Inconvenience in WORK; PROGRESS is regretted.

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Another excuse for encroaching and taking what was rightfully not ours.

I was involved in two different cases today.

1) A German Shepherd was reported running loose on a freeway. That to me is DISASTER MODE, WAR-FOOTING, CODE-RED.

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As I sped down the motorway with the lights of my truck blaring, my heart skipped a beat at every black object I saw; a discarded trash bag, separated treads from tires, litter.

A part of me didn’t want to see this dog and a part of me figured that catching him is the best chance it has.

My heart is bi-polar by now.

Instead, I found this little Brown dog on the freeway; quashed beyond recognition. Once it got to the freeway, its little legs had no chance in front of the giant 16 wheelers delivering the fruits of development across the country.

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A horrible, painful and merciless end to a life once cherished.

2) A citizen called about an Alligator in a pond by a cul-de-sac. Upon arrival I saw the citizens yard almost extending into a swamp. The builders of the subdivision had squeezed every last inch of habitable land from the swamp-animals.

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He showed me two gators in the pond and said they were out on the banks earlier.

“Sure, sir. They were sun-bathing. That’s what cold-blooded mammals do.” I laid my palm out flat.

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“But they can get my kids.” He puffed out his chest.

Did you not think of that when you bought the house, Einstien? “It’s their natural habitat, sir.” I waved to the swamp.

“Can’t you just get them and relocate them from here?” He tried to read my name off my badge.

“From the water? You want me to go in the–”

“—Can’t you.”

Yes if I were Tarzan, MAYBE.

 

But how are these two cases related, you might ask.

 

So as I drive back in the evening this is what I saw; A fresh coat of tar on the freeway. Before I could help it I had stopped the truck by the same small dog I’d seen this morning.

The tar-machine had sprayed tar over its battered body. A worked must’ve noticed it on the second or third coat and flung it against the divider on the freeway. Even the dead carcass of a small dog was tormented.

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The development of a nation is determined by the quality of its roads and the number of animals that are buried in the concrete slabs and the tar.

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CHIRIYAN TE MEIN BAAZ TADAUN

The one personality that has affected me more than any other in this world.

My guru.

Sacche Patshah Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

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As I child I was drawn by his eyes, his magnetic personality his stories of sacrifice and bravery; the warrior saint with a falcon on his arm.

But there was a deeper connection.

Then I learnt more about him. When the rest of the country was mired in un-touchability and segregation he decreed that everyone shall sit and eat at the same level. No rich and no poor. Equality for all.

In war he reluctantly sent his men to their death, but not before he sacrificed his own sons first.

Fairness.

And love for his beloved horse and his falcon.

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That’s where I might have learnt to love animals- who knows how the mind of a child absorbs things.

Today I got a call for an injured falcon.

So I went to the site where a hawk had paralyzed legs. Unable to fly it flapped its wings and struggled on the road. Ultimately giving up.

As I draped a blanket over the falcon and picked it up I felt a connection deeper than man and animal. It had something to do with being a Sikh.

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I felt responsible towards the Falcon ; like I was being tasked by the guru to save it.

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After hurrying back to the shelter, I used a syringe to put dextrose solution in its mouth. Sometimes birds who haven’t eaten for a while are running low on blood sugar seem like they are close to dying. However a few drops of dextrose act like a miracle. I’ve seen them fly away within minutes of getting the dextrose.

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Not this one.

I searched under its wings ignoring the unusual slimy excreta (which should never be fluidic as birds do not urinate) dripping on my uniform, I found BB pellets embedded in its legs.

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The capability of humans to be cruel never stops amazing me.

So I called a bird rescue group and they came out and took the Falcon to give it the best chance at rehabilitation.

I kept on thinking about why the Guru called us Sikhs, the eternal learners. He taught us that an elephant and an ant is the same in the eyes of god.

But we; his Sikhs hold one bird in reverence (the Falcon) and willingly kill and eat some other birds like chicken and turkeys and emu’s.

