Give Bhaloo a fresh lease of life

Bhaloo – a young Bhotia dog living in the remotest parts of the Himalayas – comes from a long line of working dogs whose job is to herd goats; and that is how he got into trouble.

Bhaloo was seriously injured when he challenged a bear who was attacking his flock. The bear swiped Bhaloo across the face, his claws leaving a deep hole in the dog's forehead.

As there are zero medical facilities in remote areas, he received only the minimal care from the villagers and the wound soon developed maggots.

The villagers tried to treat him using local remedies which would have been painful and made matters worse. The maggots disappeared but the wound didn't heal and the monsoon made things worse.

A small group of trekkers saw him and were extremely moved by his condition. Luckily for him, one of the trekkers was Vasundhara Shokeen, a team member and volunteer at Fauna Police who contacted Abhinav Srihan in Delhi to get some help. Two days later, after mobilising help and support from rescuers and transporters in Chandigarh and Himachal, a team left to get help to Bhaloo. When they reached Punjab, Prapti Bajaj arranged a catcher and drive, and Pankaj Arora of Guardians of Voiceless, very kindly volunteered his vehicle to help get them to the village where Bhaloo was spotted. After an overnight journey, and a three kilometers trek up the hill, the team started making enquiries about the dog. They had no luck spotting him all day, but frequent sightings by villagers confirmed that the dog was still alive. Towards the evening, while taking a small tea break and planning their next move, the team spotted Bhaloo and knew they had to act fast – his wounds were worse than they anticipated. He had a thick stream of pus flowing out of his head and was weak.

A short chase later, Bhaloo ran into a villager's house which made it easy for Abhinav to get the catcher around his neck. But Bhaloo was too weak and tired to put up a fight and so he surrendered. Getting him down the steep hill was the next challenge.

After almost an hour of slipping and falling on a very precarious path, they made it to the vehicle. Knowing that Bhaloo would not survive a shelter with the weather conditions being as muggy as it was, Abhinav decided to bring him to Delhi and keep him in an air-conditioned room while he got the treatment he required. It was already 2 am when they reached Chandigarh, their driver helped make arrangements for another taxi from Chandigarh to Delhi. The amazing and heartwarming thing was that both the drivers did not object or complain about the foul smell and oozing blood and pus, (anyone who has handled a maggot or putrefying wound will know how bad the stench can be). After a long and uncomfortable drive, Bhaloo reached Delhi.

He is being treated by Dr Satbir Josan and has a lot of scar tissue built up along his nasal passages from the prolonged and repeated infection and will have lifelong trouble breathing. His wounds will take many weeks to heal and his weakened immune system will need much help to get back this old self.

As per the recent diagnostic reports, Bhaloo has developed a round cell tumor most likely of histiocytic origin with secondary suppurative inflammation. But Bhaloo is stoic – taking it all like a boss – no screaming and struggling.

As for now, Fauna police is looking for all possible assistance – financial aid as well as help from the best veterinarians of the country, in giving Bhaloo a new lease of life.

(To help Bhaloo recover, you can contact Abhinav Srihan at Contact Number: 9212111116 )

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