Kala, an Indian Street Dog, has now travelled to 25 countries and features in a book to raise money for pet rescue. Rochelle and her partner John met Kala while working in India…

She lived outside my office, a thin black dog with the most beautiful big brown eyes. I used to sit and play with her before work and before long I started to feed her. I had wanted a dog for a long time and John and I talked about adopting her. Then one Saturday everything changed. She had fallen pregnant and given birth to five puppies outside my office.

We got a call to say she was going to be collected and euthanased by the local pound. There was no time to wait. We jumped in a rickshaw, rode to work and collected her. That day changed all three of our lives, for the better.

There were many challenges; we had to help a street dog adapt to living in an apartment and after giving birth to her puppies, Kala grew ill and nearly died. It was very stressful, I slept on the couch to watch her during the night. She fell sick as she had not been vaccinated as a street dog. We were so happy when the vet said she was over the danger period and would be okay.

Soon, life took another turn: my work was being transferred to Australia and, in those days, dogs could not travel directly from India to Australia for quarantine reasons

I still remember the day we collected her from the vet hospital, we were both so excited to finally bring her home. We had made a dog bed for her from a cardboard box. We placed two pillows in it, with a rug to keep her warm and comfy. That night she looked so peaceful, as she curled up to sleep.

Once Kala recovered, we took her on many adventures exploring Bangalore. We made friends with other dog owners and found local cafes, restaurants and stalls that were dog friendly. Our favourite was LassiPoint, where we would order three sweet lassis. We brought a small dog bowl for her and we would smile at the surprised looks of the locals, seeing a street dog drinking a sweet lassi with her owners.

Soon, life took another turn: my work was being transferred to Australia and, in those days, dogs could not travel directly from India to Australia for quarantine reasons. So we arranged for her to fly to America and live with my brother and his family for seven months to qualify to move to Australia.

The day after she arrived she woke early to go for her morning run. It was amazing: after seven months she had remembered the daily routine

They live on a large property with woodland and lots of open space. It was so different to where she had grown up; her time in America was an adventure. She saw the ocean for the first time, saw coyotes, deer and enjoyed outings with my nieces.

As winter set-in, temperatures dropped to -15C. It was time to move again. Kala flew to Sydney, where she stayed a month in quarantine before being reunited with us.

We were so eager to see her. She had travelled 40,000km since leaving India, and we couldn’t wait to be a family again. She settled in really quickly. The day after she arrived she woke early to go for her morning run. It was amazing: after seven months she had remembered the daily routine.

Kala spent two years exploring Sydney, and came everywhere with us. She caught her first ferry in Sydney Harbour, enjoyed the beaches, met kangaroos, chilled out at the local cafes and became the 12th fastest dog in a fun run.

After Sydney, the next stop was London. We love living in England: it is very dog friendly and easy to take Kala with us on holiday within the UK and to Europe. She loves travelling and lies by the front door as soon as she hears us start to pack, to make sure we don’t forget to take her.

When travelling in Europe, Kala spends a lot of time hiking: she has summited the highest mountains in England, Wales, Andorra and Norway.

She is an incredibly adaptable dog. She has travelled to 25 countries via car, train, bus, ferry, rickshaw and the occasional cable car. Her favourite mode of transport is definitely the tube though. She has a way of knowing who likes dogs and heads straight for them. It’s quite common for her to get pats from 4 or 5 people on a short tube trip. She looks up at people with her big brown eyes and it is quite hard to resist patting her.

When travelling in Europe, Kala spends a lot of time hiking: she has summited the highest mountains in England, Wales, Andorra and Norway. She has her own hiking boots to protect her paws from the rocks, a hiking jacket and foldable bowl to take food and water for her. She has just as much hiking equipment as we do.

Now I have written a book about Kala’s rescue to raise money for charity. Ever since adopting Kala we wanted to show people how amazing rescue dogs are, and raise funds to help other dogs find their forever homes. Kala has been a wonderful travel companion for us and we hope to encourage others to adopt as well.

Kala: The Indian Street Dog Who Travelled the World”, by Rochelle Lucas, is available through Amazon. All proceeds are being donated to pet rescue.

This is a guest essay by Rochelle Lucas. Want to write for us? Visit www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/essay-submission or email editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk

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