A ‘pet’ – ty tragedy
Dearest friends, Romans and countrymen, how many of you are dog lovers and pet owners? Many? Well in my case my pets own me. Thanks to two of my three owners I decided to deviate from my regular topic of blog writing to share with you the very tragic incident of my two beloved children Heineken ( a cocker spaniel) and Tea cup (a spunky jackal like terrier).
Four months ago when my housekeeper of 15 years left permanently to take care of his bereaved children after tragically losing his wife to an accident, myself, Heiniken, Tea cup and Gooblee suddenly found ourselves alone in Mumbai for the first time in our lives since the three babies came to my house five years ago. Here I was with three babies who were completely dependent on me and a profession which demanded immense amount of travel. I did not know what to do if I suddenly had to travel and was in great dilemma as it was impossible for me to leave my three pumpkins with hired help (for most of them who came for an interview were deemed crooks or future robbers of the Jaitly penthouse by my security head).
One fine Monday that dreaded day came and I was informed by my secretary of a two-day assignment in Kolkata. I did not know what to do so I decided it would be the right time to judge the best candidate interviewed for a doggie caretakers position. It was only two days that I would be away and felt all would be well. I did not know how wrong I was because not only did the caretaker not show up after I left but he also lied over phone that the three babies had been fed and walked and brushed. When I came back after two days my babies had been only on a diet of water and three hard chewy bones. I was so devastated that I cried and did not eat for 3 days. How could someone be so cruel and heartless?
While all this was going on another news came crashing upon my life and that one was of my fiancee Peter needing emergency surgery in Dubai. I had to rush immediately to Dubai so upon introduction of a dear friend, I met this dog lover who lived together with two other flat mates (who were all dog lovers) who apparently boarded doggies for Rs 200 per dog per day. Having checked and questioned and done the entire routine I decided to leave the dogs with this crossdressing dog lover who had convinced me that the dogs would be well looked after .
Well they ‘were’ well looked after or so I thought… I did not know that my doggies would become the source of ..well…EXTORTION (I cannot think of any other word that befits the situation). The cross dressing doggie boarder not only started harassing me for more money but himself and his three flatmates fought over the loot Heiniken and Tea cup were bringing in per day and split up over it. I had no idea that while all this was going on, the so-called dog caretaker taker moved out leaving my babies with complete strangers (his two flat mates whom I had never met), not informing me and continuing to take the money of 400 rupees per day whilst I was in Dubai taking care of my ailing fiancee. 35 days of ongoing extortion was discovered by a dear friend and my babies were promptly moved to a dog care hostel in Bandra.
I was devastated to hear of the happenings and relieved to know that this lady was a so called professional caretaker and would charge 500 rupees per day but would do everything from bathing, feeding and giving them a homely enviornment. I spoke to her on phone and she promised all of the above and took an advance of 15000 bucks and my friend stood guarantee as he had left his dog there too for 4-5 days when he travelled for work. I thought finally my nightmare was over…
Little did I know that it was just the beginning of a new one for myself and my babies. 40 days later after Peter was better and my stint of very hectic work related travels were over I went to see my dogs. Not only had this woman not given them a bath in 40 days but not fed them right and kept them in extremely unhygenic conditions. On the phone she continued to give me and my friend (the one who had taken the dogs to her) false updates. My beloved children were suffering from flea infestation, fungal skin infections and severe ear damage. Despite having given her their medications and special shampoos she had not administered their medication leaving poor heiniken to loose his hearing in his left pretty spaniel ear. Reasons for not bathing were – “Bathing charges are separate at @200 rupees per dog madam ji and I did not know if you would pay or not.”
And reason for not administering ear medication was – “I spilled ointment from the bottle your friend gave.” I was shocked – shocked at the fate of my beloved babies. Shocked at the fate that I as their mother, had entrusted them to. Shocked at how cruel this woman was that she caused my child to loose his hearing in one ear because she didnt want to administer a 30 rupees ear drop, shocked at her cruelty of charging 500 rupees a day and not giving them a bath despite promising the service. (PS – I had no issues paying extra for their bathing had I “JUST” known ).
The vet informed me that the dogs had received the thousands of fleas and fungus because the environment where they stayed was not clean and extremely infested with infections from various other dogs boarding there. On top of that dear friends this lady had the audacity to tell me that “my” dogs were dirtying her facility after not having given them a bath for 40 days. Tea cup had lost 7 kilos and Heiniken had lost his ability to hear due to neglect. As a dog care facility for owners travelling they had promised a visit to the vet in case of emergency(which obviously I was going to pay for provided they kept the bill), and honestly I would have been more then happy to even have it done myself through friends had she even once informed me of what was going on.
On top of that this lady refused to let the dogs go when she was confronted with their state at the doctors for the fear of losing the balance money due to her. Poor Heiniken and Tea cup were now miserable hostages in a dirt filled unhealthy environment in a Bandra dog boarding house. I contacted my dear colleagues at Peta and with the help of a dear friend, Sachin, at Peta I managed to get my babies out of there and into a wonderful professional boarding for doggies. Here they are getting treated for all their tragic endurance’s and now are much better. Heiniken is recovering from his ear infection and may even get his hearing back. Tea cup looks more like a jackal after having been shaved to skin by the vet but is regaining the weight and energy he had lost.
After a month both of them will travel to dubai and live in the house of dreams of Celina and Peter. Peter is currently making all necessary arrangements for their immigration and soon the babies will play in a beautiful garden with the saucy poodle next door. Gooblee (the third doggie) had already been adopted by mum and dad and lives happily in a army villa in Mhow.
I am devastated how people in our country can be so cruel to animals to those who cannot speak for themselves to those very pets because of whom their houses run. Whom do working people like us trust with our babies? What is wrong with with these boarding centers which charge us so much money for our beloved babies and all we get when we return is the neglect and abuse these dogs have suffered. I have written this article because Peter and me and our babies are survivors of true animal cruelty. Animal cruelty can be either deliberate abuse or simply the failure to take care of an animal. Either way, and whether the animal is a pet, a farm animal, or wildlife, the victim can suffer terribly. Neglect is not giving an animal the right food, water, shelter or vet care – all the things which these animal boarding homes say that they provide. Our babies have suffered a lot due to these money hungry wolves who care little about animals. The suffering which Peter and I have endured from the neglect of our babies is beyond belief.
All I can advice is the next time you leave your babies at a doggie boarding remember to make them give you a form or a letter stating all their facilities so in case of neglect one can take legal action.I am very thankful to Peta who helped in rescuing and bringing this reality to pet lovers and animal lovers in India.
With love from heiniken, Teacup, Gooblee,Celina & Peter