Did the Guru over-estimate us? Are we the same Sikh’s he was so proud of that he said

Sawa Lakh te ek laraun,

He asked us to fight evil, but for these animals- we became EVIL IN CHIEF.

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You sir, are under a Contract !!

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We made a contract with animals-

Sure, there was no fine print. Surely, nobody from their team had the ability to read it or sign it or veto it. They just had to lower their defenses and give in.

We tricked them

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— But even one-sided contracts are contracts.

 

“We will domesticate you,” it read. “We will trade you for profit like a commodity. We will make all possible uses of you and we will even expect you to love us unconditionally. In return we will give you the food and shelter as long at it is convenient to us…”

The stupid animals didn’t even hear us beyond the phrase “Unconditional Love.”

They were sold.

They were duped.

Somewhere down the line, we forgot our promise because we humans have the one basic thing these animals lack- GREED.

They are still stuck on the phrase. “Unconditional Love.”

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Every festival we have be it Easter, Thanksgiving, Bakr-Eid, Gadhimai, Christmas; we find an excuse to feast on their flesh.

Sometimes in the name of religion.

Sometimes in the name of dating, family get-togethers, feasts, partying with the boys/girls, graduations, weddings, birthdays- we celebrate all our events by murdering them.

Such is our GREED.

Sometimes in the name of entertainment- we maim and mutilate them. We profit off their pain and suffering.

And if killing them isn’t enough, we scare them with our celebrations. At Holi we colour them with chemicals on their skin. On Diwali and independence day fireworks spoof and scare them.

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Every 4th of July the shelter gets the MAXIMUM number of dogs and cats those have been abandoned or run away scared. The Euthanasia rates of cute dogs and cats triples on the week following July 4th.

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We read this and say- Ohhhhh that’s horrible. But the following year, the following festival- even our need to see fireworks super-cedes the life of a dog.

Our independence celebrations mean their independence from their life.

When are we going to honour our end of the social contract we made with the animals?

When will we be honest and fair and have equal rights – The very foundations of this nation and humanity?

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A Million in One

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Every creature fights for survival.

This dog gave up to ticks. Millions of them. In clusters all over her. Her soft skin invaded by clusters of them. The armpits, the ears, the toes, the neck. In my eight years in rescue and animal cruelty investigations, I have never seen  dog with so many ticks.

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Someone tied her amongst tall grass and left her there.

She must’ve tried to get away.

The missing fur tells us that at some point she chose to bite them off.

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Then she tried to break her leash.

Then she gave up.

To die a horrible death.

This dog was anemic beyond belief. Her gums were bleached. She wouldn’t have made it through the day with those ticks sucking away at her emaciated body.

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So I sat down on my knees and started picking them off her body. 2 people working for 30 minutes or so got maybe 25% of them off her. Nothing grosses me out more than clusters of ticks but this dog needed relief.

We doused her with chemicals and took her to the Vet -assuming she will need a transfusion. The good Vet told us that as long as she eats- she will be fine. So I opened some wet food for her and even before the dish hit the floor she had scarfed down almost all of it.

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Then I wrote “Very Gentle” with a sharpie across her disposition paperwork. That means she will have 3 days. The compassionate Vet smiled at me for the work done to save her and marked her for spay surgery. That would mean she won’t die immediately. That she will have a shot at life.

While I was putting her back in her cage she wagged her tail and for the first time in her empty eyes I saw a spark. A chance at life- hope.

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As the ticks dropped off her continually- due to the medication I wondered if my touch today was the first loving touch this dog had ever known.

Her survival chances are up to her luck now. Maybe (post spay) in the weeks she has at the shelter a family would see through all the dried scabs of blood and see a priceless soul. Maybe she will finally get the love that we humans owe her. Maybe she’ll be able to give her love to someone.

She was one with a million ticks on her.

Today her survival chances are one in a million……

…But one is a number.

Will you be the one to make her your ONE and ONLY?

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