Why I lost Lali and Other Horrible Truths

Regular readers of my blog are aware that I love animals. My immediate family, extended family, and I, have adopted several street dogs and cats over the years. Today, barely two hours ago, we lost a beautiful canine child called Lali. Lali’s partner, Laddu, had died last year – thanks to an inhuman person who decided to hit him with his car and drive away too. Since then, other male dogs, have been after Lali’s life. The last few mating seasons, she’s been forced to hide and skip meals. Now yes, you may be wondering why we didn’t get her sterilised; well here’s a sad story. When Lali started living in my aunt’s neighborhood, she had the standard slit ear which signifies that a dog has been sterilised. Then later on, we found her lactating, and experiencing symptoms of pregnancy. The vet told us what we had suspected and heard a few times before – Lali’s uterus had been removed, but the doctor and NGO performing her operation, had left her ovaries inside. Hence, the pregnancy symptoms each season. When we decided to get Lali re-sterilised, she was not young enough to undergo surgery without risk.

After a week or two of hiding and being chased by the males, Lali collapsed in our gate area yesterday, crying for long spells, unable to get up.  A compounder came and administered painkillers. He said he’d come today around 12:30 but then postponed to 4/4:30. I called him and pleaded and said it’s an emergency. He said that nothing could happen since it was just a minor injury. An hour later, Lali was gone. I called the compounder to let him know and his reply was an angry – why didn’t you mention that it’s an emergency? Excuse my language, but WTF?

Now you may wonder why we didn’t take her to an animal hospital; I’ll explain why. Because Kolkata has a couple of so-called animal hospitals which focus on getting money from desparate pet owners, and then pronounce the neglected animal dead. My family and friends who have been able to and willing to pay for the best treatment, have never brought back a pet alive. Never. Before you ask me why we didn’t call a vet. Let me tell you that they rarely visit the home. And never ever come running even if you cry and beg. They’re just like the human doctors here, treated like God.

So once again, I mourn the lack of emergency medical care for animals in Kolkata. I mourn the lack of sensitivity in human beings. And most importantly, I advise all animal lovers and pet owners to keep basic medical supplies and SOS drugs at home. In times of emergency, you will probably have to fight alone.

An Appeal

This festival season, celebrate the spirit of giving. Have fun, enjoy your new clothes, and good food. But also take a minute to care for those who are less fortunate – homeless people and animals who don’t even get a morsel of food most days. Ten rupees, a few biscuits, something new for a sad child who cannot afford anything new at all – make somebody else smile. You’ll feel happy too, really.

Celebrating Durga Puja

The sounds of the rhythmic dhak filled the air. Materialism was at its best, with everybody in their new attire. As the priest recited prayers for the rest, laughter, flirtation, and gossip took the stage. They stood in groups to eat. They silently judged each other’s clothing and jewellery. Only one little boy sought the company of the goddess. Little hands clasped together, eyes tightly shut, his second-hand shirt was a stark contrast to the scene.