A Dog Named Neela

Dog Neela in the mountains

Neela. A dog like no other.

There have been many moments in life which we don’t understand. If it is something bad, we call it misfortune. If it is something good, we call it a miracle. I was lucky enough to hear about one such miracle. I was also fortunate to get to meet the protagonist in the story - a dog named Neela.

Christmas 2018

Stephanie, a German traveller visiting India and chilling by beach in Gokarna. The south can be a truly beautiful place but the sight that followed changed her life. A little puppy was attacked by a dog on the beach. The puppy yelped at first but then just sat still, not moving an inch. An animal lover, Steph ran to the puppy only to find her in a horrifying condition.

*Warning - graphic images ahead.

The big dog had bit the tiny pupper’s stomach and the damage was considerable. Steph found herself in a foreign land, not knowing the local language and with a badly injured puppy. She sought for help and got in touch with a doctor and a few shelters. All of them said she was “too far away” to help the dog. Not giving up hope, she took care of the puppy and continued to find a vet to treat her.

Neela with her injured stomach

The attack left the puppy in a terrible state.

Steph named the little girl Neela, a name as cute has hear ears. Steph and Neela finally found a vet to get her treated. Unfortunately, the vet just stitched up the open wound and said Neela would recover. After the surgery, things got worse and the wound became infected. She self treated Neela for a couple of weeks. Steph couldn’t find Neela’s mom and didn’t want to leave Neela by herself. So she decided to take her along in her journey.  

Neela's wooden cone

Steph took care of Neela, not leaving her side at all.

Travelling with a dog

As a solo traveller, the company of dogs is always a breath of fresh air. But how does she go about taking Neela along? I am Indian and even I don’t know if dogs can be taken along through public transport.

On a train journey from Varkala to Kochi, they faced a major obstacle - people. Fellow passengers started complaining about Neela’s presence. While Neela would have been the perfect guard for their compartment, the passengers saw the tiny puppy as a threat to their peace. When the train stopped at a station in between, Neela and Steph were kicked out. A solo international traveller, nursing an injured puppy was thrown out of a train at a random station.

By now, both of them were prepared to fight any obstacle that comes their way. German’s are known for their efficiency, but it still took a lot of courage to reach Mysore. Here, they managed to meet another vet, who understood the condition. It was evident that Neela won’t simply recover by a simple stitch up job. She needed help. Good help. Neela was operated in Mysore. Could she survive a long surgery? Her chances were slim and even the doctor wasn’t sure if she would make it.

She did.

Incredibly, Neela managed to pull through. After disciplined post op care by Steph, Neela started to get better, and happier. Steph had managed to save an injured stray from death, and nurture her back to good health.

Steph and Neela on the beach

Steph and Neela became the closest of friends.

The bond between them had become so strong that the Neela was going to be Steph’s companion throughout her travels. After realising that public transport might not be the best option, she decided to be creative. Steph signed up on a carpooling app and found travellers who were dog friendly. From Mysore, the duo made their way to Pune.

From Pune, they travelled to Mumbai. From Mumbai to Udaipur, where Steph volunteered at Animal Aid, an NGO that rescues animals. After a couple months in Udaipur, Steph and Neela travelled further north to Manali.

Steph nursing a cow

Steph volunteered at Animal Aid in Udaipur.

Puppy Neela with a cow

Neela is friendly with humans and cows!

Their journey so far has been incredible and inspiring. It just goes to show that no matter what you are up against, if you have love on your side, you can overcome all obstacles. And if you have a dog with you, you can just pee on the obstacle and move on to the next part of the journey.

Steph and Neela in the mountains

Steph and Neela enjoying the mountains


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