By Goutam Mukherjee, DVM, MS, Ph.D
So, we are wallowing in the warmth of new love with our 10-week-old Anandi, our little rescue dog who came at just the right time to fill the emptiness left when we lost our old girl Delilah. Anandi continued to recover from her perilous beginnings with only a small cough remaining from her battle with pneumonia. She enjoyed traveling everywhere with us as the mascot of our mobile veterinary service.
One mild afternoon we were at a client’s house, parked beneath a shade tree, windows rolled down just a bit to let in the breeze. We left Anandi snoozing on the front seat and went in to see our patient. Returning just 15 minutes later, there was no Anandi! It seemed impossible, but she was gone! We searched the streets calling her name and knocked on every door late into the evening! We went back to town and made flyers and posted everywhere. Despair set in as the days rolled by without any phone calls. Our hearts ached, not sure if we should give up hope.
Four long days later the call came. A female voice on the line said that she had seen our puppy with some nefarious people who dealt with drugs, and the world’s oldest profession. She understood our sorrow as a dog person and wanted to help. However, she was afraid to be recognized. We picked her up from her house and she hid in the back of our van.
We drove through a couple of miles of unlit, unpaved roads winding through very dark woods. Our anticipation and nervousness grew as we approached a small house, the entrance surrounded by a large fence. We were worried about getting shot. We called out our greetings very loudly so as not to startle anyone inside. Our hollering went unanswered, but we saw a flickering light from a TV. After coming this far, we couldn’t leave without our little girl!
We took a deep breath, entered the gate and made our way to the front door. We kept yelling “hello,” and knocked at the door. A minute later, a confused but curious young woman came to the door. After seeing our flyer and hearing our plight she said she didn’t have Anandi. We told her that our little pup was very sick and has been without her medications for 4 days now.
Suddenly concerned, she asked if the puppy was contagious. We had to think on the spot. We rolled with the moment and we alluded that she just may be contagious. The young woman said her daughter had our puppy and she would have to go get it. We were discussing how to retrieve her when a tall, very angry man in a black trenchcoat shoved his way to the front door.
Jerking the door wide open, spittle flew as he yelled that there was no way they were giving back the dog without the reward money! Somewhat shocked, we assured the man that although we didn’t have the cash on us, he would certainly get the reward when we got our puppy. After exchanging phone numbers and calling to make sure they were legit, we agreed to meet in 2 hours. The adventure continued! Read about the happy conclusion of this story in the July issue.