He is a mama’s boy, and his name is Choco. The boy found his forever home on Christmas Day, two years ago. He is the loved boy of my dear friends Anwesha and Tias.
Over the years, Anwesha and I have had many conversations on food, politics, work but this time was different. It was much deeper, as we spoke not only about Choco but the need for more pet lovers to consider adoption, volunteering and supporting animal welfare organisations.
After all, Choco wouldn’t have got a second chance at having his own pack, if he wasn’t adopted. This boy had a loving family, but unfortunately, when his human died, Choco landed up at the Pashupati Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in Calcutta.
You may also like: As tough as they come
“A couple of years ago, when I came across a Facebook post detailing Choco’s condition, we had to do something,” Anwesha says. “When I used to work in Pune a few years ago, I had rescued a dog from an abusive family. This dog used to cry incessantly, and I couldn’t bear it. But I didn’t have enough money back then to even bring her to my hometown Calcutta and give her a home. So, the dog was put up for adoption and found a loving forever home – I’m still in touch with her humans. With Choco, I felt as if life was offering me a chance for redemption.”
So, what really was Choco’s condition – I wondered. Choco was already heartbroken when he lost his human. A family caring for Choco before he landed up at the shelter had a dog who also passed away. And Choco refused to eat for almost a week. He had become fearful of being abandoned.
“Choco still suffers from abandonment issues, although he has admirably adapted to our life in Bangalore, where we have shifted for work. In Calcutta, we lived with family and Choco always had someone at home with him. We were worried about how he would adjust to our nuclear set-up. We connected with pet sitters and dog walkers to help him get comfortable with other humans. We also installed a camera to check on him from time-to-time when we are at work. Initially, he used to get anxious; but with time, he has adjusted beautifully. We kept working on positively reinforcing his faith that he isn’t being abandoned and never will be. He only needed some time to trust and love again.”
Little Choco loves everyone, but his momma is extra special to him. He is a mama’s boy, indeed! Earlier, he used to get upset when Anwesha fed other stray dogs and cats, often getting into fights. “Choco had to spend a brief period on the streets, where he was attacked by other dogs. That’s why he wasn’t exactly friendly with other dogs. However, over time, as he has seen me feeding other strays, he has become more comfortable about our coexistence.”
It always is a matter of time and patience to reassure an animal that s/he is alright and doesn’t have to be fearful. “When we broke the news about adopting Choco to our family, they – despite being pet lovers – were sceptical. They were anxious about what to expect from a rescued Indie who had already faced abandonment issues. But they soon realised that given a chance every Indie is beautiful and can rebuild their confidence. They are really smart and resilient.”
So, dear friends, next time you are wondering about how to celebrate an occasion, you may want to support an animal welfare organisation. If you are in a life stage to volunteer, foster or better still welcome a new pack member, do connect with some rescue organisations.
Choco is three years old now and lives in Bangalore, India with his humans.