On February 25, local residents of Marve found a two-year-old pomeranian tethered to a shanty. Tied to the dog’s neck, a handwritten note in Marathi read: “This mute creature’s name is Sweety. We will be grateful to whoever takes care of her. We are leaving her because of personal reasons. We hope god will forgive us!”
Ashwin Pandey, a local resident, discovered the abandoned animal, mouth covered with a muzzle and cornered by stray dogs. He contacted a number of organisations that rescue abandoned animals and was directed to Rutu Sheth-Naik, an animal activist and pet grooming store owner. “Sweety was very scared and did not allow anyone to come near her. She was starving and was also traumatised after being abandoned,” recalled Sheth-Naik, who reached there after getting a call from Pandey.
She was reluctant to leave Sweety on the street but Sheth-Naik failed to make much headway, despite her repeated attempts. But just as she began to walk back to her car, Sweety started followed her. Back home, things did not improve much as Sweety did not warm up to Sheth-Naik. “She lied in the corner, refused to have even a morsel of food and used to start growling whenever anybody approached her. I left her some milk, which she drank,” said Sheth-Naik.
Things began to brighten up the next day when she took Sweety to work. Also, after some coaxing, Sweety allowed Sheth-Naik to give her a bath. For the next few days, Sheth-Naik spread the word among her friends and others who were looking to adopt a dog. “Initially, we tried a foster home but that did not work out. Sweety did not adjust there,” she said.
It was then that Sheth-Naik’s friend Arpita Majumder voiced her interest in adopting Sweety. “I wasn’t sure initially because Arpita had given an Indie (Indian street dog) to a farm because the dog had grown too big. But she came home and spent a few hours with Sweety and later told me that she would take her home in a week,” added Sheth-Naik.
Thane resident Majumder, 48, said that she then started to befriend Sweety. “I had to give away Dipsy, my indie, because she is larger than an average Indian street dog and wasn’t adjusting well with my other pomeranian, Diana. So, Sweety has been a godsend,” she said.
Majumder, who heads the audit department at a city-based infrastructure giant, Afcons Infrastructure Ltd., added that Sweety had adjusted well in the two months that she had been staying with her. “Sweety has been very well trained by her previous owners. Initially, she had some skin problems. But now it has cured and her fur is smooth,” she said.
It took a few weeks for Sweety to call the new address her home. Majumder said that she had even tried to run away on one occasion. “In the first few days she was very upset. Now, Diana and she are the best of friends,” she said.