It seemed that even though she was so little, she had committed a crime worthy of such cruel abandonment. Perhaps her crime was that she was a girl child. Or perhaps her parents didn’t have either the willingness or the ability to take care of her. Whatever the reason may be, there she was, lying alone and vulnerable in the early winter, her body developing jaundice.
She attracted many curious glances, not from people but from crows. They hovered over her, looking at a chance to peck and inflict damage. The unthinkable might have happened to this little baby had she not received sudden help from four big friends: the neighbourhood dogs.
These four dogs desperately wanted to help the child. They chased the crows away at once and walked around her to ensure no other stray animals or birds could harm her. They stuck by her side for several hours, walking and sitting intermittently, till a schoolteacher walking by the area heard the baby crying and came to her help. The dogs were delighted to see that someone had come to rescue the child and they started wagging their tails, barking and sitting down near the baby, as if to emphasise that he should immediately giver her food and shelter. When the other locals in the area came rushing to the scene, and took the baby to the teacher’s home for immediate milk and clothing, the dogs followed. They wanted to be sure the child was in safe hands.
Today, the child is admitted in the newborn special care unit at the Deben Mahato Sadar Hospital hospital. She has signs of jaundice but is quickly recovering. Her weight has come up to a healthier 2.8 kilos. They have named her Sania as she was rescued on a Saturday (Shanivaar). After she fully recovers, she will be taken to a state-run home-cum-adoption centre at Bhatbandh. Interestingly, according to Hindu mythology, the dog is also a Vahana of Bhairav, the Guru of Shani.
"Had it not been for the dogs, we would probably have lost the baby. We are all grateful to them."
This is not the first time that dogs have looked after and protected an abandoned child before handing them over to rescue officials. The protective instinct that dogs have towards humans seems to be innate and is something that no other relationship in the world can quite compare to. Earlier this year in the USA, a family dog sacrificed himself to save a baby by shielding her from a fire that had broken into their home. He thought nothing of inhaling all the smoke and facing the severe heat only to ensure that the baby did not come to any harm. Last year, a dog in Brazil saved a baby from the garbage bin who had been abandoned there, with the umbilical cord still attached! Dogs are not just man’s best friends; they are also our saviour and companions who always prioritise our life and happiness over their own.
Even so, our society continues to be cruel toward dogs. They are seen by many as pests, disease carriers and howlers who are shooed away, not offered food and even beaten up. Who can forget the horrendous case of the woman in Bengaluru who mercilessly flung eight puppies onto boulders across her street, only because “she didn’t like them?” Behaviour like this not only reflects deep-set cruelty but also has permanent impact on the minds and hearts of our children. They grow up without learning sympathy and kindness and treat anyone not in their social class as inferior and lowly. As parents, it is important that we teach our children to be kind to animals. Having a pet in the house can be a great step in this direction. Babies and pets get along wonderfully once you have introduced them using this method.