(from Cathrine in Dhaka)
The Dhaka head of CIDA and his wife have spent two working lives in underdeveloped nations, doing what they could for humans and other animals. On their second Bangladesh posting, they have indulged in a timeshare in a river boat. Every so often, they take friends down one of the rivers that flow around and through Dhaka. I go, if I can: the chances for photography are worth the stench and the sight of illegal dredgers destroying habitat. Bangladesh is, after all, mostly made up of the Ganges Delta.
On the 29th of January, they had one of those river borne picnics. This is not about the cruise. It is about the landing.
As we were disembarking, where Ali waited with the car, Julie spotted four boys throwing stones at a small puppy. The puppy was trying to run, but she had twine around her neck that enabled them to chase her and drag her back, choking.
I hope those boys had a life-changing experience when they found themselves surrounded by two screaming bideshi women and one fluently profane Bangali man. Somehow I doubt it: after we confiscated the bleeding and terrified puppy, they actually demanded payment for their dog! Only after being subjected to another of Ali's harangues did they back off.
The puppy was paralyzed with fear: except for her bladder. She was also in my lap, so it was not the car that got soaked. We could not take her to The Residence, because Rani had only just been sterilized, and needed rest and quiet. So, she went to foster with the Beadles. The vet came and assessed her -- fortunately the wounds were superficial -- vaccinated and dewormed her. Ali, who has a predilection for giving royal names, called her Cleopatra.
The resilience of puppies is amazing. The Beadles have an older dog, rescued in Africa, and a granddaughter. Within days, Cleopatra had transformed from a filthy bundle of nerves to a happy, playful 2.5 month old puppy who kept both of them on their toes. To start the adoption process, I brought her to the compound for a photo shoot. Even there, she found a playmate: she spent the whole session running back and forth and exchanging play bows and barks with the puppy reflected in the windows!
Cleopatra will be smaller than the average Dhaka street dog, but just as muscular, and she is developing into a sweet little girl. All the better when it comes to finding her a home. In the meantime, she's helping to spread basic education about dogs into the Bangali population: the Beadles' house staff, who find 35 kilos of African dog intimidating, are all in love with Cleopatra.
She's a puppy: what's not to love?