Day 97: MAGGOT DOG RESCUED!!! CHRISTMAS HAS COME!!!
After 72 hours of searching through the forest we find and capture the stray dog with the neck wound. He WILL be OK.
It may only be one dog but today my heart feels like a million rupees (about £11,256, which is enough to buy a small car – not bad)
My friend, Mad, and I are a LIFE-SAVING TEAM.
He may not have slept for three weeks because he is in love with an unavaiable Russian woman whom he showers with inappropriate presents, I myself may be a meat-eating confused crusader but EVERYTHING SOMEHOW MAKES SENSE TODAY.
After three days of trap-making, biscuit-laying, rickshaw-driving frustration we have got the dog that was dying slowly from a maggot infested wound and now he is being treated and should make a full recovery. This has made everything worthwhile: india, the dirt, the sadness, even my stomach that is learning to swear in Hindi.
How it happened
The dog was seen sleeping in the trap at 6am and the kids who saw it pulled the net shut. The dog freaked out and after fifteen minutes of confusion managed to escape. I was incredibly disappointed – we has asked everyone not to touch the trap and now it was likely the dog would never go back inside.
We spent the morning earching with familiar frustration.
A woman that said she had a special relationship with the dog said she could track it down. It turned out her relationship was not that special – the dog was no where to be seen and we lost an hour wandering around.
We attended to a couple of other dogs with bad skin condition and even took some dogs in for neutering when we suddently got a phone call to say that the maggot dog had gone back to the trap (where we had laid more food).
We raced back but it was gone. A moment later the ‘special’ woman screamed out across the forest that she had it. We ran to her – she didn’t in fact have it but the dog was at least cornered – and we spread out around the location until the woman, who obviously did have some sort of relationship, managed to pin it down before we could put a wired loop around it.
While we waited for the ambulance to pick us up I stared at this dog – now placid – and he looked back at me with big black eyes fairly calmly. ‘OK, you win’ he said to me, ‘I give up. I shall trust you’
‘Thank you’ I said.
Who has saved who?
Now as I lie on my bed there is a deep regeneration that I feel that might quite possibly be more powerful than the anti-maggot cream they put on the dog’s neck. There is something transformative in touching that sort of suffering and helping it recover.
The first time I came to India I closed my doors to life. This place used to scare me with its impossible contrasts – the luscious greens amid the ugly browns, the perfumed air alongside the sickly pollution, the cool mountains above the stifling plains – India pulsed with both a beauty and pain that echoed a rawness inside that I didn’t want to know. My consequent depression was a closing down: a protection from teh outside but also a prison on the inside.
Now I feel I have opened the doors again. Life comes rushing back in all its wonder and horror and touching the suffering has given me a chance to be more whole.
People often say ‘why animals, why not humans?’.
Animals are voiceless in a way that goes beyond even the most mute human. While I am never advocating that compassion isn’t needed for humans – it is, and buckets loads of it – animals will never be able to speak out against their pain and injustice as we can. To see a dog running wild through a forest without food or care and being eaten alive was just unbearable to me – I needed to touch it and give it back some of its life.
And by doing so it has given me back some of mine.