A canine Navroze

Betty went from being hungry on Bandra’s streets to celebrating her first Parsi New Year with her new family in Colaba
For five years, Basanti lived in the compound of a building. It wasn’t the best life, but she was safe, happy and well fed. A kind animal lover made sure the indie and her three puppies always had food. When she was five and her babies four, the building was redeveloped and Basanti lost the only home she ever knew. Worse yet, her benefactor too vanished. Soon people complained and wanted to get rid of them. With no street skills the four dogs were left to fend for themselves. Last monsoon, their first without any shelter was rough. While two of her puppies were relocated to a farm, the last one was rehabilitated on the street. Basanti, alone and depressed was shifted to a foster till the rains ceded. Unaccustomed to living alone, she’d run back to her foster after she was returned to the streets. Clearly, Basanti wanted a home.

Enter Cyrus Daruwalla who’s been a pet parent to three dogs: two golden retrievers, Honey and Rufus; and an Irish Setter named Muffin. After the last of his three dogs, Muffin passed away owing to old age earlier this year, he felt empty. “They have to go some day and that’s a difficult journey for us,” he says. “Just image a dog’s love and if you have three, that’s multiplied.” The 45-year-old, who lives in Colaba, decided he wanted to rescue an abandoned dog this time and give them a chance at a good life. After months of coordinating, Basanti visited the Daruwalla house for the first time. She took no time in making herself at home – causing the house help to exclaim that she was staying on for sure. Basanti was rechristened Betty and she never left.

At five, it’s extremely difficult for a stray dog to find a forever home, but Betty seems to be one lucky girl. “She’s really cool but she’s quite possessive of me,” Daruwalla. “When my mother hugs me, Betty comes in between.” This March, Betty celebrated her first Parsi New Year and birthday with her forever family, replete with a garland, kisses and tikka. No one can enter the Daruwalla home without playing with her for five full minutes. “I need to pat her like a baby till she’s happy,” says her parent. “If I [let her go] her earlier then she comes right back.”

Published on The Hindu