Is it apt, or is it almost ironical, that a dog should show up in one’s life when it is raining cats & dogs outside? But as they say…it happened to me! Finishing my Pooja on a Saturday morning a few weeks back, I was surprised to receive a call from a neighbor warning me of “a dog sitting right outside your door”. While I had never kept pet dogs till then I have always had a very soft corner for them. Opening the door, I find this bundle of sweetness curled up, wet, hungry, and shivering with cold outside:
My wife too has not been a pet owner, but she shares my affection for canines. We quickly got a few towels and manage to rub him dry through all his licking and hugging. We noticed that he had a limp in one of forelegs (perhaps due to the long walk from wherever he came). Since I have studied Jyotisha, I took his coming as a divine sign. After all he showed up on his own on a Saturday and just like Lord Shani who limps, he too came with a limp. Who adopted whom exactly, is thus a question that will remain unresolved.
My wife named him Coco, and like every good husband I know not to argue. “He looks like hot chocolate”, she said. And I agree. Coco’s antecedents are unknown. But given that he sought out a human house for shelter suggested that he was domesticated. Not having a collar meant that he has likely been abandoned.
Quick visit to a doctor followed. I will recommend Dr. Aher to any other pet owners in Pune near the Baner, Aundh area. He is a young chap and clearly loves working with his patients. Since we didn’t know Coco’s vaccination status we got him vaccinated in a day or two of his arrival. Coco had a lot of ticks that were taken care of by some ayurvedic powder (helpfully provided by a fellow dog loving neighbor) and some meticulous picking by my wife. The doc suggested some de-worming pills which we gave him immediately that evening. Additionally, we are giving him calcium supplements, Vitamin A supplements, and something for his limp which appeared to be a swollen joint caused by excessive strain. There is also a liver tonic we mix with his milk.
Coco has brought a lot of joy to our lives. He is hard work, yes but it’s all worth it. No wonder dog owners live longer! Coco has seen a massive growth spurt in the last 2-3 weeks. He used to be able to squeeze out from our gate railings when came, now he cannot get his head through. The Doctor estimates that Coco is about 5 months old and will continue to grow for another 12 months. Already at a hefty 14 kilos, we expect Coco to level out at 30 kgs when fully grown. Look at him now!
We are still not sure what type of a dog he is. I know he is a local breed, generically referred to as Indi (for indigenous?) breed. But judging by his patterns, uniform and very thick chestnut fur, black snout, tail and tips of ears, a symmetrical white patch on his chest, and his general demeanor, I suppose is some combination of an Indian Mastiff, Kombai and Gaddi.
The three pics above pics are courtesy of (https://m.dogspot.in/9-indian-dog-breeds-never-knew-about/)
Indian Mastiffs are a north Indian breed and are excellent guard dogs and were, quite abhorrently, used for dog fighting purposes. Kombai is a Southern breed and has a characteristic black muzzle. It is primarily a hunting dog. Gaddi is from the Himalayan region and hence the furry coat. These are also excellent hunting dogs and can stand up to even leopards. Apart from the physical markings Coco has shown remarkable strength of character in not backing down from neighborhood dogs that are larger and could probably make him their chew-toy. In fact in several cases I have had to restrain him from charging them! We keep him mostly free in our front yard but needs to be tied up for a few hours everyday for the limp to heal. After all doctor has advised bedrest.
He is mouthing though and tends to bite and roughhouse with me quite a lot. So we recently got in touch with a trainer who will start classes on Sunday. Coco will soon be going to school! How quickly they grow up.