When abortion is a painfully good choice

Today was one of the toughest days of my life. It was mentally exhausting.

A lady said to me, “These dogs are giving us a chance to undo our sins by helping them out.”

By “helping them out,” she meant neutering or spaying them so that they can’t have babies.

I stood there wondering, “Am I really wiping off a sin or committing another one?”

Things got much harder when the veterinary doctor came to me and said that Puppy was pregnant. It wasn’t just spaying now. It was abortion.

Puppy and me
Puppy and me

This is how it all happened. Around a month ago, a female Puppy that lived outside my house got into her heat cycle. When female dogs are in their heat cycle, they attract males from miles away. It was a terrible sight to watch the male dogs mount themselves on her, whether she liked it or not. She couldn’t sleep at all because male dogs just lined up to mate with her.

I don’t know whether I was doing the right thing, but I brought Puppy inside two days after her heat cycle began. I kept her in my house, taking her for walks four times a day so that she could still play with her friend, Piccolo. Piccolo is another male dog in the area, who dotes on Puppy. Even now, he comes like a bodyguard with Puppy and me when we go for our walks.

For a few days, she didn’t like being inside. She wanted to be outside with her friends. But I made her sleep in my room, bought her a few toys to chew on, played with her every evening after work and promised to let her out after we operate her.

I could get her operated only after her heat cycle, which lasts around 45 days. I waited and waited, and thinking it was over by now, I took her to the vet today.

The doctor called me in after the operation and showed me the six half-grown foetuses he had just removed from her. They were strung together with the placenta. They looked like tiny balloons. In 15 days, he said, Puppy would have littered.

Who would take care of them if they were born? I don’t have the capacity to take care of seven dogs. I can’t even keep one.
I wouldn’t have the heart to separate Puppy from her babies and give them up for adoption.
There are more than 10 rogue dogs around the area that I wouldn’t trust to let the puppies live on the streets.
If they did, who would feed them all after they’ve grown?
Moreover, Puppy is still only around 9 months old. Would she survive childbirth? 

My mind was teeming with all these questions. In fact, these questions were what helped me justify my decision to get her spayed.

It wasn’t a decision I made easily. I’d been reading about it every single day for over a month. Most articles I read online told me to spay her. Not trusting the internet, I asked my friends. My two most favourite people, Rahul and Nuvena, were dead against it. And I almost always take their opinions seriously.

You do not have a right over Puppy’s life and her puppies’ lives. You cannot take away her right to be a mother!

Conversation with didi
Conversation with didi

These were the lines thrown at me by them, and by my own mind. Just to make sure I spoke to the person most concerned about animals, I contacted my cousin, Kavitha didi. She has dedicated her whole life to animals, fighting for their rights. She has been a vegan for over 20 years now and is a role model to me. Her opinion was what would convince me, if anything.

So i took her advice and went to the vet. When the doctor told me she was pregnant, I was doubly torn. Will Puppy know what I’ve done to her? Will she ever forgive me? Will she go into depression? How can I do such a terrible thing to her? She would have been a loving mom. If I put myself in her place, I’d be furious.

I asked the doctor all these questions. He tried to convince me saying I was doing a good deed by sterilising six more dogs. He said birth control is the need of the hour.

Well, thinking practically, it makes sense to get street dogs spayed. It’s not easy to take care of them in this hostile urban world. Not many people like street dogs. Besides, I’ve always been pro-choice. Nip it in the bud before it grows up without love and care is what I believe. But when you aren’t making the decision for yourself, it isn’t that easy.

My mind asked me, “Why are you thinking practically when it comes to Puppy? You yourself aren’t always practical. If you were that practical in life, you’d have gone with the tide, done engineering and MBA and gotten a mainstream job and earned well. You wouldn’t have decided to be a writer. So why be practical in Puppy’s case?”

I still haven’t answered that question.

Puppy
Puppy

All I know is that it was the toughest day. Watching everything, right from Puppy getting anesthetised, to her dropping out of consciousness, my dad carrying her to the operation table, peeking into the window of the operation room to see how it was going, everything was a huge struggle. During the 10 minute operation, my dad and I were constantly pacing up and down, exactly like they show in movies. I couldn’t keep my voice stable. There was a point when  I broke down because I couldn’t take it anymore. My dad and I were equally concerned about Puppy and trying in vain to convince each other that she’ll be fine.

The most heart-wrenching moment for me was when she was still lying unconscious at home. She couldn’t move, not her eyes, not her ears, not anything. She lay there, limp, with her tongue sticking out. I sat next to her and said, “Puppy, I’m sorry.” And I was shocked to see her tail wag just hearing my voice.

Sigh.

Someone said that Puppy has the deepest trust in me because she knows I won’t let anything bad happen to her.

I hope that still holds good.

To all those of you planning to get your dogs neutered/spayed, I wish you good luck.

IMG_1332
Dad and Puppy

Special thanks to my dad, who has been with me throughout my time with Puppy, advising me what to do and taking care of her all day himself. I’d never be able to handle Puppy without him. Heck I wouldn’t even love dogs this much if not for him. So thank you appa! And to my mom, who takes care of Puppy and ensures she feeds her, even if she has to sacrifice her own curd rice. A hug from her after the operation was all I needed to calm me down a bit.

Also, a lovely and selfless lady called Geeta Mishra helped me incredibly in getting Puppy spayed. If you guys know stray dogs around your house that need to be neutered, do feel free to contact me. I’ll put you through to her.

