When I brought home Cher Khan, he was a puppy barely alive. He was the runt of the litter, picked on by other pups, a gaping wound bearing evidence to his lost battles with littermates and suffering from an acute gastric infection.
My husband and I took turns to feed him some fluids, using a syringe as a feeding aid. We were not sure he would make it through the night. But he did. The next day when the vet gave him his shot, Cher Khan squealed out and angrily started barking at the vet. That’s when I noticed that the little one had spunk in him.
As he began to recover, his confidence grew in leaps and bounds. With his newly gained confidence, his attitude shown through. He called the shots with my 40 kg boxer, Nishi and my lightning fast Indy, Tigger. He considered himself equal. So he found no reason not to try to climb into Nishi’s food and try to eat it. He saw no reason not to walk up to Nishi and snuggle up against her to fall asleep.
Cher Khan was our foster puppy. Our duty included finding him a home. So we started looking for a good home. He was ready. He was healthy. He was confident. He was cute.
No time better than now to find him a good home. We did the usual. Put up flyers wherever we could. We started screening homes. We were very picky about who our foster pups would come to call permanent family.
One evening, just as I was finishing my work at a shelter, I got a call from my husband. “I found a home and you will love it,“ he said. “But, it’s not in Bangalore. It’s in a village outside Bangalore. It’s our gardener’s daughter’s home. He wants a dog for his grandson.“ Just the idea of a little boy, with a firebrand like Cher Khan in a village home -it sounded idyllic. And it was.
The next day our gardener’s son came to see Cher Khan.
The latter was all over the son’s face who was giggling with joy. We knew it was a match, and a good one.
To this day, my gardener gives me updates about Cher Khan. We are moving out soon. So he insisted that I leave behind mine or my husband’s number, so that he can give us updates on Cher Khan. He even invited us over to see our little Cher Khan, who was apparently little no more.
Just to put things in perspective, the best home for a dog is not perhaps one that provides the most in material terms. The best home for a dog is one with the biggest place in their hearts. I often hear people tell me that their home is not a good fit for a dog because it’s a small apartment.
Dogs evolved around us, with their appreciation of species being one of the evolutionary trait. What dogs need are not large houses, expensive food or the most expensive toys. What they need is a place in our hearts for them.