I was born in a stinky place in Bhubaneswar. I opened my eyes to see the world 21 days thereafter. I could hear the squeaky sounds similar to mine nearby. I realised that they were my siblings. We were a pack of five and our mother would feed us for a while. I would drink milk from her until my heart felt full, and laze under a banyan tree. We all used to play there; it was our home. I had a different fur colour compared to my siblings. They looked like my mother. When I questioned her about my different skin, she said that I looked like my father. I had seen my reflection in the puddle nearby; at first I thought it was someone else, but later, I realised it was me. I was a combination of black and yellow. I was handsome!
It was a hot and sultry day. We were all resting together as mother had been out to fetch food for us. A stout man, who stayed nearby, fed me with chapatis... they were yummy! He took me along with him and I was too hungry to think of anything else. I had my fill as my stomach swelled up like a balloon. I woke up and started barking, asking him to take me home, but he didn’t respond. I twirled and sniffed. I was restless, my family might be searching for me. I cried the whole night as I was locked in a room. The next day he carried me in a basket and off we went, leaving his house. I was happy, thinking that I shall be home soon. We kept on travelling for long as we reached a new place. I got a smell similar to that of my body odour. As we got inside I saw many of my kind, of different size and fur. I was fascinated to see them. The man traded me for money, leaving me alone.
A month passed by. I could see disappointment in their eyes
The next day they took me out of my cage and chopped off my tail. It was bleeding profusely and I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t figure out why would they do something so painful to me. I am a good dog. I wailed, and as the days passed by the pain lessened but my tail didn’t look the same anymore. It was short and I could hardly see any bit of it.
A week passed by, and a little boy came to see me and played with me outside my cage. Soon I was taken out of my cage and was sent along with him in return of money. They played with me and fed me well and we all were one happy family.
A month passed by. I could see disappointment in their eyes. They were not happy to see me; I tried my best to be playful and make them happy but they hated me. I didn’t know, where did I go wrong? They would discuss that they were cheated and that I am a stray, not a Doberman. I barked to ask them, what is that? I can be one if they train me to be so. That would make them happy. But they won’t even come near me.
One fine day we all went out for a drive. It was bright and sunny. We stopped on the road for a while and got out of the car, but they forgot to let back me in. I ran and howled as they drove away. I guess the music was too loud. I tried matching the pace but I couldn’t catch them. Yet again, I lost my family.
I walked wherever I could, looking for them. I couldn’t find them. I wanted to say sorry and ask how can I be exactly like they want. I would do it all in return for the family I have. I ended up in the city. It was a very crowded. I thought I would wait for them here, that they would visit this place someday. Tired and hungry, I waited at a fast food restaurant. I fed on the leftovers of its customers. They would feed me meat and bones, and it tasted better than anything that I have ever thought of. It became my home.
It was for the very first time in ages that I felt love
After few days, I started losing my fur and my skin felt itchy all the time. Everytime that I ate the leftovers I would end up feeling sick and itchy. I had lost all hope and each day survival was a battle. There was a jewellery showroom right in front of the restaurant. A young man would come there everyday and would whistle at me. My condition saddened him. He would look at me with pitiful eyes and would make sure that I was fed. He would feed me biscuits and I stopped eating the leftovers. I started recovering. I felt better about my health. Everyone loved me there and I started loving him; he was my rescuer.
The verandah of his showroom became my home. I would sleep here all day long, waiting for him. Even if he wasn't there in the city his staff would feed me, but seeing him made me happy. Together we would feed others of my kind. Everyone loved him and he deserved it all. One day he touched me for the very first time, and I couldn’t stop my tears from flowing down. It was for the very first time in ages that I felt love. I was his Kalu and he was my father, my family.
Now, this place is mine. I don’t have an identity crisis anymore. I am glad that I was abandoned to be found by him. I have this one purpose in life - to love him unconditionally, guard his place and be loyal to him for the rest of my life. I wish he knew how much I love him and how thankful I am to him. I wouldn’t ask for anything more than what I have now. Being loved by him is fulfilling. I hope every dog like me finds a dad like him and no one is ever abandoned or left alone to suffer like me.
This is a guest essay by Manisha Patnaik from Bhubaneswar, India. She has rescued 18 strays, and hopes one day to open a shelter. The man in the story has gone on to rescue 12 other dogs. Want to write for us? Visit www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/essay-submission or email firstname.lastname@example.org