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Ex New Delhi stray seeks good home

A CROSSBREED rescued from the streets of New Delhi by a kind-hearted British cabin crew attendant and brought to the UK and is now seeking a good home with suitable owners.

“Taj” was rescued thanks to the efforts of Dina Khazragi, a senior cabin crewmember with Virgin Atlantic and her friend Jo Robertson, who became concerned for his plight when they saw him as a puppy scavenging with a pack of dogs in the streets of New Delhi.

Animal lover Dina, 29, from Cardiff, always takes a huge sack of dry dog food to feed the local strays in New Delhi during her long-haul flight stopovers in the Indian city. Although most of strays are ‘transient’ and may only be seen once, there is one particular pack of street dogs, which she feeds regularly.

Permanent

“It breaks my heart to see so many deprived animals in the streets, so I do what little I can by feeding the stray dogs when I’m there,” says Dina. “I wish I could something more permanent to help them. I’d become used to feeding a really lovely, but very tired-looking bitch that always seemed to be lactating. I never saw any pups with her, so I can only assume that maybe she had a den somewhere, or maybe that the pups never survived.

“Then one day last year when my friend Jo and I were on stopover and feeding the regular pack, the bitch came along with a really adorable puppy in tow. He was too young to have become wary of people and he came bounding up to us, full of bounce, smiling all over his little face. He didn’t want us to go, and kept following us, so we decided there and then to pool our resources and bring him back to the UK with us and try to give him a good life with a loving family.”

On their return to their hotel, the two women immediately telephoned various animal rescue organisations in the UK to get some advice on how to go about bringing the puppy - which they’d nicknamed ‘Taj’ - back to the UK. They made contact with Alan Knight of the charity International Animal Rescue who gave them lots of helpful advice and put them in touch with a charity based in Delhi, Friend Eco, who run spaying and welfare clinics for all of India’s street and working animals.

“We took Taj along to their clinic and the vet gave him all the necessary jabs for his trip to the UK, and then we spoke to the Ministry in the UK who told us how to go about the actual importation,” says Dina. “So we got all the paperwork sorted as quickly as we could and I took Taj back to our 5 start hotel with us in my crew bag! We fed him in our room for the next couple of days and then got him over to the airport for the flight back to the UK.

Socialising

Taj was quarantined at Moonwinds quarantine kennels in Lymington, as they often quarantined animals for International Animal Rescue and had been recommended by Alan Knight.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the kennels,” says Dina. “We used to visit him as often as we could, but obviously couldn’t be there every day. The staff there did so much for him, socialising and training him, getting him used to obeying simple commands and generally making him into a pet. The Kennel Maid who looked after him cried on the day he was released at the end of April.

“I have three very spoiled, dog-hating house cats and they had to be confined to my bedroom - much to their disgust - while Taj spent a few days with me before going on to Jo’s parents in North Wales. However, their mini Jack Russell refused to accept him, so he came back to me.”

Sadly, Taj had a false start when Dina rehomed him to a couple who initially seemed ideal owners for the young dog.

“I thought I had found him the perfect home with a middle aged couple who lived by the beach,” says Dina. “They had another dog and seemed very excited at having him so I didn’t think I needed to look for another prospective home.

“However I wasn’t aware of the problems they had within their relationship. The husband proved to be very controlling over his wife and resented Taj, even going as far as refusing to allow Taj in his car when he, his wife and other dog went out for the day.

“As soon as I was made aware of this, six weeks later, I fetched Taj home with me.
Although he was nervous of everything when he came out of quarantine he had a lovely nature and I never heard him growl or bark. After his six weeks away he was even more nervous and had a dislike of men, growling when one came near him. He also growled at my niece and nephew when previously he had allowed them to pet him.

“I will never know what happened to him but it can’t have been good. I feel like I have failed him by giving him such a bad start.

He has been with me for two weeks now and we have been working with two excellent dog trainers to overcome his anxieties. He is getting much better and gaining confidence. He no longer growls at men, his new best friend is my male neighbour, and doesn’t growl when he sees children though I haven’t risked them trying to touch him.

Time

“I am told the process will take time which is something I don’t have too much of. As a flight attendant I am away for much of the time and don’t have anyone to take over with training etc. I also have three cats that are living in my bedroom. He has met neighbourhood cats and seems fine with them but my house cats won’t even attempt to tolerate him.”

Dina is keen to see Taj, now aged approximately 11 months and recently neutered, rehomed to a suitable home. Ideally, prospective owners would be middle-aged with older or grown-up children, and who have plenty of time to give him the attention and regular exercise he needs. Taj will mix with other animals, so would probably fit in with another dog or cat.

“I know he is my responsibility and I owe him a good home, but my home is not the home he needs,” says Dina. “Taj needs someone with a good understanding of canine behaviour and he needs the socialisation he was denied as a puppy in quarantine.

Taj really is a lovely dog with so much to give. He is eager to please, full of life and smiles a lot. I only want to see him happy with all the love he deserves.”

* If you can offer Taj a suitable new home, please contact Dina Khazragi on: 02920 334632 or 07966 201474, or e-mail her at: delkhazragi@hotmail.com