When I first saw him, he couldn’t stand on his four legs. Extremely malnourished, hungry, exhausted and scared. He looked right into my eyes and with the expression, “Please, don’t leave me here.” That was when I decided he was going with me. He is Austin and I am telling you his story today.
Krishna Singh, our project coordinator of Animal Nepal called me up and asked me if I could come to “Chobhar Dog Sanctuary”. This is where we rescue and provide treatments to the stray dogs. Together with Roots and Shoots, Animal Nepal had been able to rescue some dogs from traders who were trying to smuggle small puppies to Sonepur, Bihar where they would be promoted and sold as pure Himalayan breed dogs. The little puppies are transported without food and water and space to move around for many days until they reach India. “The puppy trafficking, apart from being illegal, is an extremely cruel business. The majority of puppies are no longer alive when the consignment arrives in Sonepur. They die due to cold, weakness and a lack of food. Most puppies are not properly weaned and don’t stand a chance in the first place,” says Manoj Gautam from Roots and Shoots Nepal.
The 42 puppies were cramped in small cages of wire and were in appalling condition. These puppies were as young as three weeks old. They were totally wet from sweating and one of squeezed to death. There was no way anyone would have survived the long journey. I went to the Sanctuary and found Pramada Shah(of Animal Nepal) and Manoj Gautam(of Roots and Shoots) waiting for the media to arrive. After feeding the puppies with milk, we were talking about how we should get the people to adopt them when this little puppy came to me and stared at me with those innocent eyes. I already had 3 dogs in my house and there was no way my parents were going to allow me having one more dog and that too, a stray but I knew he was going with me. My parents had no other choice than to keep Austin.
For the first few days, Austin was scared of any noise and kept quiet most of the time. Mikki, among the 3 dogs in my house welcomed him whole heartedly and played cheerfully with him. Lucky and Tommy however didn’t like him much and stayed away from Austin.
After almost 3 months now Austin leads the crowd. He is strong, healthy and playful as ever. He survived for a reason and the reason was to be here with us in my family. He is happy and so are we. My parents and specially my dad loves him.
As for the other puppies, after various appeal through sms, email and the media, many people came to the rescue and they have found good homes now.
If you love dogs, please don’t breed or buy. Adopt. Trust me, that is the best thing you can do to show your compassion.