Rocky the mix breed Labrador must have decided this when his "owner" determined to send him away because he was possessive and a bit aggressive dog. He could not stand the mockery and misbehavior of the new driver and servant who abused him, teased him and tied him up the whole day in the sun outside the house.
In mid August 2006, I got a frantic call from a posh area of Mumbai saying they have a dog who is very wild and ferocious so they want to get rid of him. Curiously I asked why is he so wild? The frantic voice said because he is not pure breed "Woh raaste kaa jungli kutta hai, hamare malik isko daya khaker le aye lekin ab isee nahi rakhna hai kyonki hum dusra acchi jaatwala kutta le aye hai ". Then another voice with some authority came on the line and spoke sternly 'If you will not help us to relocate him we have no choice but to put him to sleep'. The last sentence put me on fire. How can a normal human decide so easily to put his pet dog to sleep just because he thinks he cannot manage. My years of experience in animal welfare have taught me that you cannot convince people to keep their pet, once they have decide to leave him. There was no point telling him how bad and cruel it is to betray the animal whose world just rotates around his family and who doesn't know any other way except the way to his family's house.
As a matter of fact the "owner" did not leave me with any choice so I picked up the helpless dog and took him to IDA India's Deonar center. I wanted to protest and yell at that heartless man that, "this is not at all a good idea and totally unfair to the pet dog, that the dog would not adjust to kennel life, when he is used to certain food, surrounding, and most importantly he is use to you". But my voice just got suppressed inside me and I had to say very calmly "Ok, I would be sending the van to pick up the dog".
Restless and angry Rocky arrived at the Deonar centre. What a beautiful and majestic dog! IDA India's staff tried to get friendly with him but he was not ready to acknowledge any gesture of friendship. The poison of betrayal had shattered his trust. He used to stare in one direction, towards the gate. His bright big brown eyes were searching for somebody. He refused to eat, which started taking a toll on his physical health. He would sit quietly in one corner, probably remembering the lush green garden where he used to play and gallop and the loving pat of his "owner", which once upon a time he used to get. Whenever I visited the center my heart cried at seeing his condition. He was a lost dog.
Once again I called his "owner" and pleaded to give him just one chance. I gave them so many options and suggestions on how Rocky can be adjusted in their house but he never budged. My belief became concrete that I was not talking to any human and finally I stopped my efforts of convincing that heartless man. Instead I decided to concentrate on Rocky and put more efforts to gain his confidence and trust.
One day when I went to the center I saw Rocky was coughing and getting breathless and discharge coming from his nose. He had become thin and frail. 'Oh, My God', my heart sank. At once I understood that he had became the victim of kennel cough which usually dogs get once their immunity goes down. Dr. Guru. and Krishna were taking special care of Rocky and treating him in the best possible way, but to our surprise no medicine was showing any positive effect on him. Helplessly, we witnessed day by day his deteriorating health. By now, he was getting a little familiar with me. He tried to eat the food that I would bring for him. I tearfully whispered in his ear 'Rocky, don't give up. Please give us one chance'. and he would acknowledge with a slow wag of his weak tail, as if to say 'OK, I will try'.
Then, one day our doctor declared that he has entered into 'Distemper' a deadly disease where survival chances are NIL. He lost all his strength and could not even stand. His eyes got sunken in the socket. Due to constant lying down, he got the bad sores. My heart cried silently, 'What a waste of a beautiful life.' I knew Rocky was going away. I could hear the silent murmur of footsteps, which were taking Rocky away to some unknown destination. We all at IDA India prayed for his survival but it was his decision and we were helpless. News media also took notice of Rocky. By knowing his tragedy many animal lovers came forward to adopt him but it was too late as he had gone too far. He was ready to leave this world, he was not in shape to get adopted. We had to say sorry to all those kind hearted people and here I would like to take the opportunity on behalf of Rocky, to express my gratitude to all those people who have extended their kindness towards Rocky.
Finally the day came when Rocky said quietly good bye to this world which he found not worth living in. I took him to my Farm and gave him a tearful burial. Now he is in a world where nobody will reject him.
He stood by his decision 'YOU LEAVE ME - AND I WILL GO AWAY FOR EVER.