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I recently had the joy of adopting a really sweet-natured, beautiful and enduring puppy. I know she’s about six- or seven-years-old (about 42–49 years in human terms). I feel like a mama and so I call her my puppy. What’s so special about this four-legged sweetheart named Milli is the lesson she teaches me about forgiveness.

Milli is added to my list of heroes and believe me there are very few people who have made it to my list (the main one being Jesus and also my mom). I don’t have any idea of what exactly she has been through or where she is from; all I have is a newspaper report on how she was abandoned near Inorbit Mall, Malad, along with information from people who have rescued her and taken care of her.

You can view the report here:

http://www.mumbaimirror.com/index.aspx?page=article&sectid=2&contentid=20100626201006260437528475db77e86

When they met Sally

On finding Sally (we changed her name afterward, for info read on), who was bound to a tree on a short lease and unable to even sit, Varun contacted Ruqsana, who also rushed to the scene with a few friends. The poor thing, all skin and bone, was in a terrible state after being abandoned in heavy rains for over a day on 24 June. She was rushed to a government hospital, which at first refused to keep her as pedigree dogs are not allowed at these hospitals (very obscure law especially since she was abandoned and didn’t a have an owner). A few good-hearted souls took pity on her and secretly kept her in a ward where she was out of sight. Even with the weakness, sickness and pain, my heroine kept her calm and was loving towards all who came her way. She even licked a cat when she came across it in hospital (now that she’s back in form, she doesn’t mind frightening cats out of their wits).

Searching shelter

Ruqsana and a few of her friends searched every corner of the city to find a kennel that would serve as shelter for this fur ball, who was in a pitiful state. She gathered together a few numbers and amongst them was the God-sent Meenakshi. Meenakshi told Ruqsana that she doesn’t call her place a kennel but a crèche. Instincts told Ruqsana that she was the perfect one to take care of Sally. So Meenakshi it was! Meenakshi, God bless her soul, actually cut her holiday trip on hearing about Sally.

‘Can our home be hers?’

The 26th of June, a quiet Saturday morning (quiet mainly as I was asleep), my mom jolts me out of dreamland and waves a newspaper right in front of my nose (she had just read the report by Alka Shukla in the Mumbai Mirror as given in the link above). Thankfully she did so as I was having a nightmare anyways. All struck by my nightmare and still in half sleep I gasped as she said, “Rita quick look at this, I think Lisu (my puppy who passed away on April 10, this year) is trying to tell us something.”

My head still dizzy from the nightmare, I thought, “Lisu, what about her?” There at the mention of Lisa, I jumped out of bed and paid attention to what mom was saying. I read the article. Tears flew down my eyes, while on the other end mom was sobbing bitterly. She looked at me and asked, “Will we be able to give Sally a home?” I was shocked, just a few weeks ago I told mom that I really felt empty without Lisa (I actually said I needed her more than I needed anyone in this world to talk to). So after being chided by mom about how we shouldn’t even think of another pet because the loss of Lisa was unbearable, here she was going back on that. My first reaction was – “Mom are you kidding?”

Leaving it to God

I thought to myself about how much in my heart I really wanted to give her a home. Then I asked myself – Am I the right person? Well I said a small prayer that went like this: God I really don’t know if it is Your will (although I hoped that it was), to give this dear one a home. So I am going to do all I can to get in touch with the people who have her. If it is your will then I would find her, else make it impossible for me to find her or have them reject us.  In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

This prayer always works for me when I am in doubt. It sure did this time!

Finding Sally

So all I had to begin with was a news report. It had Varun’s  email at the end of it. I emailed him along with a short introduction on my family and Lisa along with pics of Lisa. Then I restlessly waited a day. I was very hyper checking my email every five minutes from my phone, laptop, pc and whatever device available. I went to church the next day and came back home, to my dismay no reply. “That’s it!” I thought. I scolded myself and mumbled under breath, “Why do I just sit and wait when I know people who could get me in touch with Alka, the reporter?”

