When Dino came into our household in late December 2004 he was close to 6 weeks in age. Mr Tiwary who was introduced to me by a friend, brought him to us in Ranchi from Kolkata where, as we were told, Dino was born in a kennel to parents Litton and Rosie. He came to our house in a plastic shopping container with a cover, the kind we used to see in our childhood but no more to be seen now.
When Mr Tiwary let him down on the floor, this little thing looked malnourished, starved, dehydrated and sick. It did not quite resemble the Labrador puppy I had pictured in my mind when I researched the breed from books I had purchased. Internet was not quite as prevalent back then in India.
He was quickly named Dino and in spite of his discomfort and ill health, he knew he had come to a place which was to be his loving home. He took to the house straight away. My two growing daughters and wife immediately took the little thing under their wing and this process culminated in his receiving the first bowl of milk, first warm bath, sunning in the terrace and his initial doses of immunization from the vet. Within a few days, he was a bundle of energy and playfulness.
But Dino was carrying a deadly disease which was to manifest immediately after Mr Tiwary took him to his Kennel on our request as we were travelling to Kolkata for an emergency and it would not gain favour with relatives if we took the puppy along. On our return Dino did not seem to be in good health but still remained playful.
Ranchi’s annual kennel club dog show was held around that time and we visited the show along with our neighbour’s Golden Retriever puppy about the same age as Dino. We had to guard the puppies from the large breeds who were strutting around us with their proud masters. I spied on the grown up Labrador retrievers and envied the dignity with which they presented themselves. Dino did not appear to be in prime health as expected from a puppy that morning. He was quite subdued.
That evening Dino, now a little over 8 weeks old, gave away the first clear sign that he was very sick. Mr Tiwary deputed his brother as a vet who confirmed that Dino was suffering from Parvo Virus, an acute inflammation of the gastro-intestinal system. I did not waste any time but quickly found a qualified vet, Dr. Sinha whose presence immediately restored my confidence. Dr. Sinha confirmed that the chances of survival was very bleak and with Dino’s state of health it was less than 10%. However he was willing to put in a strong effort. In the meanwhile, Dino was soiling the entire house and I was following him and cleaning up everything. With his further deterioration, Dr Sinha began administering drips and other antibiotics, day in and out, while the entire family kept a close vigil. Towards the 3rd day our wavering hope took a further beating and in the evening Dino was immobile and his eyes had a far away look and a greenish tinge which the doctor confirmed could be the last stages of his life. Dr Sinha left around 11 pm and we put a electric heater close to the wooden box and the family retired to bed but stayed awake hoping against hope that a miracle would bring him back.
At around 3 am I heard the first scratching sound and there were more such sounds.I was up in a jiffy and next to his box when I realised that Dino was standing on his hind legs and peering out of the box. My immediate reaction was that Dino has turned around and his will to live in our house surmounted his sickness. It was surely the miracle we had prayed for.
Sidenote: Though Dino never regained perfect health, he grew up to be a loving and absolutely adorable pet. He passed away in 2013 at the age of 8 due to a gastro-intestinal disease he was not lucky enough to survive like before.