My story today is of Datia the traveller: a little dog that has gone further in his short life than most Indian people go in an entire lifetime - let alone most other stray dogs, however bold and adventurous they may be! His life began miles away from Goa in the north Indian town of Datia in the state of Madhya Pradesh about nine months ago.
Meanwhile at the same time Swedish couple Elvira and Kotte were soon to embark on their adventurous motor cycle tour of India. The last thing they envisaged was a little furry passenger who would become their constant companion for the next few months. But early in their travels they came across an abandoned pup of only a few weeks old and with no one to care for him, so what could they do? They named him after the place he was found and all three set off into the sunset.
Datia was loved and cared for and, from his safe position seated between Elvira and Kotte on the bike, saw more of India than most of us can ever hope to. With the couple's devotion Datia thrived and grew to be a healthy confident pup that would have otherwise surely perished.
Some months later the trio arrived in Goa. But Elvira and Kotte's time in India was drawing to a close and they knew that Datia had to find someone else to love and care for him. Whilst they put up posters and searched for such a home, Elvira and Kotte had Datia wormed and vaccinated at IAR Goa and asked for their help. I know as well as anyone that rehoming animals is a constant issue for IAR as there are far more needy cats and dogs than there are good available homes. And not all of them can be as lucky as I was to find a loving home among kind people who understand dogs and know what we need to keep us healthy and happy.
But elsewhere in Little Vagator there are a group of neighbours who live in a quiet residential area. Here IAR had recently managed to successfully home several pups and kittens to loving families. Another local neighbour Dorothy, seeing these lovely cats and dogs with her friends, thought that she too could offer the right dog a home.
So Dorothy was shown some photos of the handsome pup who came from so far away and had travelled most of his life through India. Next day Elvira, Kotte and Datia went to meet Dorothy to see how they all got along.
They need not have worried, it was love at first sight, and when he was put into Dorothy's arms Kotte managed to snap a photo of Datia's first typically enthusiastic kiss.
So it was with much sadness but extreme relief that Elvira and Kotte said goodbye and left their little friend with his new mum.
Dorothy and all the other local people who adopt a rescued animal will receive free support and medical treatment from IAR for the first year. Of course Datia, now a typical naughty adolescent, has since been sterilised and is settled, healthy and happily living in his new community.
We can never know how much of his epic journey Datia will remember, but it's certain that he is now in the best place he could ever have dreamt of thanks to a caring couple of travellers and everyone at IAR Goa.
Thank goodness for the kindness and generosity of the human race (well some of them at least!) Without their donations IAR simply couldn't continue to offer this aftercare for the adopted animals they have managed to find homes for.
Good luck Datia - stay in touch!