Have you ever felt helpless about your dog’s health?
Have you ever felt that panic seeing your dog drift away in front of your eyes?
Have you also felt the extreme joy of being able to save your dog’s life in the nick of time?
Today’s story is all about that…about a dog and his human’s companionship, a heart-breaking incident but also an ever-lasting bond.
Talking about an ever-lasting human-dog bond, I watched the movie ‘Hachi: A Dog’s Tale’ last weekend. Most of you will know that the movie is based on the real-life story of love and loyalty of Hachikō towards his human. In the movie, following his human’s sudden death, Hachi patiently waited for him to return for many years (nine in the real life), until he himself passed on. Everyday during those years, like clockwork, Hachi went back to the railway station to the exact spot where his human had left him saying: “I’ll see you at five o’clock.”
The life of Hachikō’s is one of the most inspiring human-dog stories in history. It has inspired many, Alisa is one of them. After watching the movie, she felt an acute urge to bring home a dog of the same breed – a Japanese Akita Inu.
After extensive research to find out more about the breed, she felt that an Akita Inu may not be suitable for city life. But a slightly smaller Japanese breed, the Shiba Inu, would be more suitable. By then, she had looked at several litters but somehow did not feel a connection. One day she learnt about a rather unethical breeder who had a pup that was not selling. He was already five months old and did not know that the world outside a cage, which made homing difficult. That dog is now called Sai – in Alisa’s words: “It was my best decision ever to bring Sai home.”
Like his name, which in Japanese has multiple meanings including gift, ability, talent, aptitude and even genius, Sai is unique. “He is a blend of a dog, cat and human – very loving yet opinionated and sometimes stubborn who needs his ‘me-time’.” He is also a great observer who likes to first understand the vibe from another dog or human or even a cat before making the first move. But even this astute observer was once cruelly trapped!
At seven months, Sai had a narrow escape from death. He had sniffed the snow on the playground that was smeared with poison. “I will always remember that blank look in his eyes. It was all happening very quickly; he could not stand on his feet. On our way to the vet, I did everything possible to keep Sai awake. Later we learnt that to get treatment, there is usually a 20-30-minute window within which the dog must reach the vet. We were fortunate that Sai survived, but a lot of dogs in my country fall prey to this cruelty.”
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I was genuinely horrified to learn that there are ‘dog-hunters’ in Russia that kill dogs, mostly as a sport. On researching, I found several videos on YouTube about how humans are becoming more and more cautious in Russia due to an increase in such heinous incidents.
At 6.5 years, Sai is quite well-travelled having lived in Russia, Georgia and now the UAE. When he was moving to Dubai, a mistake in his document prevented Sai from travelling with Alisa. Sai had to stay for a month with Alisa’s friend. That incident had a profound impact on her so much so that now Alisa always opens her home for beloved pets who need a loving home to stay while their humans are away. “In Dubai, there are several great boarding options. But I try to do my bit by offering a cozy homestay option for the beloved pets.”
Sai lives with Alisa in Dubai. While he misses the snow, he loves his desert life.