Sunday, September 18, 2011

Heaven in Hell

Ubbu, my dog, was diagnosed with Tick Fever because of which her blood reports showed multi organ dysfunction. My stress levels were high. Being a disabled person with limited mobility always made me feel that I am not doing enough to comfort her and bring her back to health. People who have pets would understand my anxiety because they would know that Ubbu is my child.
Dr Prabhakar was treating her, a very experienced, kind and patient veterinarian who had visited Ubbu at home, but now that she was diagnosed with this dreadful disease he wanted Ubbu to visit him at Friendicoes. I had heard that Friendicoes was a dark, damp and cramped place under a flyover overflowing with suffering stray dogs. I expected the visit to be a nightmare and my initial reaction confirmed it, but it wasn’t long before I saw the heaven in this hell.
There was a repelling stench of animals that one couldn’t miss as one reached. I heard the painful yelping of a dog and as I turned I saw two stray dogs who had been rescued and were in a cage. One of them had bitten his tongue while the other seemed to have a lot pain in his back and couldn’t stand. It yelped aloud as the other dog stepped on him as the cage was being wheeled towards the clinic. I closed my ears as the yelps seemed to be piercing my heart, but I had to move ahead – for Ubbu.
As we reached closer there seemed to be a chaos.  There was much more and louder yelping, growling and fighting sounds coming from various dogs that were kept behind in the shelter. There was a dog with his head completely bandaged in a cage sitting in one corner. The two dogs that were wheeled in the cage were put on the two small stretchers outside the clinic
I parked my wheelchair is one corner to ensure I was out of the chaos and Ubbu sat under my chair as nervous as me waiting for our turn. Dr Prabhakar was in the clinic, in the shelter near the stretcher outside… he was everywhere so skillfully working with a trace of any stress. A number of assistants helped him. A man kept the area clean and everybody waited patiently. I was inspired by the teams dedication. If they could be there bring a positive change then so could I.
Suddenly I saw a huge majestic Great Dane came towards me. I froze with scare. I held Ubbu tight. I knew she had no chances in front of him. He came closer looked at us for a moment disinterestedly walked ahead and sat on the side very confidently. That is when I realised he was an abandoned dog who got shelter at Friendicoes who also looked for people to adopt abandoned animals. This could not be hell I thought. There were many more lovely dogs who had been abandoned left tied to a pole especially as they became older, unwell or disabled. I wondered if people abandoned their children or other family members too and really the fact is that they do. 
Just as I was feeling angry at people who were so cruel I saw a stay dog running very fast on his front legs with his hind legs trailing listless. At first I was completely taken aback to see him zip past not knowing how to react, but as I realised that he was a paraplegic who probably hurt his spine in an accident just like me I couldn’t help but feel very happy for him because he got a chance to live.
The obnoxious smells had nearly gone by now and the chaos seemed like harmony. Ubbu’s health my discomfort all seemed so insignificant in-between all that pain and suffering. I realised that this was not hell rather it was a heaven in the hellish world we live in so full of cruelty and capability to inflict pain. Dr Prakhakar and his team were like angels attending and soothing to those suffering the most.
 Thank you Friendicoes for all that you do. I really wish you more support and expansion to an area that is sunny and open. Where these animals can get a better chance.


  1. You're doing a good job Shivani. Keep up the spirit; we're influenced to do the same. Stay well.

  2. hey di,i never knew you have a dog... hope you are keeping well..I have been to frendicoes when i rescued a pup near metro station. No doubt they are doing a great job. Although they refused to keep the pup, may be knowing that we are not going to leave him and that pup has grown into a dog and living with us.

  3. The story is so touching Shivani. Yes Dr. Prabhakar and his team are angles with nerves of steel; they confront pain and agony to bring healing to numerous helpless animals. There is something special about dogs and it is their undying love for people. My heart bleeds to see them abused by same people they love. What a betrayal and loss of trust. I have been to Frendicoes with my brother many years ago but not inside; located under an overpass, they are quietly tucked away, dedicated to the service of animals who cannot talk. They are the Mother Theresa for the helpless creatures; their dedication is an inspiration for many. Good wishes to Dr. Prabhakar and his team.



My wheelchair is not my identity

I became disabled person when I was 22 years old in a car accident. There was a very marked change in people’s behaviour towards me, and o...