Appu and Appu II: Community dogs. Heart stealers.

When we moved to this apartment complex in early 2015, one of the main things that attracted us was how pet-friendly the environment seemed. Our landlord himself had a fifteen-year-old indie  girl and there were two dogs living in the parking lot of our block. At the time we moved in, the apartment was still under construction and not all the flats were occupied – this was ideal for us because now, B could bark away the day and there were no neighbours to complain! So we accepted the general lack of amenities such as a working lift, power backup, a paved walkway and parking area, gym and pool, and settled down happily.

Today, the two parking lot boys have become community dogs, accepted by almost all the residents. We’ve put reflective collars on them so that vehicles coming in at night know where they’re sleeping. We feed them chicken and rice 4-5 nights a week and refill their water bowls. From telling us to get rid of the dogs and complaining of how dangerous they are (they truly aren’t – they are calm, mature boys who leave the residents and playing children well alone), people have started leaving rotis and bread and leftover rice in their bowls. It makes us ridiculously happy to see other residents being nice to Appu and Appu II. And when we travel, the team of watchmen downstairs feed these guys and generally keep an eye on them.

Yet, despite all these measures, we’ve had some near misses. Appu being a stubborn old mule used to insist on sleeping in the middle of the driveway, exactly in the path of oncoming cars. Despite the number of times the watchmen and we tried to get him to move to a side, he kept going back to the same spot, until one day, he got his paw injured by a car whose driver didn’t see him spot him. Now he sleeps a little to the side, next to where the watchmen sit.

No sooner had we heaved a sigh of relief than Appu II, for some ridiculous, unknown reason, started to sleep just outside the gate, pressed against it. Again, we tried to get him to come inside to a warmer, more secluded spot, but to no avail. Then the day before yesterday, one of the newer watchmen, in his haste to open the gate, pulled it with a little too much force and Appu II’s paw got in the way. Thankfully, he just lost one of his nails, but the poor guy is traumatized and is still limping. He won’t let us examine the paw, but there’s no swelling or bleeding and he is putting it down more often as he walks.

The best part though? He has started sleeping inside, near one of the pillars, far away from the gate. Hallelujah for small mercies!

Sometimes I break into a cold sweat, wondering what I will do if we ever have to move out. What will happen to my boys? As streeties, they can never adjust to life inside an apartment – especially one with two dogs already. Moreover, they are highly independent and territorial and it would be criminal to confine them to a small space. But if we leave them behind, will they still be well looked after? Will they be okay without us?

I don’t have any answers – for now, all we can do is keep caring for them, feeding them, and praying real hard that the day we have to part is far, far away.

[As I write this, I feel ashamed that I have no good pictures of Appu and Appu II to put on this blog – just a couple we took at night to test their reflective collars. I will redress the situation soon by clicking my adorable boys and putting them up here.]

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