Residing in Lokhandwala, Kandivali East, a 31-year-old woman took up a cause that most others would gladly pass. Nidi Hedge, an independent animal activist, and a lawyer who nurtures over 112 stray dogs in her area came to the rescue of another one. In her conversation with FPJ, she shared an emotional story.
Last month, on September 10, she spotted Goli, a stray dog in her locality. He was feral and unfriendly. But it was his adverse injury that stung her. He had a wire tied around his neck tightly which had caused bleeding. Nidi felt heartbroken to watch him suffer, and all she wanted to do was aid him.
"The area I found Goli in had a history of abuse and abandonment. Someone had tied that wire in a knot on the poor dog's neck when he was a pup. Eventually, as he grew, the wire began to push against his neck. Every time I tried to help him get rid of it, he would run away in the jungle behind my society. Once he ran there, he would return after 2-3 days. Until then, it would be a mammoth task to look for him. That's why I named him Goli, for he would always make me go in 'chakkars' (rounds) to find him," Nidi said.
The lawyer further explained how important it was to cure him and what went behind doing so. "For starters, I began by giving him antibiotics. Every day at 6 pm, I would take a piece of 'chicken liver,' after inserting antibiotic pills in it and place it on the ground. If he was around, he would run towards the food to eat it. Within a few days, surprisingly, he got familiar with this routine. On other days, he sat empty-stomach in the auto-rickshaws of our area where he'd bleed with blood and pus. Besides, the rickshaw drivers who returned only to watch Goli create a mess in their properties threatened to take him away."
Soon, the entire neighbourhood began to complain about the dog. It appeared to be a final call for Nidi to try and catch Goli. Ultimately, on the night of October 3, Nidi messaged her friends to help in the mission.
"Goli always managed to run away since he had got the hang of us chasing him. So we decided to block the jungle altogether. That would leave him no path to escape. It was after we exhausted all our methods including using a net trap, loop and a cage to trap the dog, that I called up Rinky Karmakar, one of the trustees of SOS (Save Our Strays). She was was of great help in the mission as she provided us with the proper equipment and sent two men (catchers), Anil and Sunil Ghavali, who helped catch the dog." said Nidi.
Ultimately, On October 4, after running around for almost a month, the team caught hold of the dog. The volunteers, Manish Garje, Leena Soaz, H. I. Ramdoss, and Arpita Ramdoss helped in finally catching Goli. After managing to do so, they took off the wire carefully, applied medication, and put him in an ambulance. Goli looked exhausted from all the bleeding but, mostly, the running. However, it was by luck that he found people who saved his life.
Goli is now resting well in a foster care home with Pixy Kennel, Borivali West, where he receives the needed supervision. He is to return soon when his injury gets better. In a few weeks, Goli will look healthier and bark happier, hopes Nidi.
When asked why she rooted so hard for this stray dog, Nidi said, "Every life counts. I didn't want to stop trying. If I'd let go, I know what would happen to Goli. People here lack awareness, and they do not know how to treat animals unless they get themselves a hefty fine."