There are literally thousands of stray dogs living in Goa. But thankfully a massive proportion has been treated by IAR at various stages of their lives, many sterilized, vaccinated and returned to their home area. These feral dogs do not necessarily desire or need to be treated as pets and can lead a contented, social existence amongst their small or extended packs and usually keep to within the laws of canine territorial boundaries that govern how things work in the world of dogs. This is an alien concept to most of the western world where the idea of stray animals is synonymous with human abandonment or neglect. Of course if humans offer a helping hand by giving food or providing some shelter from the elements, this is an extremely welcome bonus. But if the animals are not sick or breeding out of control and fighting for territory, life as a free dog really can be a good one. And to coexist within your pack amongst a tolerant human society is not such a bad place for a dog to be.
Some prefer to avoid the close company of people whilst others enjoy the relationship and chose to live alongside their human friends. These social dogs are widely accepted as an enhancement in many communities and are happily tolerated without actual encouragement; the dogs offer protection from intruders and alert the neighbourhood to snakes and other potential dangers in exchange for a little food and shelter.
A street dog named Chutki is one such animal, she has no owner or specific human companion but is viewed as a friend by many local vendors and semi-permanent seasonal workers who make a living selling food and trinkets and artifacts tithe tourists drawn to the scenic cliff top location where she roams, look out for and feed her. So when Chutki developed a large swelling on her side, the locals were quick to alert the IAR volunteers living close by who they know tube associated with Animal Tracks and would offer help to any creature in need.
Chutki was contained within one of the small shops making it relatively easy for the rescue team to catch and admit her for treatment at Animal Tracks. Chutki was examined by a duty vet as are all new admittances, and diagnosed with a fast growing and potentially dangerous haematoma. Often these blood filled swellings will burst and become infected with potentially lethal consequences. Lucky for Chutki, she was given the necessary drugs and the swelling quickly responded favourably and began to recede without the need for surgical intervention. Within a couple of weeks she had recovered enough to be returned to her patch and was welcomed home by all.
But then only a matter of days later she was in trouble once more. The same IAR helpers were asked to take a look at Chutki after her friends reported that she had sustained a gory injury whilst chasing a cat. During the pursuit through the undergrowth she had managed to get herself virtually impaled on a jagged tree stump. The impact had torn a deep hole in her side which would have certainly led to a painful and lingering death if not for her human friends once more alerting IAR. An animal ambulance was called in order to gently transport the injured and bleeding Chutki to Animal Tracks. For her own safely she was contained within a travel cage as is the norm for a wounded animal.
On arrival at the centre she was routinely examined by the duty vet and injected with medication to help ease the pain and shock. The deep cut was fresh but contaminated by splinters and debris. Immediate surgery was necessary to clean and close the wound, as without prompt action infection would have set in a threaten Chutki's life. In the tropical Goan environment untreated wounds can fester and become poisoned in just a few hours.
After the emergency surgery the long healing process began, but this time Chutki knew that she would be returned home eventually as she could recall positive memories of her previous recent stay at Animal Tracks. Chutki knew she was in good hands and was a cooperative patient resigned to another enforced captivity whilst she recovered.
And before too long she was returned home to yet another warm welcome by canine and human friends alike. The warm relationship that has developed between this street dog and the humans with whom she coexists has saved her life twice within a very short space of time. Let's hope that after these recent incidents Chutki manages to stay out of harm's way from now on, but if not there will always be caring watchful eyes looking out for this fortunate dog who is owned by no one but befriended by all.