If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. Mark Twain

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Is It JUST A Stray Pup?

The last thing I expected to see while shopping for fruits was a tiny black wriggly puppy amidst the crates of oranges. "Buy one more box of cherries, free one puppy!" joked one fruit seller. "You want? Take home! It is nobody's dog" said another. The cute as a button black little thing with a white spot on its head looked like it might have just turned 3 months. Bouncing around, it was oblivious of the dangers around him. Forklifts, crates, cartons, huge and heavy boxes of fruits, humans who are too busy working and going by their day to notice something so small at their feet.
This is their home
When I enquired further about the pup someone said, "There were once 7 but now only 4 run around. There are many other dogs here." I had only seen one pup and a black adult dog, which I assumed was its mother, walking about. There were more and I was worried. Where are the rest? This is no place for one puppy, let alone three. They could easily get hurt, run over by a car with the road a skip and a hop away. Were the dogs getting food and water? Did anyone care about these little creatures? All these questions! I hadn't expected a trip to a fruit market would cause me such anxiety. I decided I will head back the next day to find the pups and the other dogs to feed them.
This is sometimes also their home when it is too hot or wet outdoors
Armed with cans of wet dog food, paper plates and a spoon, I was back at the fruit market during my lunch break the following day. I could hear the men working there whispering, speaking in dialect, staring at this girl (ok, woman), wondering why she was balancing plates of meat in her hands. I didn't care. Within minutes I had found what I came looking for. I spotted a little brown pup that looked like it could have been sired by a bull mastiff, and Blackie, as I had come to refer to her, the pup from the day before (I have no imagination when it comes to names). As they ate heartily, I walked around. Lying quietly in a styrafoam box nearby was another pup. This one had black spotty markings on her brown fur, but that's not what was different about her. She also had one very white opaque eye. She was likely blind in that eye. And she had an injury to her tiny tail. "We put her in there because someone rolled over her tail a few days ago. She doesn't look like she'll last long." They were quite right. She was not in good shape. Skinny with her waist sunken in, she didn't want to eat the canned food but I wasn't about to let her starve so I drove out to the nearest pet shop and bought some replacement milk. To my relief, she lapped at it. I scratched her chin and told her it was going to be alright, that she's going to be ok and that someone cares for her now. She laid her head on my hand, too weak to hold it up for long. My heart broke.

Fighting for leftovers
For the rest of the afternoon, I could not stop thinking of her. I want to help her. I want to take her to the vet. I want her to be relieved of all that pain. I would happily pay for the costs to make her well again, I would even gladly foster her until she's healthy and strong, but I cannot keep her. What then will her future be? If I take her back to the fruit market, her pack may not accept her again. With her disability, it is unlikely she'll last long in that environment - how can she dodge fast moving forklifts in time if she can't see them coming from her blind side? Then I asked myself, can I find her a home she deserves? Will there be a kind soul out there who will take her and make her a part of his or her family? I was struggling internally to reconcile everything but I knew deep down I wanted to try and save her. So, I sought advice from the experts at Zeus.

Racing through peak hour traffic, I arrive back at the fruit market, silently thanking the Powers That Be that it had not yet closed for the day. But alas, I was too late. I returned to the styrafoam box only to see it half closed. I see her body in the box, still and not breathing. I felt my heart constrict and fought the urge to cry. I had failed her. In the end, she was not alright and she was not ok, but I hope with all my heart that in the 2 hours I spent with her that afternoon, she felt some love and human warmth before she finally drew her last breath.
The dead puppy
After I wished her well on her journey to the other side of the Rainbow Bridge, I went heavy hearted around feeding the rest of the pups and dogs and took stock of the four legged creatures that called this place home - 2 female pups, 2 male adults and 2 female adults. All capable of reproducing many more litters of little puppies that are put in harm's way every minute of every day. As the sky darkened, and the hustle and bustle of the day disappeared, it became clear to me that this was no place for dogs. Something had to be done. In order for this vicious cycle not to repeat itself, the dogs must all be sterilized. I pray and hope, with the help of the kind people at Zeus and the men at the fruit market, that Blackie and her sister will be the last litter to roam the market, that no more little puppies will be rolled over by a forklift, crushed by a heavy crate or knocked down by a car.

Rest in peace little one. 

Of all the 7 puppies that were born, 6 have perished. There is just one little puppy living there all by her lonesome self. I have named her Lemon Daisy. Would you please give her a home before she gets hurt too? Read Lemon Daisy's story here.

Written by Michelle Chan

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"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."- Unknown