FROM BOMBAY TO BRISTOL
By Julia Edwards
Due to my husband’s job, we were relocated to Mumbai between 2012 and 2014. One morning in November 2013, I told Paul I was off to support a local street dog welfare organisation by attending one of their ‘adoptathons’. Barely an hour later, I had returned to the apartment cuddling a little white and black spotted thing. We named our new, gorgeous three-month-old Indian Pariah puppy Bartlet or ‘Bartie’ for short.
Looking after a dog in Mumbai is no mean feat. There are virtually no decent open spaces in which to walk a dog, the streets are wonky and filled with noisy tuk-tuks, trucks and 23 million people. Bartie soon became very scared of the outside world and was relegated to doing his business in the corner of a spare bedroom. By that point and much to our relief, we had been told by Paul’s company that we were being returned to the UK. But that was to bring a whole other load of problems!
As soon as I knew we were coming back, I set to work getting the dog ready for ‘export’. Per the UK’s strict anti-rabies measures, this entailed micro-chipping, rabies jabs and blood testing – all done in a strict order. We would only be able to travel three months from the date of a successful anti-rabies blood test.
All was going great; our flights were booked, the travel-crate ordered and a pet export specialist engaged. That was, until a week before our flights when I took Bartie to the vets to get everything checked, only to find there was no trace of his microchip. At first we thought the vet’s scanner had run out of battery – so they recharged it and we returned 30 minutes later for a repeat scan. The microchip was still not registering. The vet (looking rather anxious himself,) then x-rayed Bartie to see if the chip had slipped to another part of his body. Still no sign.
I immediately made several phone calls to try and find another vet who had a scanner – after all, micro-chipping your dog in India is not the norm and only a very few vets have the facility. I eventually obtained a second opinion, but it was still bad news. Bartie’s microchip had evidently not been inserted property and had fallen out!
I had two options: go through the procedures all over again in India (which would take four months) – or fly him back to the UK and put him into quarantine. Well I certainly was not going to leave him in India.
We located a quarantine premises only 30 minutes away from our new home in Bristol. He would be taken directly from the plane in a sealed unit to the quarantine premises.
As soon as I arrived back in the UK, Paul picked me up from the airport and took me directly to the kennels to see Bartie. It looked like he had already settled in – jumping up in his usual excited manner as he saw us approaching his kennel. We sat with him on Ikea deckchairs in his sealed kennel for the 3-5pm visiting time. We came back every single Saturday and Sunday for the whole four months he was in there. We felt it was necessary to maintain our scent, to play with him and keep him company.
Although he was not allowed out for walks, he could peer through the mesh fence and observe the comings and goings of the kennels – he never felt alone. Every so often, there would be a new neighbour in the quarantine section, which would be terribly exciting.
It’s been two months since he left the kennels and although he had some dominance issues within the house, we have managed to iron those out and he is completely unchanged by the experience. He is now a happy, boisterous, friendly adolescent dog of 15 months. I am sure he cannot believe the wide, open spaces of Bristol and the wonderful twice-daily walks on Durdham Downs.
You can keep up to date with Bartie on his facebook page www.facebook.com/BombayBartlet