Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Blackshe learns that there’s no place like home!

Hello my friends

My story today is something of a cautionary tale for any bold young pup tempted by the call of the wild!

The De Souza family had recently lost Blackie and Simba their teenage brother dogs: both died from old age and within a short time of each other. Both had been some of the very first family owned dogs to be sterilised at Animal Tracks, and throughout their long and happy lives the dogs had been occasional outpatients at the rescue centre with routine ailments and for vaccinations. The three children of the family had all grown up with the brothers and, as many of you will have experienced, a home that's recently lost the presence of a beloved canine companion is a very sad place to be. So Willy, their father, asked his friends from Animal Tracks to look out for a suitable young pup to join his depleted family.

At the very same time a rescued young black pup that had been staying with an IAR foster carer was just at the right age and ready to move to a new forever home. So the lucky little pup was taken to meet the De Souza family, they all just fell in love with her and decided her name would be Blackshe.

When a pup or kitten is adopted from Animal Tracks we advise all adoptive owners to keep their new pets temporarily contained for the animal's safety while they become confident and familiar in their new surroundings. Blackshe, was given a new collar and leash, a nice soft bed, food and water and was secured on the sheltered veranda of the family home. She was left there in peace to settle in. But Blackshe's skinny little puppy neck was just a bit too small for her new collar and she slipped out and ran off, eager to explore.

The De Souza's home is surrounded by dense jungle which slopes down to the next village and then rises to high cliffs, then onwards to the ancient historical site of Chapora Fort. Very soon Blackshe realised she'd gone too far and had no idea in which direction to backtrack to her new home. Darkness fell and the frantic family searched and called out to the lost pup in vain.

After a worried, sleepless night the search resumed at first light including IAR volunteers, friends and neighbours from both villages and local school children, all enlisted to find the missing pup.

Luckily somehow she’d made it through the night and there were several sightings of a lone black pup in the distance high up near the fort and also on the low lying surrounding rocks and beaches. But Blackshe was just too frightened and spooked by her overnight ordeal to go close enough to a stranger and evaded her rescuers, not understanding they were all trying to help her. So she continued to roam, all the while dodging dangers and getting more and more lost.

Gradually reports of her being seen became fewer and far between and as the days went by all hope was lost for the vulnerable little pup out in the jungle with no food, water or safe shelter and wild animals like snakes and feral dogs to contend with.

Over three weeks passed and everyone was resigned to the fact that she was gone. But then a definite sighting of a solitary hungry black pup was reported very early one morning on the beach by Chapora jetty: she was looking for dead fish or anything vaguely edible washed up by the tide.

By the time rescuers arrived at the scene the sun had risen and Blackshe had disappeared again back into the jungle, chased away by packs of local territorial dogs who will not permit an intruder on their patch.

But with renewed hope and a plan, a couple of IAR volunteers who Blackshe knew from her days in the foster home went down to the jetty before first light the following morning, while all was silent and the sea mist was swirling around and most dogs and humans still slept soundly. They quietly sat and waited softly calling encouraging words into the jungle from their location on the beach near to the Hindu Dog Temple, where Blackshe had been seen the previous day.

Two fruitless hours passed and the would-be rescuers were reluctantly forced to give up, sadly making their way back towards their scooter parked by the jetty. Then within literally a few moments of riding away they heard a faint whimper alerting them to turn around. Following them, exactly a month to the day since she'd gone missing, was an exhausted, skinny, dirty, ravenous but otherwise unharmed Blackshe, more than ready by now to be scooped up, seriously hugged and taken home to safety.

Apart a skin infection and a stomach upset from scavenging on whatever she could find to survive, amazingly Blackshe was in relatively good condition, despite her month long ordeal alone in the wild. Proving just how clever, instinctive and resourceful even a young animal can be when faced with adversity.

Very soon she fully recovered and settled into life safe within the bounds of her overjoyed human family and these days she seldom strays much beyond the family compound.

She's more than happy just to be a cherished home-loving pet and has no further desire to be an intrepid adventurer. Blackshe is of course fully vaccinated and now at six months old has just been sterilised by IAR, ensuring there will be no litters of De'Souza pups who might get lost in the wilderness.

Little Blackshe has learnt two crucial lessons at an early age - that it is indeed a jungle out there, and that there really is no place like home!

Love Olive x