from Cathrine continued from here.
It's been six weeks since Rani and her pups moved into the Staff storage room at the Residence. They have been educational weeks.
Rani's mate turned up at the gate within hours of our rescue, and hung around every day, watching how we handled his mate and his pups. He is a big boy compared to most street males, with a wide skull and thick neck that make it clear why he has few scars from mating battles.
He isn't aggressive, in fact, he is clearly someone's dog, with a string around his neck as a sign of 'ownership'. But he would not leave until he was sure his mate and her pups were in no danger. We ended up under his watchful eye for over three weeks.
Rani is a great mother. She is attentive and affectionate, but takes no nonsense when it comes to things like learning to eat and to do the business outside! One night when I was exercising her, one of the pups set up a yipping that sounded like trouble: I have never seen a dog move so fast! I had abrasions on my leash hand for two weeks. Fortunately, it was nothing serious, just one of those fights that children get into. Once she was sure everyone was really okay, both culprits got nipped on the ear, and told in no uncertain terms not to scare their mother that way!
The only danger to these pups was the stampede of people wanting them. Admittedly, a big part of this eagerness was the source: it's a status society, and getting a dog from the Canadian High Commission is a lifetime conversation point. But it means I have been able to be picky about who gets to take a puppy.
The first one to be placed was Runt. She went to a US couple who came to Dhaka 25 years ago and liked it so much they took out citizenship. They had glowing references from our veterinarian and several long term members of the expat community. They know how to care for dogs and cats, not merely feed them. A good beginning to what I thought would be an arduous search.
My staff proved that one should never, ever underestimate the Bangladeshi. The Cook and the Bearer both asked if they could be considered for a puppy. Both wanted to take the pup back to their respective villages to be family dogs. Both have had dogs before, and produced evidence of care for previous dogs to back their
applications, including, in one case, a letter from the local veterinarian, assuring us he had experience with dogs.
I've visited one of those villages, and my husband has seen the other. The dogs are healthy, accepted and cared for. However, they are also not sterilized. Negotiations ensued.
Rajah is now in the Garo tribal lands: if cellphone photos are anything to go by, he thinks he is in puppy heaven.
Goldengirl will, if the family agrees to sterilization in Dhaka at the right age, go with our Bearer, who is up there for the holiday, fencing his yard so the puppy can be secure until she is old enough to mingle with the older dogs.
This leaves Goldenboy. Ali, our driver, has a friend who is seriously interested. Like Ali, he loves animals and, like Ali, he is willing to make his dog, if he gets one, a member of the family. If he agrees to the conditions, he will get the last puppy.
That's not the end of it. The old lady on the bridge has a new puppy. I can't blame her: begging is a lonely, harsh life, and two months is a long time to be without your dog. But it means I have to find a place for Rani after her sterilization. And that will be tough. Even with a little weight on her, she is not a beautiful girl. She's scrawny and has scars from being hit by a car. And she's not a puppy anymore.
However, after this experience, I have a little more faith that it can be done. Already the veterinarian and Ali are out looking for the right situation for an active, affectionate street dog who will guarantee not to have a lot of puppies for people to worry about.
Now, if only it were this easy to find homes for kittens!