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This injured canine has made hospital its home

P. T. Jyothi Datta
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Sheru was wounded in the shoulder during the 26/11 terror attacks in
Mumbai. —Lyla Bavadam
Sheru was wounded in the shoulder during the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai. —Lyla Bavadam

A photographer took a bleeding, traumatised Sheru to the hospital

He sits watching people pass by, the maroon-colour spot on his chest looking like a bullet wound. The black board on the fence around his enclosure confirms it, he is indeed a survivor of the 26/11 attack.

He is Sheru, one of the victims when Ajmal Kasab and Ismail Khan sprayed bullets indiscriminately, killing and injuring several people inside the populous CST or Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, popular as VT.

Sheru was brought by a photographer, bleeding and in trauma and with a six to eight inch wound on his left shoulder, says J.C.Khanna, Secretary at the Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA).

The 13-year old dog, now housed at the animal hospital in Central Mumbai, has since recovered from the bullet-wound, he says, adding that the strategic wound on his chest, are fresh but regular bruises.

Workers around the enclosure though prefer to tell you that the maroon mark on Sheru’s chest is from bullets and shrapnel still lodged inside the dog, as they cannot be removed at a single time, given the delicate location of the wound! Monday marks four years from the three-day nightmarish attack on Mumbai by 10 gun-men. Over 166 people died from the attacks at the CST, Cama Hospital, Nariman House, Oberoi and Taj Hotels.

In fact, the dramatic image from the attack was the burning dome of the Taj Hotel. BSPCA’s Khanna says, in the aftermath of the attacks, about 150 birds (mostly pigeons) lay dead on the roads near Taj and Oberoi, possibly from the heat, fire and impact of the blasts and subsequent fire.

The birds were brought back to the hospital for cremation. Two security dogs outside the Taj Hotel were also killed by the gun-men while entering the hotel, he says.

So will Sheru be relocated at his old haunt at CST? No, says Khanna, adding that the dog has adjusted to the life at the hospital. Having lived at CST, he is more people-friendly and not animal friendly.

In fact, visitors to Sheru’s enclosure have increased as people get to know of the little dog’s trauma. From Sheru’s first day at the hospital, the Indian breed dog has had a patron – a Parsi lady who sponsors his stay at the hospital, says Khanna.

jyothi.datta@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 26, 2012)
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