Fighting and forgivingOne evening, as I was walking, I saw Shaurya ahead of me with a woman. He ran towards me as soon as he saw me. His legs were fine by now but his face was not.
When I first saw Shaurya, one fine evening in my neighbourhood, he seemed to have one of his legs broken. Despite that he came running towards me, wagging his tail and lifting his broken leg. He was so excited to see me, one would think he knew me already. It might be because he could smell the dog food I was carrying with me. He happily ate the treats I offered.
Since then, my new friend would greet me happily whenever I was out on my evening walk. This young and energetic dog somehow gave me the impression of a younger version of my dog Jungey, who, for the past couple of years, had been fighting quite a few health-related complications of his own. This resemblance perhaps was enough for me to quickly set up a unique emotional bond with Shaurya.
One day, I saw a small wound on Shaurya’s face. I already had some reservations about his owners and their commitment to keeping and caring for him as a pet because he was let out (on the streets on his own) so often. Seeing the wound only deepened my concern. Meanwhile, a girl who I had notice staring at me whenever I fed the community dogs, came up to me and asked if I knew Shaurya was her sister’s beloved pet dog. When I inquired about the wound, she told me that her sister had already been doing the necessary treatment. I breathed a sigh of relief and went back home.
After that day, I did not see Shaurya anywhere on the street. I met the girl a few times and every time I asked her about him she would reply, with a big smile on her face, “My sister has been regularly taking him to the local veterinary. Don’t you worry. He will be just fine.”
One evening, I saw Shaurya ahead of me walking alongside a woman. As soon as he saw me, he ran towards me. His legs were healed by now but his face was not. He had also lost a significant amount of hair on his face. As I looked at Shaurya’s wounds, the woman who happened to be his owner said hurriedly, “It’s not what you think. This is not mange. It’s just because some sticky material that was used to trap mice got stuck on his face. I have consulted with the vet and I am already using the medications as prescribed by him.”
After some time, I received a WhatsApp message from my Indian neighbour which read: “Listen, some scoundrels seem to have abandoned a dog who clearly has mange. His face is covered with blood and is helplessly running here and there on the road.”
As soon as I read that message, I went outside to see which dog it was. I couldn’t see him so I texted her back inquiring about the physical features of the dog. “He had black and tan furs,” she replied within a second. ‘Black and tan? Could that be Shaurya?’ I rushed to his owner’s house to confirm these suspicions.
The woman, whom I met before, was outside the house doing some chores. She saw me as I entered through the door and definitely noticed my anxiety. “Where’s Shaurya?” I asked her immediately. She hesitated before replying tensely, “I have locked him inside the coop.” I went to see the cage, Shaurya was not there.
“Did you abandon him?” I asked her in a furious tone.
“Yes, we did. He won’t survive anyway so we’ve set him free. He caught mange and keeps on licking his wounds which only worsens his condition. We have already spent a lot for his treatment and we can’t afford it anymore,” She replied.
“I will pay for his treatment. Just please, don’t abandon him,” I begged her. Shaurya reminded me of Jungey. Perhaps this encouraged me to come swiftly to his defence.
The next day, I saw Shaurya and he was unrecognizable. There was blood running down his face, he had almost no hair left on his body and his legs were all pink and swollen. He was such a handsome dog so, it was heart-breaking to see what had become of him.
I started treating Shaurya on my own. I thought mange was just a skin disease that could be cured with timely treatment. But his condition only worsened. He started getting maggot wounds too. This scared me because I had seen a puppy die of maggot wounds in my childhood.
I immediately called the nearby pet-shop to see if the owner, who had been giving me free ointment to treat Shaurya with, could help us. He suggested I take Shaurya to the Animal Quarantine Office immediately. There I met a kind veterinary doctor who began his treatment saying, “His mange has already turned systemic so it is hard for me to say if I will be able to save him. I will try my best to cure him.”
Shaurya looked at me with teary eyes as the doctor applied the medicine on his body. It was apparent that he felt betrayed by his owners—the people who he thought loved him the same way he loved them. I remembered how his eyes had dilated with happiness and excitement when he had seen me for the first time. And now that same dog who used to be so happy and lively was sitting next to me all sad, grim, quiet and, most obviously, in a lot of pain. I really missed the old Shaurya and wished for his speedy recovery.
Shaurya’s road to recovery was a tough one. Some of his wounds would get cured but new wounds would appear at other parts of his body. He took all the pain and difficulty like a champ—never whining or crying about it. I was happy to see him get better slowly.
Even after my repeated requests and warnings, Shaurya would still be set free on the streets. So, one evening, I confronted his owner.
“Why do you always set him free? Can’t you see that he is making some progress?”
The woman replied, “Yes, I can see that. But this is a rented house and other families who are residing here constantly complain about his smell. What am I supposed to do?”
While she was talking, I was taking note of the way she made Shaurya sit on the dirty and wet floor. I could not sallow how dismissive she was being of his condition so I warned her strictly to not let him out on the streets again as that would worsen his conditions and spread the disease to other dogs.
After nearly a month, new furs started growing on Shaurya’s body. His wounds were healing well. His owner also seemed to love and accept him like she used to (before manage).
One day, as I was returning home from my evening walk, I saw the woman and Shaurya at their front gate. Sharuya was already jumping with joy so I stopped by to say hello. With tears in her eyes, the woman told me that a day ago, her daughter was chased by a humongous black dog all the way to their house. She was scared and crying for help. The mother saw all this from the window and anxiously tried to shoo the dog away. To their surprise, it was Shaury who came to the girl’s rescue. He ran outside and barked ferociously at the black dog chasing it away. Shaurya even followed him—barking and snarling—for some distance and then returned home.
“Shaurya saved my daughter,” she exclaimed. I looked at Shaurya who was wagging his tail and peering up at me with his big beautiful eyes.
They say that God is forgiving. Shaurya proved to me that dogs are no less than Gods as he too had easily forgiven his owners for their betrayal and mistreatment—putting himself in danger to save the girl.