Posted On 12/09/2011 By In Investigation & Analysis With 1108 Views

A moving photo-essay by Sushil Khatre from Bangalore: “Tripod”

Episode 1 – When I first met Tripod

Date: 30th April 2010. I was feeding one of the stray dogs outside my house and I saw a dog approaching me, wagging its tail with enthusiasm expecting a feed from me. I offered him some biscuits and it happily accepted it. After some time when the food was over, it started going away and I observed that it was walking on three legs. One of his leg was twisted, the front right one.

I didn’t bothered too much at that moment, but later I thought I should go see what’s wrong with him. I started searching for him and after some time I managed to find him. He also recognised me and was very friendly. Its front right leg was broken. However it was doing well in those circumstances. Since it was already late in the night I was not able to do anything. So I came back and went on the search the next day. I failed to find him during the day time and was disappointed. I kept searching him and finally found him when it was dark. By this time he started recognising me and was very friendly. It allowed me to touch him. I called up a close by Vet but he was not willing to come down and examine the dog on the street, so I decided to take him to the vet clinic.

With great difficulty I managed to take him to the clinic, as there were other street dogs protecting their territory, not excepting any kind of invasion by two new dogs. By the time I reached the clinic it was 9:30PM and was closed. I returned helplessly.

I started looking for some help online and got in touch with a lady [I can’t take her name, as I do not have appropriate permissions]. She was kind enough to redirect me to some Vets.

Date : 2nd May 2010. It was a Sunday and the Vet Clinic where I went, remains close on Sunday second half. So that option was gone. I called up the other Vet whose reference was given to me by that lady. I described him about the dog. He agreed to visit my place to have a look at the dog, but requested me to get the dog in a confined area. The dog willingly came inside my house and in some the vet also arrived with his kit. He saw the dog and said that we’ll have to give a dose of anesthesia to the dog. After putting the mouth cover (muzzle), he gave him the shot. We took him on the back side of the house so that he can vomit there. I was not aware that after anesthesia shot they vomit. We saw him vomiting and the next moment I saw him eating the same vomit. The poor fellow was so hungry. So the vet gave him another small shot and the dog came inside. It was almost asleep when we were trying to put newspaper on the ground and during that time it kissed me on my hand. It pained a lot, the vet cleaned my wound. Thanks to this guy, I had to take 5 injections. Much better than the old days when I guess 14 shots used to be given. Then he started examining the other dog who was lying flat on the ground. He said its an old injury. Someone must ave hit him by the vehicle. It had three fractures on the leg and the injury was about 3-4 months old. The vet said by this time all the fractures have fused and nothing could be done now. His leg will remain like this. Finally at around 1AM the dog woke up from the deep sleep and was walking as if its drunk. Within 15 minutes it was normal and went on the street.

Together with one of my friends we named him Tripod.

Time passed by and it became a routine to feed him. I had to go and search for him initially but after few days e used to come to my house in the night for dinner. Once I left the door opened by mistake and I found him inside my house.

This is how I found my friend Tripod.
Episode 2 – One of the worst days of my life..

Date: 29th July 2010. I returned after one and a half month and found that Tripod has started staying near my house and this area becomes his new territory. I realized that Tripod has changed a lot. It was the same old Tripod in front of me, but had started chasing cyclists, pedestrians and others.

I am not sure what happened in that one and a half month. But with me it was still friendly, wagging its tail, playing around with me. It started barking a lot and I came to know it has bitten a couple of people. I received requests to call the local municipal authorities so that Tripod can be taken out from the street. I got in touch with the same lady who helped me earlier and we figured out its probably not sterilized and is aggressive because of the heat. The other possible reason could be misbehavior by someone hence, chasing people.

Finally we decided that we have to get Tripod sterilized first. So I got in touch with a local animal rights organization. I called them up on 30th July 2010. They never turned up. I was getting frustrated and disturbed as Tripod was still creating problems on the street. I managed to confine him in the gallery area between the house wall and the boundary wall. It’s big enough for him to roam around.
It still kept barking on people roaming outside. During the day its still fine. But Tripod kept barking most of the time in the night. Somehow the night passed by.
31st July 2010. I was worried. I called that organization again and requested them to pick Tripod today, as they will not be working on Sunday and from Monday onwards there won’t be anyone at home to handover Tripod to them. I kept calling them throughout the day. They kept assuring me that they will come.