So there I was, dialing my friend Dipti who could get me in touch with Alka. I asked her, “Sona could you please give me Alka’s number?” And there I finally got her number. My excitement just increased exponentially by the minute as I dialed the number. I asked her about Sally and she handed me over Ruqsana’s number. I was parading the house like a maniac by this time and my mom and sister were having a hearty laugh. So I snapped back, “Wait and watch. I will find Sally, then I’ll have the last laugh.”

So I dialed Ruqsana, but alas her cell phone was switched off. I felt like my world was crumbling. Then I pulled myself together remembering the prayer I lifted to God, and said, “Okay God, fine this is it. I am going to message this number and if I don’t get a reply, I will just leave this pursuit and never ever think of a puppy again. ”

The message sat undelivered the whole afternoon. I tried occupying my mind with other things. Suddenly a reply. I quickly dialed the number and got in touch with Ruqsana and told her about my intentions. She then passed me on to Meenakshi. I spoke to Meenakshi. She said, “There are many people who want to adopt her. We call her Milli now. You may come and see her, but we don’t assure you that you will have her.”

Meeting Milli (no more Sally)

There I was thrilled that I got an appointment to meet this heroine, who survived all odds – torture, beating, burns, bad stomach, starvation, pneumonia, broken teeth, cuts and more. I got my whole household in a tizzy, screaming – get ready we are going to meet Milli.

With the address to Meenakshi’s home scribbled on an old piece of paper shoved down my jeans pocket, armed with my mother, sister and thoughts of Milli, we caught a rickshaw and headed to see my cutie pie.

The moment I reached the floor of Meenakshi’s abode, she recognised me. Milli was there with her just back from doing her business. There she was skin and bone, exhausted, and sick from the ordeal that had almost taken the life out of her. Even though she could hardly walk because of the pain she was in, she sat besides me and slowly crawled closer and closer, till her nose touched the sole of  my feet. We had to be careful as one wrong move or touch would have been agony for Mill (what I call her now). She was drowsy, but couldn’t sleep as she was in too much pain and even sleeping was really painful for her. We all fell absolutely head-over-heels in love with Mill.

Meenakshi explained that they had to change her name to Milli as it was the only name she responded to. We tried other names and even variations of Milli, but she only responds to Milli or Mill.

The decision

The day mom and I heard Meenakshi say that Milli was ours and that they wouldn’t give her to anyone else, was one of the happiest days of my life. I literally jumped around and almost got the neighbours yelling at me to calm down. We would meet Milli whenever possible and spend as much time with her. We literally saw Meenakshi bring her back to life to the naughty bundle of joy that she is today. Gifts started pouring in for this heroine of ours from all corners of the world. She posed with her hampers and these pictures were sent across to gracious donors (God bless them!!) who made Milli nothing less than get excited and jump around. They say, like owner like dog.

From colleagues, friends, neighbours and acquaintances could make out there was a happy change on our faces. I felt excited like a bird let out of captivity after years every time anyone including Nishika, my friend at work would ask about Milli (Yes Nishika you get mentioned for patiently listening to my stories and on going harping about Milli).

And finally… She’s home

It was a very difficult decision for Meenakshi to make, as she grew very attached to Milli. She packed Milli’s bags, got into a taxi along with Milli and her son. After a pit stop at Deepa Khatyal’s clinic (veterinary clinic) for Milli’s first bath after being rescued, Milli was home!!

A teary-eyed Meenakshi kissed Milli and said bye. Milli sat looking at the our door for ten minutes and then got enticed by a red cricket ball (her favourite). No looking back she was as comfortable in our home as it was hers for ages. She even started bossing poor Bruce, a Labrador belonging to my neighbour. Bruce had come to our home a few weeks earlier as his owner had to make a trip and couldn’t take him along. So we spent two days, trying to keep Bruce and Mill apart and also tried to not make one jealous of the other. Phew, what a task!! But we enjoyed it.

So that in short was how Sally became Milli and Milli became my Mill. More updates in other posts.

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