Idly, the dog, goes to America

She has traveled a long way since being found as a little black and white bundle in the middle of 100 Foot Road in Indiranagar. She could have easily been run over as the traffic was typical. She was alone – with no sign of a mum or other pups – just her – very afraid, and a dirty mess. I jumped out of my car and put her into a paper bag. She was little – less than 1kg.

I called Amit to tell him that I was "bringing someone home for lunch" and he knew immediately that I was talking about a dog. He asked me, "Just one?" – afraid that I had befriended an entire litter.

Veterinarian, Dr T L P Naik told us the pup was about five weeks old and that her eyes had just opened. He gave her the appropriate vaccinations and suggested ways to care for her as she settled into the rhythm of our life.

We named this little female puppy Idly.

Tracy Ann Curtis, Amit with Idly, the dog. Pic courtesy: Tracy Ann Curtis

It’s been a long journey from 100 Foot Road. Today Idly is in America, she went there in late June this year. She is there until New Year.

Her first flight was from Bangalore to San Francisco via Frankfurt. She landed safely after being in cargo for over 28 hours. Upon landing into California she immediately visited friends in Half Moon Bay. She then visited the vineyards in Napa Valley, and the beaches in Carmel. She also spent American Independence Day, The Fourth of July, at the Westin Hotel – where upon arrival, they offered her a down-feather dog bed and dog treats. People approach us about Idly all the time, commenting on what a well behaved dog she is, the curl in her tail, her long lean body, and her "border collie-like markings – and asking us about her breed. We proudly say she is an Indian Hound.

Idly’s second flight was on July 6th from San Francisco to Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii where she spent the summer and resides currently.

Since arriving in America, Idly’s been chilling out, curious and the ultimate easy-going vacationer. While she misses her walks with Rajang and her home cooked meals by Esther, she has been having fun exploring the beaches and hiking trails of the North Shore of Kauai.

Traveling to America took planning and organization. Idly had a number of health checks, and given that the state of Hawaii is rabies-free, she had to pass a Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralization (FAVN) test, which measures the response of an animal’s immune system to the rabies vaccine. This FAVN test is required by rabies-free regions in order for dogs (and cats) to qualify for entry into rabies-free states, countries and/or regions. It’s truly a miracle that Idly passed all of these tests given her unchartered history as an Indian street dog.

Fortunately, she was released at the airport as a healthy Kauai canine visitor.
We have had many breed dogs and we agree that none have been so adaptable, easy going and clever as Idly. She is adorable, playful, healthy and sporty. She can figure things out and anticipate situations (although we doubt she knew what was happening when she boarded her first flight), which means she also keeps us alert and challenged.

Given that Idly spent the first weeks of her life on the streets, she was initially a bit more nervous than other dogs, but after lots of affection in India and her first visit to America, she is learning how to trust and adapt. Skills essential for all of us.

We greatly appreciate one of Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quotes: "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated".

How animals are treated, is up to each one of us and we are happy that there are many organizations in Bangalore like CUPA, and people like Dr. Naik, who are committed to positively address the street dog menace. Adopting Idly was a simple act that has made us smile and laugh each and every day. She reminds us how to play, be grateful, adapt and trust.

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