In the mean while on elderly women came to my house. She was a victim of Tripod. First she was taking sweet, but in a while I realized that she is of the opinion of putting Tripod to sleep. A healthy dog, thanks to us people who made him Tripod from Quadrapod, when started complaining should be put to sleep. Tripod was still not misbehaving with me. Someone has really hurt him and the heat has aggravated his anger.

Who are we to put them to sleep? When Swine Flu breaks out, did we put infected people to sleep just because they were infected and could have potentially harmed others? No. Then why animals? What happens when you get the news about bird flu. Grand Massacre… She wanted to get the help of local municipal to put Tripod to sleep, which they always do with any animal, as they have got nothing to take care of an animal.

I was feeling helpless. If nothing could be done today, I’ll probably lose the chance to save Tripod, as eventually local municipal willbe called and they have a standard treatment for all. I was going out every now and then, looking at Tripod and Tripod was still behaving nicely with me.

After numerous calls to the organization they finally turned up.

Other organizations would have put the foot down and would have refused to send a vehicle to pick Tripod. Me and my friend know what happened with the Pigeon which was seriously ill and we took it to one of the shelters. At the organization with which I was dealing do not opt for it as the first option. So these guys came at around 6:15PM and took Tripod with them. Tripod will be taken to their hospital where it will be operated on 2nd August 2010. After that Tripod will be taken to the shelter and will be there under examination to see why it was reacting so strangely. If we feel Tripod is not a threat anymore to people it will be back on the streets, otherwise Tripod will have to be kept in the shelter.

That’s Tripod’s Destiny. I have lost Tripod. I didn’t find Tripod tonight in front of my house asking for food. That day may never come again.

Episode 3 – Update 4th August 2010

Got to know today that Tripod is already sterilized. When it was taken to operate doctor found that it is already sterilized. Hence its ruled out that heat was the reason for its aggressive behavior. Moreover it is very sub-dude over there behaving nicely with people there. It has now started eating food when offered separately. The doctor was not willing to believe that its a complain case and Tripod has attacked and bitten people. It seems if Tripod behaves in the same manner they are not going to keep it there and will release him back. I am already short on options and if it does not stops attacking and chasing people after coming back I am not sure how I’ll deal with this situation.
Episode 4 – Update 8th Aug 2010

It was a Sunday morning and I got up very early in the morning at about 5 AM. It’s actually very very early for me. It was pre-decided to go and meet tripod that Sunday. I was waiting for a confirmation on time. We decided to go to the ARF Shelter at Kengeri at 4:00 PM. I started at 4:00 PM and it started drizzling as soon as I kick started my bike. In few minutes it started raining heavily and I was completely drenched. In another 10 minutes or so it stopped raining and clouds gave way for the sun to come out. It was a nice drive on Nice Road and by the time I reached the shelter I was all dry except my shoe.
Shelter: It’s an open space without any fence/boundaries. In front of me there were two enclosures. The one on the right hand side was must e about 20X20 ft. Fenced from all sides and covered from the top. It had two partitions with 3-4 dogs in each partition. I was told that at times when there are more cases they have to keep more dogs together. On the left side there were individual kennels, big enough to squeeze one dog, with a gate on the front and concrete floor and walls.

As soon as I parked my bike I was surrounded by 4-5 dogs. They started following me. All of a sudden I heard loud whining noise when I was about 15 steps away from the shelter on the left. It was Tripod. As the front portion of those kennels is covered, dogs kept in those kennels do not get the outside view and obviously Tripod could not have seen me, but it smelled that I was there and started whining. As I was approaching the kennel, Tripod started whining louder and louder. Finally I entered into that shelter and found Tripod in the third kennel. He started jumping all over the place looking to come out. I was happy to see good amount of biscuits and milk kept there. I opened the gate and he pounced on me. At times bonding between humans and animals can be stronger than bonding between humans. Specially in today’s world human bonding is becoming weaker day by day, eventually a day will come when we’ll finish ourselves.