Thank you for sticking around till the end of this post.

 

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4 thoughts on “When abortion is a painfully good choice

  1. I’ve always thought about this, and even with pets. The first step seems to be to get them sterilised. On the other hand are the people who breed dogs just for money. Sigh, cruel world, tough decisions. Great post, and good job Swa! Your dad has nice locks by the way :) say hi to puppy for me!

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  2. I have two female Indie dogs and I spayed both of them. It was easily the most difficult decision in my adult life. But if like me you have seen dead puppies, you will wake up. If thats not enough, there are people who are not even adopting female dogs as they dont want to sin by neutering them but they are ok with them living in the streets. Its a very tough decision, but until there are no strays, a very necessary one. :( It was sad that you had to see the foetuses, but think of the many pups those pups would have had and how many lives would have gone to waste after they were born. Good luck with your dog.

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  3. I know its hard but it is very important that we take the initiative and help them out. They cannot do it themselves. They cannot decide if they want to have babies or not. They just go with what instinct tells them. But for their good, we need to help them out. Puppy will remain a puppy for all her life now. She thankfully never has to worry about anyone else or anything else apart from herself.

    I experience the same thing when I took my cat Whiskey for her spaying. Whiskey came to my life all of a sudden. She came outside my house one day and I noticed that she was heavily pregnant so I gave her a piece of chicken and she hissed at me and took it and ran. She came back for one more, after a while, and repeated the same process. Hissed at me, took the piece and ran. Two days later I go into our spare room to clean it up and I opened the cupboard, just to put in a hanger, and I left it open and continued to clean the room. I had a strange feeling because I felt like something was watching me. I turned to my left and I see two eyes staring back at me, and so many kittens fast asleep. I freaked out and ran outside. It took me a minute to realize that I love animals and I reacted like an idiot. So I called up my boyfriend, Sunil (we were living in together at that time), and told him that there is this cat who has given birth in the lowest shelf of the cupboard. I go inside and peep into the cupboard and see that a cat has given birth in my house!!!! Lets keep in mind that although I love animals, I am extremely allergic to cats and their fur. So obviously I didn’t want to scare her or make her leave so I kept 3 bowls in front of the cupboard – one with chicken, one with milk and one with water. Even after I stopped eating meat, I would get her and the babies chicken because let be honest, I cant give her only vegetables. I didn’t know anything about cats because I have never had any. But I learnt. And shockingly, I wasn’t very allergic to Whiskey. I would scratch and sneeze once in a while but that’s all. She had 5 kittens and I brought another kitten, around the same age as her babies, home who was being chased my kids in the apartment we used to live in and she was a mother to him as well. We barely had enough money to eat but we always gave them the best. Whiskas, curd, eggs, chicken and drinking water (not tap water). So since I was still learning about cats I read a lot up and saw that soon after the kittens start walking, Whiskey would go on heat again. And since she was an outside inside cat, we couldn’t trap her for long. We decided to get her spayed.

    When we took her to the doc he injected her with anesthesia and told us that she is heavily pregnant. We sat and thought for a while and decided to take her back home because we didn’t want her to abort her babies. Keep in mind that we already had 7 cats at home including Whiskey. But the doc said that now that he has already injected her, if we decide to take her back, her babies will be deformed. We couldn’t have that, so we decided to go ahead with the surgery. Post surgery, I saw the babies. 7 of them in tiny sacks and in 2 weeks she would have given birth again.

    It was a difficult decision to make but we had to. We had no other option.

    Whiskey healed well and soon after we got all the little brats spayed and neutered because they don’t care about family relations. They will mate with each other and Corner (one of the male kittens) was hitting on his sister. They stayed with us for 11 months till they all found homes but of course we kept Whiskey. They will all get the privilege of being kittens all their life. And that makes me happy.

    Their stay with us really did take a toll on our pockets because I did not make much money at that time and Sunil was supporting all of us. Plus we adopted a dog as well, our baby Dolly (abused, starved and had babies with a street dog) :) But now that Sunil and I look back at those days, we cant imagine having it any other way.

    Whiskey has given us so much happiness and has made us laugh so much. She taught me a lot about cats and their psychology. Whiskey lived with us for a very short time (3 years). She had a genetic disease called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and apparently it would become fatal at some point in her life. And it did, a little too soon. She went through weeks of not feeling well and then weeks of being normal and then again downhill. Finally, we had to make the most difficult decision for her. To end her pain. On her last day, her back legs were paralyzed, she could barely breathe and was puking because her tummy was swelling up. The doc advised us to let her go. Which we finally had to do because she was really suffering. I cried for days and when I think or talk about her I still cry. Its not easy to be the decision maker for another life. But unfortunately we have to do it.

    Some decisions are easy – which food to buy?, which toys to get?, and such but the other life changing decisions are not easy to make. And like I said, someone has to for their own good. All these stories are shortened because if I write about Whiskey & Dolly, I may end up writing a book!

    What you did for Puppy is a good thing. She wont miss a thing. In fact you have given her an awesome life to live now. Be happy about that :) Post surgery care is difficult but its all worth it when you see her running around with her friends on the street, without a care in the world!!

    Give her a kiss from me! And write more about her :)

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  4. Just want to know what are some thing to do to help with doggie depression after spayed and babies aborted at the shelter.

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