23 September 2011: We found Hasmukh sitting next to an electricity metre box in the service lane on the road a kilometre off our place. On our next round that evening, he was still sitting at that spot, panting. On checking with the chowkidaar (security guard) there, our worst fears came true. Hasmukh couldn’t stand up on his hind legs and thus couldn’t walk. Hasmukh was not a street dog of this area, and as we learnt he used to stay across the road and since the chowkidaar and ragpickers found him dragging himself on the middle of the main road, they kept him this side.
If you are wondering why we named him Hasmukh (which means ‘Smiling face’ in English), thats because that was the first name that popped up in our head as we saw him with his lower canine sticking out from one end of his lower jaw :)
We were not interested in packing Hasmukh off to an animal shelter, which is for us always the last preferred option. We lifted him in and brought him to a safe and secluded neighbourhood park, which was clean and not being used by either humans or other street dogs. We made him a nice cosy bed of grass there and fed him that night and decided that we will do our best to get him standing on his feet using the best possible medication underneath open the open sky than make Hasmukh feel depressed amidst hundreds of other sick animals lodged at a shelter.
24 September 2011: Morning time, we went to feed Hasmukh and found big ants stuck around his genitals, a fearful sight and painful because Hasmukh had no sensation of all of them sticking around there, we removed the insects and applied medicines over him to keep the insects away. Amidst all of this, the positive aspect was that Hasmukh was eating well and by the afternoon meal, we knew he loved milk, cheese and pedigree while he had trouble digesting rotis because of his deformed jawline.
We requested the vet to come over that evening and check on him as we didn’t want to put Hasmukh through the trouble of being driven in that condition…it was pitch dark when the vet came and when he did the pin prick test on his hind legs, Hasmukh could not feel any sensation at all!
A couple of painkillers and a multivitamin injection were administered to Hasmukh and we decided to get the course repeated every two days and observe and feed him in the meantime.
27 September 2011: After the previous injections, Hasmukh had become more active, he was sitting in attentive doggy poses the whole day and even growled a female dog that came too close to him away…we were happy by the progress he was making. On 27th night, we repeated the dose of injections.
28 September 2011: At a Street Dog Anti-Rabies camp, we discussed Hasmukh case with another trusted vet of ours and gained in optimism when we learnt that a paralysed dog can be brought to feet by giving him a course of homeopathic medicines for a month, which can also be aided by an allopathic medicine named Methycobal (to be given morning and evening). Excited and optimistic, we got the medicines that very night.
29 September 2011: The fickleness of life came to the fore. We went to feed Hasmukh that noon and saw a sight that scared the wits out of us. He had a big gaping wound with pus…on the pelvic region of the right hind leg just next to the tail and there were flies hovering around that portion, fearful that maggots would infest him, we got him to our home and took him to our trusted vet (Who had prescribed the homeopathic dose the previous day). It was in that visit to the vet, that all our optimism gathered through the previous day came to nought, the vet examined his back portion and told us that as per his analysis, he had a spine fracture and it was due to that spinal fracture, that Hasmukh’s hind legs had been rendered immobile, though we did believe that from day 1 till now, he had started feeling few sensations back…The vet gave his verdict, Hasmukh should be put to sleep if the spine fracture gets confirmed, his life would be full of misery otherwise.
Shocked! We asked our vet two questions…what was that big gaping wound that had come up on his hind leg? “Its a bedsole”, the vet answered…”it will not get healed”, he said and rather such bedsoles will gradually form on different portions of the legs in times to come as bedsoles happen when the body is immobile”.
Our next question, can a spinal fracture be healed? And our vet answered, “No, not even in humans…though there are surgeries these days for humans, but the chances of surviving the surgeries are remote and the risks too many as even one nerve getting hurt during the operation, can paralyse the whole body”.
Our hopes crashed that night and we got Hasmukh home back with us, and gave us a cushiony mattress, food and lots of love over the next two days. We wanted him to live the best days of his life.
…on 1 October 2011, the whole evening, Hasmukh for the first time, made us hear his voice, he was talking or crying in pain, we would never know…but he wanted us to sit next to him and only then would he be quiet else he would start those voices again.
2 October 2011: We had planned to get Hasmukh’s Spinal Cord X rays done and we did. Only to see the terrible condition in which his spine had been fractured. See below, the overlapping fractured bones and the 1 inch gap between the fractured overlapping portions.
Hasmukh stood no chance of recovery and his bedsole was only increasing in girth. To relieve him off his pain and suffering, with a stone on our hearts, we decided to let him go. All animals go to heaven is what we believe and so would Hasmukh, we knew.
A lingering question pained us no end…How did Hasmukh fracture his spine so badly? Clearly because a senseless driver in hurry had not bothered to look underneath his car where Hasmukh might have been resting on that fateful day, the car romped over him.
Rest in peace dear Hasmukh.
The ten days that you spent with us gave us a lesson for life. Your patience was admirable, your spirit indomitable and needless to say, your smile was lovely and thats why we named you ‘Hasmukh’.
And to all of you reading this, just remember to pass this word on, that the next time you turn your car’s ignition on to embark on a road journey, please spare a moment to peep underneath your car to check if an animal like Hasmukh is resting underneath your car, next to the tyre or flat on the ground under the shade of the car.
Try to shoo that resting animal away by blowing a horn or making some other strange noise to scare him away, atleast that will ensure that the beginning of your road journey is not the end of someone’s journey of life.
Please drive safely.