There were many other dogs outside and about 7-8 small pups. Tripod was still whining. In some time it became normal. I spent about 45 minutes with him and was very happy to see him in a good shape. Another good part was that they were keeping all these dogs really well. Although that place is not big but with limited facilities they were managing it well with plenty of food for the animals.

In the mean while there was a family who came there. They adopted two beautiful pups.

Finally the time came to depart. I had to put Tripod back into the kennel. I had to do it despite of my dislike. That was the worst part. I locked him, gave him a final pat on the head and started walking away. Once again I had to listen to Tripod’s whining; the only difference was that the noise was fading as I was walking. I didn’t had the courage to turn back. I kept walking and went away on the bike.My next destination was KRUPA shelter. It was close by. As soon as I stopped my bike in front of the gate I was terrified by the glimpse of what I saw behind the gate. There were about 20 dogs surrounding the gate and barking. It took me a couple of minutes to gather courage to go inside. Moreover we were carrying a big bad of buns and milk. I was holding the bag full of bun. While I was trying to get inside from the little opening (although I do not need large space because of my size), few dogs sneaked out. The caretaker went out and got all those dogs in. In the meanwhile I was in middle of all those dogs holding the bag full of bun. They were all pounding on us to get the food. While I was trying to make my way through the army of dogs towards the shelter, I saw a dog with three legs. One if its leg was recently amputated. Then I saw a dog whose hind legs were paralyzed. It was crawling on the front legs. There were few more three legged dogs. Many more tripods. I saw a couple of more paralyzed dogs. As I went further ahead, I saw a nice black dog sitting a little far away. It was not moving at all. I saw a bicycle tyre tube tied on one of the legs. I was told that it’s a pet dog and it stepped out of its owner’s house and went into neighbors’ backyard, where it was beaten by the neighbor. The beating was so severe that it had multiple fractures and was completely paralyzed. It was brought here and over a period of few months it did some recovery and now it can lift its front body, but cannot put any load on the hind legs. It drags itself to move around and that is the reason why that tyre tube is wrapped around the leg to avoid any injuries. Eventually every dog had a story but a sad story.

So we kept moving and finally reached the place where we were supposed to feed these dogs. Within no time those buns were over and believe me there were about 100 buns.

Then I saw the caretaker trying a rope around the mouth of a dog. I went nearby to see what he is up to. This dog had a broken and severely wounded jaw. It was infected by maggots and they were eating it live. The caretaker was putting turpentine oil to drive the maggots out. It was a terrifying view. I went close to the black dog who was beaten up. There was a person petting him. I saw the dog resting his head on that person’s thigh and it was crying. That person told me that this dog cries every time he comes.
I spent about an hour and a half over here petting these dogs and left the place with a mixed feeling, which is hard to define. I do not know whether that day was a good day or a bad day. I was left with many thoughts hovering around my mind.

Episode 5 – Tripod is gone 15th Aug 2010 – Indian Independence Day.

It was Sunday and I decided to go and see Tripod. I parked my bike and was expecting a similar welcome as I received the first time from Tripod. As I was approaching towards the shelter I sensed that something is wrong. Anyway the open dogs there surrounded us and I continued walking towards the open shelter towards my right. Another few minutes and I was told that Tripod has ran away. This happened 2-3 days ago and there was no trace of Tripod.

I came to know that a lady had visited the shelter few days back to take her dog back that she had brought here for treatment. She heard Tripod howling, and she decided let him out of the kennel for some time. Tripod even went and sat inside her car. She wanted to take him along as well but could not do so as she was already looking after 6-7 dogs. So she led him back and gave him stuff to eat. She asked the watchman to put him back into his kennel and then left.

Before the watchman could have put him inside the kennel Tripod started running behind her vehicle and eventually disappeared.
I heard the complete incidence and consoled myself. In some time I was on my way back, and while driving back my eyes were halting on every dog to see if that’s Tripod.

I don’t know if Tripod Disappeared or found Independence from that shelter. It was Independence Day. I may never come to know what really happened with him, where he is, whether he’s alive or dead. It’s almost 8-9 days now and it has not returned. Tripod may never return. I hope wherever he is, he remains happy.