VOSD RESCUE STORIES
Badi Shilpi, a rescued Pakistani Bully Mastiff
Badi Shilpi, a rescued Pakistani Bully Mastiff
A Pakistani Bully Kutta was rescued in NCR in 2010 likely from a fighting ring. Pakistani Bulli’s are closely related or inseparable from the Sindh Mastiff and the Alangu Mastiff’s are very large short-coated dogs that have traditionally been bred as fighting dogs. These fights – illegal but commonplace even today in Punjab are large community affairs with open betting on dogs. A Pakistani Mastiff has a genetic memory of jumping another dog from the top rear quarter of a dog to get a grip of the rear end of the skull and crush and shake it at the same time. A full grown dog on its hind legs towers over a man, and has a face bigger than a man’s. VOSD has 4 rescued Pakistani Mastiffs so we know something about their behaviour.
This particular dog was rescued with police help and moved to a shelter in Delhi. The dog was highly unpredictable and therefore not many handlers would go to the dog. The dog came down to a weight of less than 20kg’s and was dying from tick fever. The surprise is the rescue system not just in India but worldwide most of the time dogs need to be rescued from a shelter where they have been brought after they are rescued!
A few volunteers brought this dog out and called her Shilpi. She was put on medication for tick fever and she survived and was with a foster. Her unpredictable behaviour was still that. Nobody would adopt a dog like that and after trying for many months to get her adopted and failing and with no option the shelters decided to put her down. At this time, a gentleman reached out to VOSD for Shilpi.
VOSD is something of an outlier – we do not conform to the traditional model of rescue and rehab or anything that most organizations do. This causes a great deal of friction. It is not helped by the no-nonsense nature of the person who founded VOSD. The gentleman who reached out for the Shilpi was someone who and VOSD had not much to say to each other. But VOSD is about dogs not about people. We will take dogs that nobody will take – most of the time these are difficult cases, their upkeep is very complex and expensive, and they are not the glamorous breeds many rescues and adoption agencies revel in. Shilpi had our name written all over her. We immediately decided to take the dog.
The first hurdle was transport. No cabs were ready to drive her to Bangalore. No handlers will bring her on the train – where they have to be brought out and walked to relieve them etc. Only full-service airlines will fly a dog – but none of them will fly what they deem dangerous dogs. The volunteer rescuers got the paperwork done and brought her to the flight she was booked. All her papers were in order, but the airline refused to board – this was 4AM in the morning for the 6AM flight. Shilpi went back to the foster and her future looked dimmer than before.
VOSD decided to get her papers made as a mongrel not a Pakistani Bulli. After 2 days with the new papers Shilipi made the afternoon flight and arrived late at night. Her crate was the largest crate that could be procured. She arrived after regular office hours and was at the warehouse our pickup was waiting for. But no airport crew was wanting to touch the crate or a large snarling dog which had a face bigger than a rottweiler. It took a lot of effort to convince them to pick up the crate on the assurance that they could unlock her from the inside. The crate was loaded on the pickup and reached the VOSD Sanctuary & Hospital 50km and an hour later.
The crate was unloaded but nobody dared to open the crate to take her to a kennel. It was a cool night so Rakesh Shukla, Founder VOSD, asked the staff to let her be in the crate till he arrived. He reached the next morning. She has not piss-ed or poo-ed since boarding the flight. Shilpi has large brooding eyes – almost like she is not looking at you. Her mouth is massive. When she gets angry her eyes turn black – her hair is standing up. She is unlike any rottweiler or pitbull that came here. But looking at Rakesh she was not like that – her head was to one side. Her tail was still and she had a low growl more like a meow. She has been defending herself for years and Rakesh has had many dangers thrown at him through his life – but they both knew it was not from each other. Rakesh dropped to his knees to unlock her crate. The whole team at VOSD that had gathered stepped back at the horror of no leash either in Rakesh’s hand or on her neck in the crate. She was already turning in circles and meowing like a cat and flew out as soon as the crate opened. But she did not run. Rakesh stood up and she stood up on her hind legs – opened her jaw and closed it gently on his head – like a tigress with her pups. For the next few minutes Rakesh was slathered in dog saliva. For a man who tasted more dog saliva than anyone he knows – this was still a LOT. Then she turned and followed him like she has lived with him all her life.
She is still unpredictable and can snap a neck in a bite – if you try to approach Rakesh without his calling her in a calm voice. She growls at but will not attack a dog. Unless someone is playing rough with another Pakistani Mastiff pup called Mini Shilpi who was brought in from Ambala, Punjab. There is an inexplicable bond between them just like they have with Rakesh. Badi Shilpi will attack anything that troubles Mini Shilpi. No amount of conditioning can erase that genetic memory. Over the next year 2 more Pakistani Mastiffs came – with equally troubled backgrounds, and equally loving – they are called Choti Shilpi & Nayi Shilpi. For as long as VOSD exists no dog has to die because it was ‘aggressive’. We have almost never had a truly aggressive dog – only people who could not understand the dogs and that breakdown in communication meant the dog turned out to be the way they did. We also have no real program to train any dog to be less aggressive after they come. Just being with them they turn out to be normal 100% of the time, some in 2 hrs some in 6 months. But they all do.