I believe that in the heart of every child who has not been conditioned by adult prejudice, there is a deep love for all living forms – it stems from the fascination that every child has for all life. As we grow up, some of us retain that love, some suppress it, and some, sadly, convert it to distaste or even hate.

I also believe that when we retain that love and express it, we enrich our lives beyond measure.

For street dogs who face so much of hatred and violence, such love gets expressed in the form of animal angels. We read of them in the news, hear of them from others, even see them: feeding strays, getting their wounds cleaned, calling and paying vets to take care of their needs, and occasionally finding a loving shelter for them. I am blessed with many such Animal Angel Friends and one of them is Muriella, from whom the following story comes. It is almost verbatim. May the story touch you as much as it did me.

“Hi, how are you? You must be enjoying winter in Kalyan; I am sure it will get even colder as the days pass

I wanted to introduce you to my new daughters.

Both were my roadies for almost two years. Then on 7 August, I noticed Hannah (used to call her Blake that time) could not use her hind limbs. We took her to the hospital at Turbhe and they said she was paralysed, but they worked on her and thanks to their efforts and a lot of friends praying for her, she recovered and began walking again. I brought her back on 21 August and was trying desperately to find a home for her but nothing worked. I had to leave her on the street opposite my house. However that night when Fraser (my husband) returned from work, he found her in our lobby! He took her out, and gave her biscuits. Next day,I was going to Church in the morning, heard some whining, and guess who was in the landing? I just felt strongly she needed to be with us, so brought her home.

Stella, poor girl, used to roam around in the garden next to my building. However we have some rather mean characters who were ill-treating her when the gardeners (who would watch out for her) were not around. On 24 August, I found her shivering at my gate and gave her food. I felt very sad, but just could not take her. After all, I already had FOUR dogs at home! Then that night, when I took Lucy for her walk, Stella came along, and when we were getting into our society she had such a sad look on her face, that I brought her home too.

So in one week, two newbies joined our gang.

I must share a beautiful incident that happened when Stella was still on the road. One night when Fraser and Lucy returned from their walk, Fraser told me about a poor dog with a bad wound on his ear lying near the garden and said to call IDA. So I went to check and right enough, as I was walking towards that place, the poor thing crossed the road and went to the creek side. I could smell the wound from a distance of nearly 5-7 feet!

So I called IDA and waited. It was 11:30pm. Stella, out of nowhere, came and sat with me till the ambulance came, took that dog away, and then, she dropped me till the gate of my society and went off after I was safely inside.

I was always sad for her and hoped to find a nice home for her….but it’s amazing how things work. Even with Blake (Hannah). I would often tell her, you pray and tell God to help us get some land and then we will take you and all your friends and keep you all there and no one will ever harass you again….and well….somehow she too landed up!

Fraser would always tell me after we got 3….no more till we have a bungalow and land…..but somehow with these two he felt sad and relented….and I marvelled thinking, sometimes, God does not expand your land or give you a bigger house; He just enlarges your heart.”

Muriella and Fraser, Animal Angels, take care of five dogs now: Donnabelle, Lucy, Gabriel, Hannah, and Stella. And this is just at home! They care for street dogs too, ensure they are protected from human bullies, call the vet when needed, feed them, and at times have even stood up to thugs for the dogs’ sake.

As Muriella puts it: we don’t need larger lands or houses; we just need larger hearts, ones that we were born with. And when we give that deep love to animals, truly, our lives are blessed beyond measure.

Suren Abreu