It’s been a while since my last post. I have been travelling with a friend. My friend owns a grooming salon for dogs and she was participating in a contest. I went with her for moral support. What’s life without friends, right? The same holds true for dogs as well, as Tigger’s story will demonstrate.
In November last year, I got involved with an animal welfare organization called Precious Paws Foundation (PPF). As part of my involvement I fostered a puppy called Rackles. Rackles stayed with us for a few weeks and soon found a home. Rackles became Mishka in her new home and has blossomed into a gorgeous young dog.
At the adoption camp I saw another dog – Foxy. I instantly fell in love with Foxy. I wanted to bring her home. But we were going through a rough patch ourselves. Our landlord had given us till the end of the year to move out. So I asked the lovely lady who worked at PPF to keep Foxy for me. PPF itself did not have a facility of it’s own. So Foxy was kept at a different facility, one that was less than ideal for a pup.
Weeks passed into months and we had not found a home yet. A string of foster pups kept coming and going and the time was never right for a second dog. We finally found a home, but another distressed dog called Tuffy came into our home. Tuffy was so traumatized that I could not imagine having another dog at home. So I had to keep Foxy waiting. The facility Foxy was in was not under the control of PPF and due to the terrible conditions of the facility, the worst of our fears came true. Foxy passed away. I was heart broken.
The lady at PPF was quick to act. Foxy had a sister that no one had noticed. One meek underdog called Tigress. She instantly pulled Tigress out of that facility and kept Tigress in her own home. None of us were willing to lose another dog. When I heard that Foxy had been survived by a sister, I sped up the process of finding Tuffy a home and went to look at Tigress.
By the time we managed to go visit Tigress, PPF had managed to set up a lovely little shelter on Kanakpura Road. Tigress was surrounded by puppies of all shapes and sizes. But Tigress was 9 months old by then. The first 7 months of her life had been spent in a terrible facility, in a single cage. She had never been pulled out of the cage, not even to clean the cage. She was a scared little girl, terrified of just about everything.
We introduced my dog, Nishi to Tigress. Nishi seemed disinterested. Tigress seemed terrified. But I was not going to lose Tigress too. So she came home with us. We renamed her Tigger.
When we brought her in, she found a corner in the garden, dug a little hole and sat in the hole. For two whole days she did not get out of that hole. Not even to eat. She growled at the mere sight of Nishi. Nishi completely ignored her. I felt lost and saddened and I cried.
But as the days went by I saw what was happening. Nishi was not ignoring Tigger. She was merely giving Tigger the space and time needed. Slowly, but surely Tigger was coming out of her shell. Her fears were melting away. She was learning not to be afraid. She was learning how to experience joy again. She was learning how to trust.
Tigger still has a journey ahead of her. A complete emotional and mental rehabilitation of a dog takes 9 – 10 months. That’s how long it takes for damaged brain cells to regenerate and heal.
But Tigger is well on her way to being a happy young dog, full of life and little quirks of her own. As her personality emerges we see that she is naughty, strategic and incredibly smart. Just today I taught her how to differentiate filter coffee from instant coffee, just by smelling the two. She solves puzzles with ease and runs like the wind. She loves open spaces and hunts birds and squirrels.
We recently fostered another pup – a feisty little fellow called Cher Khan. Tigger’s first reaction was to get very insecure – insecure about losing our love, about losing precious resources, insecure like kids get – sibling rivalry. But soon she learned that our love for him took nothing away from her. Soon they became thick of friends. Every morning they romped on the bed, irritating the hell out of Nishi and being adorable siblings. That’s a long way for insecure little Tigress. She is now confident Tigger all set to be a dainty, gracious young dog.
Dogs are survivors. More than half of the life she has led thus far has been an extremely traumatic life. Yet, with a little love and a good friend in Nishi, she is fast becoming a lovely confident dog. All they need is a chance. Just a chance. And if you have the luxury of having one confident dog at home, then consider bringing in another dog that can benefit from the mentorship of your dog. What you will witness is nothing short of a miracle and some lovely life lessons play out before your eyes.
If any of you have stories for my rescue diaries, please do share. I love to listen to stories of rescue and rehabilitation of dogs. They always inspire me. And I’d like to leave you all with a video of our recent vacation with Tigger and Nishi.