Frisky Trusted Humans To Death

By Gajanan Khergamker

Around the time, I found a ‘kidnapped’ Frisky at Cuffe Parade, a couple of kilometres away from his home at Third Pasta Lane in Colaba from where he had allegedly been whisked away by a resident taxi-driver allegedly ‘scratched’ during a scuffle in a drunken state with the stray, another dog gave birth to a pack of five pups near the Dadar beach.


The five pups huddled together were the cynosure of all eyes. With each passing day, the pack was left with one less. Some morning walker would pick up a pup of choice and take it…to its new home. And that continued till, one fine day, just one was left back.
It had a terrible skin infection and had developed mange – a mite-infestation – that left him looking shaggy and unclean. He wasn’t exactly the prettiest in that state and few were inclined to take him home: at least, not looking like that. And then, it began to rain!
When it looked like the pup would simply die without anyone to care for it, a chaiwala chap took over. Tending for him in his own little way, the boy would feed him, dry him and share with him whatever he could despite severe protests from others. During those days, a resident home-maker and dog-lover too would drop by to see the pup. And then, as fate would have it, the chaiwala had to leave for his village and couldn’t tend to the pup any longer. So, he left it in the care of the home-maker.

The home-maker too couldn’t keep the pup with her for personal reasons and the pup would just have to find a new home. She took the pup to an adoption camp for strays. While several strays were picked up by ‘new owners’, the pup fraught with a skin ailment sat sulking by itself in the lady’s arms. As the day ended, most had been adopted leaving behind the pup in question.

Unable to find a home for it, the homemaker took the pup to her own home, albeit for a while. After getting it successfully treated for mange and the odd itch that he picked up on the beach and getting it inoculated for Rabies, Parvo and the works, she named him Raja.


Concurrently, back in Colaba, when Frisky returned to the lane in early April, he went rushing off in his signature sway to the very man who had displaced him from his home and threatened to poison him if he returned. Wagging his tail as if he met a long lost friend, Frisky held no grudges. And like every other stray, Frisky moved back to his home, loving one and all.

My unflinching faith in the inherent goodness of humans had then urged me against making a police complaint. I wanted the miscreant who had attempted to rid the lane of Frisky to realise the futility of his action. Any penal action would only rub him the wrong way and defeat the purpose probably also spur him into probably poisoning the animal in vengeance.

But, when I felt that all had been resolved and relegated to the past, on an early morning of June 8th, I received a call that Frisky had died. I found Frisky’s body – stiff and lifeless on the pavement he lived his entire life – the very place from where he had earlier been forcibly taken away – right below the residence of the same taxi-driver who had threatened to poison him to death.

Despite fervent attempts by motivated persons to whisk his lifeless body away through BMC sweepers – an act illegal in itself – I manage to ensure that his body wasn’t displaced from the spot not till the police did a panchnama. Frisky’s body was taken in for a postmortem.

I suspected Frisky had been poisoned and with every good reason. There had even been a clear and imminent threat to do so. Till 3 am, he was seen fine by residents even captured through CCTV cameras in the area and a few hours later, he was found dead. He had apparently been vomiting violently in the building adjoining the pavement…the very building housing the taxi-driver who had openly threatened to eliminate him.

The local police are being urged to rush through the investigations but continue to predictably drag their feet. They refuse to cooperate. As I attempt to get to the bottom of things awaiting the results of forensic examination of his viscera, dog lovers in the area remain in shock. For days on end, I struggled to figure how could anyone do such a sneaky thing like this to an animal? My faith in humanity had taken a huge blow.


Cut to Shivaji Park where Raja’s caretaker, once through with the procedural inoculations, needed to urgently find a home for Raja. I suggested she meet a Fort-based taxi-driver Rakesh – a simple man who loved strays to the point of insanity. He’d call me every other week with a query on some stray’s condition and ask for help for its treatment. I’d guide him to the nearest activist and vet for therapy.

Rakesh had, six months back, lost Chini – another pup who died suddenly in a similar condition - and was left distraught. I felt that a pet would do good to both so put Raja’s caretaker across to Rakesh.

Today, Raja has found a new home at Fort and a brand new loving owner in Rakesh who just can’t stop beaming with joy. Cooing over his latest, Rakesh spends all of his earnings through his taxi on Raja – his bachcha – as he puts it. “Isko toh bohut sambhalke rakhoonga…apni jaan se bhi jyada,” vows Rakesh.

And then, I figured: All is not lost. The sorts of the chaiwala, the home-maker and taxi-driver Rakesh who do everything possible for that unknown stray reaffirm my plummeting faith in humanity.


Frisky, on his part, won. Till his death, he trusted like no human ever could. It was a breach of that very trust that did him in. And, in the process, Frisky only stood stronger…winning all the way.