It started out as just another regular day, but I had no idea that day would change my life. I was travelling around Orisa with a friend of mine. We had hired a green auto to take us around. We wanted to get away from the hustle bustle of the city, we heard about a dam at the far end of town where the locals often go for picnics. That did seem like a good plan.


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We were off on this little green auto, on the bumpy roads and through unknown little villages. We arrived at the dam. It wasn’t anything exciting. But what caught my eye was this little puppy sitting alert and attentive. He looked at me with his soulful golden eyes. That moment I knew I just had to cuddle the tiny fellow. It’s not a common feeling, when you can almost sense your heart slowly melt. The puppy was well behaved, extremely lovable and very intelligent. He had very observant eyes, noticing everything around him.

I walked up to the guard nearby and asked about the pups whereabouts. He seemed to be very fond of the pup. Yet, he explained that the guards keep changing their hours of duty, often they keep getting transferred. This little pup was alone and he took shelter near the guard’s booth, as the bigger dogs did not trouble him. The picnic spot was still 4kms away and that’s where all the locals went, this was just an isolated checkpost with limited food available. With a slight hesitation, I could not help but take the little pup home. Once we put him in the auto, he sat comfortably cuddled next to me. I named him then, Leonidas; my Leo.

What is it like bringing up a rescued animal? I will tell you. It’s beautiful because it is sweetly painful. They will not trust you completely, you need earn it. These animals have witnessed real fear, life threatening fear. They were not always loved. They will be very skeptical of you initially of all the people around,but slowly you will see their love grow. The pup which once choose the dark isolated corner under your bed, will now wag his tail, jump on the bed and snuggle with you. That is the difference which you can sense.

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Day 1 : The first day I met Leo, he looked at me with his soulful golden eyes. That moment I knew I just had to cuddle the tiny fellow

The first night in the hotel, he found a quiet dark corner under the bed and slept off early. He did poop in the room and seemed embarrassed about it. But I knew this was the least to expect. Next night, I had a train booked back to Calcutta. I was nervous how I could manage to take Leo. It’s his first night in a very alien environment. Will he cry? Or will he bark? Will other passengers complain? Leo sat with me in the station. Once the train arrived I put him in this big jute bag and quickly boarded the midnight train. Luckily, the top berth was reserved for me. I opened the bag, Leo came out. I had the big black blanket held up. Leo looked around, got cozy and fell asleep in my arms.

There was a sense of sadness in Leo’s eyes. He was so gentle and lovable

1 month: Leo and I relaxing on the sofa. He sits by my side with his chicken toy while I watch movies

Bhavika, my best friend who has 3 rescued cats is also my neighbour. She loves Leo too. Three of us often go for evening walks together

4 months later: Currently Leo has become such a gentle, loving and beautiful dog

4 months: My mother was shocked and annoyed with me when I adopted Leo. But now she absolutely loves him and plays with him like her own son

4 months later: So sharp that one day my father, who is 93 years old, was unable to open a biscuit packet, he found scissors and brought it to me

Sharp and attentive. Barks with confidence at the first sign of threat

Take a leap of faith. And I promise you, that rescuing an animal will be far more satisfying than walking to a shop and buying a product

Now he believes he is a part of the family. It’s our home now.

The pet industry is approximately growing 4% every year. Is that a good thing? Absolutely not. We have made dogs into products. Where they are branded, a social status is attached to a dog.People in the hottest cities in India are keeping Siberian Huskies and Saint Bernards, in the hope to have a better social standing. So what we basically end up doing is,we are not only causing the suffering of bred dogs, but also letting thousands of Leos die. Find your own Leo, and let him who will show you the purity of love.