Some people can’t help but open their doors to dogs in need as Shalini and Lt General Raymond Noronha, Chief of Staff, Southern Command HQ at Pune, have
She probably does in unconsciously. But every time that Shalini Noronha encounters an animal in need she automatically tries to do her best for him/her. Its a trait that she and husband Lt. General Raymond Noronha, SM, AVSM, Chief of Staff Southern Command HQ at Pune have passed on to their children Rushil and Aisha.
“You realise all dogs are equally loveable. They give you as much love as do pedigrees,” says Shalini who has grown up with dogs and as an adult has looked after medicines and sterilisations of all dogs who came her way. Lt General Noronha adds, “I was swept into rescue work because of Shalini’s passion. As for training, well, Rushil and Aisha our children detrain them the minute we train them!”
Shalini is a very active volunteer for adoptions, fostering and rehoming dogs of all kinds. In fact, the dogs at her home are all rescued except one. “I have always encouraged adoptions because it is what I believe in. Now I’m talking to many more people and also doing it through adoption camps,” she adds modestly. The sprawling lawns at home are the happiest play area for the canines who run, sleep and generally enjoy themselves to the hilt there.
The bird catching athlete, Snoopy (who was found with his intestines hanging out), brings his community friends over to play when the house is asleep. Chinky who Aisha rescued is his shadow. River, a clown actually, was found as a 15-day-old puppy. The vet drained a cup full of pus from a wound on her back. She has every allergy possible and the weakest digestive system so she needs extra eyes to watch her. Toffee is the smart girl who wants a treat for every newspaper that is read (because she was trained to get the newspaper as puppy). While Sniper the smart golden retriever was rescued after being tied up 24×7. Since he joined the Noronha family he has never been tied up! Watson, the youngest was found with a terrible wound on his back and a damaged leg in Bangalore by Rushil. Sent to mom in Pune, he is much better but sadly lost his leg.
Interestingly, though all of them are totally different from each other, there are never any fights to sort or egos to balance, perhaps because of the way they are brought up. They are used to new dogs and pups coming into the pack and leaving and they are protective about the weak ones joining the pack. Shalini explains the harmony, “Leave them to themselves and they will find their own hierarchy.” That’s well said, indeed. If only we took this bit of advice!
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