The Golden Retriever Labrador puppy was born crippled. Her spinal cord was damaged and curved at a 45 degree angle. Her hind legs were so weak she couldn’t get up or stand. She was paraplegic.
She must have been unwanted to her ‘Owner’, because when she was 2 months old, she was abandoned inside our main gate. We found her, motionless, whereas local strays were curiously sniffing her, early morning. After bringing her inside, we discovered she was unable to stand. She never uttered a sound, and had trouble hearing.
We took her to our Vet. He said she was a born paraplegic,dumb,and had severely damaged ears, and will live all her life as a vegetable. Horrified, I requested him to operate on the arched spinal cord. He sadly shook his head.
“Nothing can be done,” he said. “It’s so unfortunate.The puppy would die if I attempt surgery. All her life she’ll remain a vegetable, will pee and poop sitting or lying down. She can never stand up.”
Some people standing there & watching her, were morosely shaking their heads.
A woman had come with her dog. She looked at the puppy with contempt and said, “What a horrid condition! She is better dead than alive. After all, what’s the use of her life?”
I whirled back at her. “Indeed?” I said. “What use is YOUR life, either? Why don’t you also die then, following your own logic?”
There was a stunned silence. Only the air conditioner was humming.
“I am adopting the puppy”, I said. “And Nobody has rights to evaluate the usefulness of anyone’s life. She is my ward now, my daughter. I owe her protection. One word against my Baby, and I’ll forget who they are. I don’t mind striking anyone if that restores their sanity.”
They tried to dissuade me, telling me of all the troubles we’d have due to this puppy, and that her standing up or walking was a medical impossibility.
I took the puppy in my arm. “Never say never,” I said, “We’ll return someday.And that day, she’ll come walking,” We left.
All our way back home, I was silently stroking the pup. She was peacefully sleeping on my lap. I looked at her and then decided, whatever comes, she will never need to hear such humiliation remarks from people who demean the value of her life.
Back home, I told her, “People think your life is worthless. Prove them wrong. This is a fight you must fight. This is to restore your dignity. I shan’t allow anyone to humiliate or pity you because you are a vegetable. Together, let’s fight.”
She was staring at my eyes and tried to wag her tail. And our journey started.
Back then we were not rich. I was in Final year of IIM-C. In order to buy her medicines: Nerve stimulant, Calcium,Vitamins, supplements, high-protein diet, it was a highly expensive fight. The only way we could manage this additional expense was to curtail our own expenses. That’s what we did; curtailed our own expenses on food, travel, clothing, telephone,everything we could. We were back to my pre-IIM days, when every Rupee mattered. But we didn’t mind. If we could make the Puppy stand up, it’d be a miracle. So we named her “Miracle.”
We noticed that Miracle is highly prone to tingling, and tingling her in certain places automatically produced tremors in her hind legs. We started with that. We tingled her, her hind legs gave involuntary reflex actions and twitched. Day after day, month after month, we continued, and her twitching got stronger. After 3 months she started to cycle her hind legs. But she couldn’t yet get up.
Many of my friends made fun of me, saying I’ve become “completely mad”, living like a recluse trying to save money “just for a dog”. Some called me blasphemous, that I was trying to play God. I told them, I wasn’t trying to play God; I was playing Human – that human which they could never become.
Despite so much criticism, I never lost faith. Since day-1 Miracle was a tremendous effort-maker, she tried more than we tried for her. Looking at her little body trying to stand up untiringly always gave me courage, hope and faith – perhaps she will be able to stand up one day. Only this hope kept us running. And Miracle kept on trying relentlessly. She panted for breath, was tired, but kept on trying. We were ready with ORS, fed her and kept on helping her.
6 months had passed by. One morning a school friend called and started passing such insulting comments that I gave her a piece of my mind, but I was low-down and sat quietly, and felt like crying. I was becoming so lonely, countering anyone and everyone.
A pattering noise made me look up at Miracle, and to my amazement she was vigorously wagging her tail, which she could never do before. Excited, I stood up. And then the miracle happened.
Miracle gave a loud bark, stood up, and walked towards me stumbling. I whooped in joy, sat down and hugged her tight. Tears blurred my vision.
The long-awaited day had come.
She had proved that nothing was impossible. She had answered all those people who didn’t believe in value of her life. She didn’t let my trust on her down. She honored my faith on her abilities.
After few weeks when she was capable of running, we took her to the same vet clinic. She caused a sensation, bewilderment and stunned astonishment. People kept calling and visiting us to see Miracle, and congratulated us. Miracle saw the visitors, happily barked, ran to them, circled vigorously on her hind legs & expressed her joy.
Everyone who saw her, congratulated us. “You have a Midas touch, Sulagna”, one of them said. “You can make impossibles happen.”
But as I told them, we didn’t deserve any felicitation.
The real achiever was Miracle herself. Being a “dog only” she proved to us the “mighty humans” that effort and willpower can eliminate even an obstacle like Paraplegia, that the will to overcome handicap can even topple medical impossibilities.
Since then Miracle is my role model. A dog has put many humans in shame; she is a burning example that Ability comes from mind and soul; not from body.
“Never say never”. That’s what she has taught me. I am such a blessed student to have got such a Miracle as my teacher.
Proud Mother of Miracle 🙂