“You can’t change a dog’s past, but you could rewrite his future!” – Unknown
It was a fine evening in July 2017. Amma, Appa and I were walking to the car from the office of an institute when, all of a sudden, a puppy’s cry startled me. Baffled, I turned around, and was stunned to see a small, skinny puppy running frantically along a corridor as a woman was chasing him with a broom.
I immediately rushed to the block of classrooms to get him. I saw the lady again and asked her where the puppy was. When she said he was hiding in the bathroom, I walked inside slowly so as not to frighten the already freaked out poor little fellow.
I spotted him sitting still at the corner of a cubicle. I talked to softly, hoping that he would calm down and realise that I was there to help him.
I asked Amma to get some biscuits from the car. I broke them into small pieces and offered a piece to him. He turned his head away politely. He was still afraid. I placed the piece gently on the dry floor near him. Determined to gain his trust, I stayed put.
My patience paid off when finally, after almost half an hour into coaxing, he changed his mind and ate the biscuit! He continued getting more from me and soon from my hand – at a faster pace.
Convinced that he had now started to trust me, I moved nearer, picked him up, and carried him in my arms, all the while telling him that it was going to be all right. I felt so thankful that he allowed me to carry him into my car, and off we drove home, about 10 minutes away.
He sat on my lap calmly but was still shaken from the ordeal. I was almost in tears when I felt his skinny and fragile body. All I could feel were bones, especially along the back of his body. I wondered how long he had been out there without food.
As soon as we reached home, we gave him some water. We could see that he was very thirsty. We then gave him some kibble soaked in water. He ate everything, and kept licking the empty bowl. I gave him a bit more and after finishing that too, he gave me a pathetic look. I didn’t want to give him too much food at one go.
Later I gave him a warm, medicated bath as I had spotted some fleas on his body.
We continued feeding him, little by little, the whole day with several intervals and made sure he was happy. I told my then fiancé (now husband) about the puppy and asked him to name him. He suggested “Coco” and from then on, that’s what we called him.
The next day, I saw something long lingering in Coco’s poop. It was a kind of worm. Upon checking with friends, I realised it was a tapeworm! I spotted a few of them, actually. Worried, I took him to the vet at once. Fortunately, he recovered after a few days, with medication.
We fed him well and gave him supplements to grow healthy. Although he was excited whenever he saw us with a bowl in hand and would come out from behind the pots to eat, he was still quite hesitant to approach us.
We had to keep him away from our other dogs as he had not yet been vaccinated (he had to wait till he was fit enough to be given a vaccination ).
Seeing him looking so forlorn broke my heart. We gave him the space he needed to get settled but, at the same time, I often went over to him to talk and play with him, but he preferred to keep to himself.
My persistence proved to be fruitful when, two weeks later, he ran out happily to the small ball that I had gently rolled to him, and he took it in his mouth!
I could see that he was all ready to mingle. He showed off that he had the ball now and played bow with a wagging tail. I called out to Amma and Appa, and they too were all smiles to finally see his playful side.
We had to find him a home as we were already had three other dogs. Just a month after I rescued Coco, my friend Joyce, who lives in the same town, said she had showed her husband Coco’s photos that I had sent her via WhatsApp.
It seems that Coco’s eyes caught his attention and he felt they should give him a home. As he was at work then, Joyce came over to visit Coco with their three young sons. They fell in love with Coco the moment they saw him!
The boys kept bugging their mum to bring him home. Joyce felt a special connection with Coco too and decided that they would adopt him. I was truly grateful as I knew that Coco would be safe and happy with this family.
Amma and I went over to their house, bringing Coco along to help him settle in his new environment. Although he was a little unsure at first, the boys made him feel comfortable. They played with him with a bigger ball and took him onto the swing. He walked around, exploring his new home.
With the love showered on him, he managed to fit in pretty well. It warmed my heart to see how the boys were treating him like a little brother. When we bade him farewell, he was whining, wondering why we were leaving without him. My heart felt heavy as we drove away but I knew it was the right home for him.
I visited him a few times after that and I was convinced that I had made the right decision. I’ve seen him jumping happily onto the boys and hopping onto Joyce’s lap when she is seated and chatting with me. He even got his own special outfit that Christmas!
I wonder what would have happened to the terrified puppy Coco was had I not seen him that day. Sometimes, things are destined to happen. I was just in the right place, at the right time, to be able to take him out of the misery that would have befallen him.
And with the kind hearts that Joyce and her family have, he is now living a beautiful life.–