The next story in the give animals a brake series is of Henry, who was nurtured back to good health from an accident and then…

In January 2011, a new chocolate fur stray dog appeared out of the blue on my way to college. He did not belong to that area. The routes I take, I know who belongs where. The data is right there in the brain.

As for this dog, he appeared to be licking his leg vigorously. His paw was split and there was a rotting wound. I turned around and stopped. Keeping the first aid kit at all times comes handy in such situations. With an antibiotic, painkiller and some food, I approached him from a distance. His attention shifted to the food I had brought. I put the wrapped meds on top of the food and he had it. I was running late, I left him to eat. But I turned around to have a look at him. I was not sure if we would meet the following day or ever again. But there he was, sitting on the divider, licking his wound. By day four, the pus had dried and bright red flesh was visible. Day six, the wound had totally dried up and in a couple of weeks he was able to keep his paw properly.

It was a work of patience, love and his faith in me. All that remained was his scar. Given his young age, the recovery was faster and good nutrition ensured a bit of a weight gain too from the once scrawny condition I had seen him in.

“You are Henry, you have a name and an identity.” But there was no tail wag, only hope in his eyes that he mattered to me.

What I had earned in that one month of bonding was Henry and me waiting to see each other bi-daily. The prospect of being hope in any life is a beautiful feeling. In that thick traffic, a dog with an elongated neck could be seen scouring the vehicles and his snout up in the air to catch my scent.

One morning in March 2011 I fed him in the morning and left for the college. However, when I returned at 5pm, he was not there. Come what may, Henry would wait for me. Something was not right. I rushed to ask the roadside vendors if they could tip me off with some information. I learned what I was just not prepared to listen. Sometime after he had food in the morning, he died on the spot after a violent hit. His mutilated body was removed (thrown, to be more precise) to the garbage bin and the cleaners had taken away his remains minutes before I reached. How worthless Henry was to the one who ran him down. A mere stray dog after all.

Does this sound familiar to people of my tribe who care for strays with all their heart, lose them in a jiffy, do not get to say even a goodbye, forget burial.

Daily, many animals like Henry get killed but there is no mortality data that is maintained. That is how irrelevant their existence is.

Does that pain you? To raise awareness and give room to compassion to include animals, when driving, write to to take part in the give animals a brake campaign.

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