Six of us set off to visit People for Animals this morning. Lots of animal lovers in Mysore, which is lovely.
Everyone immediately set about interacting with the animals, especially the dogs, who are very happy to receive visitors. Like pretty much everything around here, experiences can be raw and painful. As I was heading over to the area where the rescued monkeys and turkeys (yes, really — turkeys) are kept, I spotted what I thought was a very ill dog lying off to the side. It didn’t take more than a second glance for me to realize he was dead. I went and spoke to the assistant and she came with me, telling me the doctors said he had cancer all through his system, so there was nothing they could do. When she verified he was gone, she had the men take his body away.
At the same time, we were besieged by a new crop of puppies. Four siblings, rolling and cavorting and snoozing as soon as you picked them up and cradled them. Their mom kept trying to shake them off as they bothered her to nurse — she just wanted to sit and be petted. Clearly she needed a little time for herself.
Later on I spotted a small dog who was clearly dying — convulsing a little and very weak. It was absolutely heartbreaking, but the alternative would be for him to die on the streets. If the vets can’t help a dog, they let him be and allow nature to take its course.
The PFA truck came in, and the workers took out six or seven dogs in individual nets and set them in a shaded area. Some of the dogs fought the net; some were still. They will all be sterilized this afternoon, treated for medical problems, vaccinated, and then returned to their neighborhoods. It was hard seeing them so frightened and stressed, but it will benefit them in the end.
While the new dogs were being attended to, other workers spent some time figuring out how to pump water for the animals (during a power cut) and then set about feeding them. Rice gruel in dozens of steel bowls. The healthy ones ate; the sick ones didn’t. Then the dogs stretched out or curled up in patches of shade, moving only to follow the shade as the sun moved across the sky.
I’ve been reading the Yoga Vasistha, and was struck by one of Rama’s observations: Animals live at the mercy of others.