Rani died yesterday. She had ascites which is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, a condition that I have not seen any dog come out of. She was admitted to the WSD kennels when someone called about a very fat dog with a very fat belly lying motionless near the Gateway of India. We instantly knew that it must be Rani.
We brought her, treated her and kept her for a month. It was amazing that she got better and went back to her home at the Gateway of India where she must have lived for over 13 years. I saw her a week back sitting near the police chowkie on the footpath next to the Taj Mahal Hotel. She recognized me, wagged her tail and made a few noises. I patted her and was happy that she was back to her normal self.
Fifteen days after she went back and a week after I saw her, the same condition recurred and she was again admitted to the WSD kennels two days ago but unfortunately did not make it.
Rani was a favorite with every one at the Gateway of India. All the policemen, the photographers, the Taj Mahal hotel staff, the street dwellers and urchins knew her as Julie.
I used to see her every year when we used to immunize all the dogs in Colaba and around the Gateway against rabies. She was quite boisterous and used to accompany us whilst we were vaccinating all her Gateway friends. It used to be as if she was either poking her nose at every vaccination or checking on what we are doing to her friends. Else I used to see her at the Gateway on my way to Elephanta or Alibag and she would always greet me with a nice wag.
She was not the same slim dog that you saw in the Cyrus poster and had put on quite a bit of weight. She used to look very roly poly. I had told Cyrus that both the models (him and Rani) had put on tremendous weight over the years.
As I reflected on Rani’s life, I realized that we have never had to treat her in her entire life for any ailment. This meant that she had lived a very healthy life and never had injuries, wounds and basic first aid ailments that most stray dogs suffer sometime in their life on the street.
I will really miss Rani when we go vaccinating dogs at the Gateway or on my next visit to Elephanta and Alibag. She was one of the sweetest and happiest strays I have ever known.