Laddu is always seen at every marathon, and is now famous in Mumbai.
Laddu holds a medal from winning two marathons that he had participated in. Aditya Natarajan, a gaming consultant who regularly feeds stray dogs at Worli Seaface, was receiving several calls about Laddu for a few days. One of the callers claimed that they had seen Laddu win an international marathon held by the Maharashtra Police.
Aditya rushed to the Gateway of India to verify the claim and saw his friend surrounded by a group of runners feeding him biscuits. Laddu even had a participation medal around his neck. Two human participants from the marathon, Robinson and Rahul, waited at the finish line along with Laddu for his friend Aditya to come and pick him up. They remembered seeing Laddu running along with the other runners for over 11km. He kept a safe distance from people and did not bother anyone. Robinson and Rahul noticed a belt around the dog’s neck with a name and number on it and decided to call Aditya.
A video posted on Facebook by the Maharashtra Police shows Laddu cross the finish line amid cheers and applause from participants and onlookers. Robinson and Rahul kept feeding Laddu so that he wouldn’t run away from them.
Laddu was experienced at running a marathon.
This was not Laddu’s first sprint. He had run another marathon two months before this in the same area. When Aditya had not seen Laddu for a few days in his territory, he sent out a message on Instagram asking for help. Aditya had been feeding Laddu for a few months and had formed a wonderful bond with the stray dog.
Help from the community.
Aditya reached out to well known social media influencers like Ayesha Billimoria, Scherezade Shroff Talwar, Mishti, and Sahil Shah, all of whom helpfully brought attention to the issue. Soon, his Instagram inbox was flooded with pictures of Laddu sent by many participants from the marathon. Many people claimed to have seen him too. Within hours, all of South Mumbai was looking for Laddu.
Laddu’s marathon dreams grow.
Laddu was soon part of the official video of the marathon by Tata Group, running with fellow participants on Peddar Road. Laddu is now famous and a well known member of the South Mumbai community. People take pictures with him when they spot him at his favourite haunts. It was nice to see how the community came together to find their friend.
Get to know the strays.
Stray dogs are our friends, and some like to run marathons, and some like to hang out with people. Some like to play with children and some like to protect you when you walk home alone at night. Make friends with a stray! You can learn more about what you can do here.