Puppy Power: Rescuing Four Adorable Sisters

I have five shadows. My own and four named Malika, Bindi, Mala, and Kali. The four new members of the spice farm are some hairy girls but they’re still goddamn cute…because they’re puppies! Sixteen little paws, four wagging tails, and eight eyes with expressions that can melt your heart follow me around wherever I go like ducklings following mama duck.

The four sisters have taken quickly to life on the farm, playing tug of war with coconut husks and chewing on vanilla plants. And who can blame them? It’s a perfect location for the sisters to stay together and live outside as nature intended. They aren’t bound by concrete or restricted by leashes but surrounded by vibrant, thriving forest. A far cry from their living situation when they were found.

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Our friend Alex discovered the puppies abandoned in a box on the side of the road by the village north of Agonda Beach. There were originally at least five pups, one had escaped the box and was hit by a car and there was no sign of the mother. Alex has been working with snakes and other animals since he was eight. When he mentioned he was looking for a rescue home for the little ones, Sid volunteered to give them a new home and the chance for a much better life than trying to survive as strays or be separated from one another.

And they are indeed inseparable. After some rambunctious play time it’s a massive cuddle puddle. One will lay down to rest its weary head. Then the next will puts its head on the other’s neck or back. The process isn’t complete until all four puppies are asleep on top of one another, their tiny bodies rising and falling with each breath.

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They have pretty free range of the farm during the day and have a new house built by one of the farm workers, Dilkush, to sleep in at night. It’s imperative they have an enclosure at night because they would be easy prey for the rare roaming leopards or tigers (a few months ago a leopard took down a baby horse near Agonda beach, and leopards are more prevalent out here in this area of the jungle. Four small dogs in the surrounding area have become snacks for a local adolescent tiger as well). They seem to be growing each day and are certainly ballsy, even scaring off the two other resident dogs of the farm, Chikoo and Follow. Hopefully they’ll become friends soon and learn the laws of the land from their older fellow felines, otherwise they might learn why you don’t pick a fight with someone four times your size.

Every now and then one of the puppies will be missing in action and I’ll spot a wagging tail extending from the underbrush. A closer inspection will reveal a pup with its body close to the ground in stalking mode, waiting for a sister to ambush. And then its an exuberant tackle, some tumbling and nipping at one another, until all four join the ruckus with abandon. They all go bananas for coconut as well. Bouts of tug of war with the coconut husks often leads to further rounds of wrestling and ambushing.

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Occasionally wrestling will turn into a battle for dominance. Contrary to what you might think it is much harder to raise siblings, especially of the same gender, as they contest for their roles in the pack. Just like all siblings they get into arguments, but are quick to forget when it’s time for the next cuddle puddle to form. And just like almost all puppies they hate being bathed, preferring to emanate the smell of a barn to that of a fresh garden.

The puppies actually reinforce some yoga principles, serving as a constant reminder to be mindful. With each step they dart in between my feet, forcing me to be extra aware of what I’m doing. And I have to be patient when they deliberately dig into the trash no matter how many times I tell them ‘Nahin!‘, proudly parading off with a used tissue or someone’s sandal as I give chase. When it’s time for me to leave India this year it will be the ultimate test of non-attachment.

But until that day comes I’m going to soak up the joyful energy of these playful pups.

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