My name is Whimpy.

My name is Whimpy.

posted in: Dog Stories, General News | 0

My name is Whimpy, and boy do I have a story to tell!


November 2015.


Night had fallen, but the whole city was awake and on edge, in preparation for the commencement of Diwali the following day. Pre-holiday “warm-up” fireworks were in effect before the sun had even set upon the day.
For Hindus in India, this traditional “festival of lights” is arguably the biggest – and happiest – of all annual holidays. Celebrating good triumphing over evil, light over darkness, it should be a time of great happiness for all. And it mostly is…for the humans, that is. For us street dogs, at least those of us without nerves of steel, it is a time of terror.
From huge metropolitan displays lighting up the night sky, to homemade, small-scale, dangerous devices blasting about – the noise, acrid odors, and above all, unpredictable flashes of blinding light and explosions were more than my tender nerves could bear.
The great irony was that it was Diwali (two years’ previous) that brought me to the streets I now called home, bordering the compound where my human friend, Yoav, lived.
I had been a street dog from birth, but not here, in this neighborhood. When I experienced Diwali for the first time, back in 2013, I ran. I ran so fast and so far that I found myself completely lost when the fireworks and the festival finally ended. In the chaos of the previous few days’ I had also fallen victim to casual human cruelty – someone had lobbed a rock, either in celebration or purposefully, which had left a wound on my forehead and added to my confusion.
I was hungry, thirsty, confused, wounded, and lost. It was the middle of a reasonably-warm winter day in Delhi and I made my way to a patch of sunshine on the sidewalk, oblivious and uncaring that territorial dogs were threatening me for encroaching on their home. I was beyond caring, frankly.
Suddenly, sensing the approach of humans, I startled to my feet. The face of the man I would come to know, trust, and love was standing a distance away speaking kind words to me. But who could blame me for lacking the courage to respond to his calls?
Wary, I gathered my strength to retreat. The territorial dogs and now the attention of humans was overwhelming. Yet, something in me compelled me to stand my ground. And as if the human recognized my fragile state, he retreated. From a distance, he tossed something near me – but not at me. Biscuits! Oh, I was so hungry!
Ignoring the dirty looks of the dogs strolling nearby, I gobbled down the biscuits Yoav threw my way, one after another.
Over the next few days, I made it clear that I was not just interested in Yoav’s biscuits. I craved human affection desperately as well – yet fear remained in my heart. However, I advanced closer to Yoav on each successive day, and soon began to communicate my conflicting feelings to him in the form of my distinctive whimpers. I sang, I mournfully cried, I whispered and whimpered. And to his credit, Yoav seemed to listen and truly understand these words from my heart.
Within a few days, I crossed the final barrier of space between us and at last, with a sigh of pleasure, allowed him to touch me. From the first moment I received his loving pats and kind cuddles, I was sunk. Totally and completely head over heels in love with humans again (ah, the complications of love).
Over the next few weeks, I watched the interactions between Yoav and the street dogs of our neighborhood. Combining wits, supplication, and good timing, I worked my way into not one, but two groups of street dogs that live near Yoav’s compound.
Incredibly, they are actually neighboring – and warring – factions, but I managed to befriend both packs, thereby ensuring maximum attention from my beloved human friends in the compound.
To this day, Yoav likes to tell me what a clever girl I am, and that I am the one and only dog he has ever witnessed that was able to pull off such a feat.
I, on the other hand, am oblivious to what all the fuss is about.
Can’t we all just get along? I’m a sweet, happy girl and want to be everyone’s friend – plus I want maximum exposure to my beloved human pal. So I did what was only natural to me…not that I’m complaining about all the praise I’ve received since, as a result! 😉
Fast forward to October 2014. Diwali was upon us again.
Although I had appeared out of the blue after last year’s Diwali celebrations, Yoav had not realized at the time that Diwali was the actual CAUSE of my appearance in the first place. He knew I was a bit skittish about noise, but nothing compares to the sounds that ricochet through the city for days on end during that celebration.
I managed to hold out for a couple of days when the holiday began, but after several days without sleep, my ragged nerves were shot – it took one particularly loud explosion, far too close for comfort, and as if I was myself a firecracker, I exploded to my feet and headed into the night, running frantically.
Luckily, my disappearance was noted the following morning and it only took a rudimentary search before I was found cowering in a nearby neighborhood. Yoav and friends brought me home and kept me safe for the following couple of days, and by that time, the chaos was reducing gradually as leftover stores of fireworks were used up. I was safe for another year.
But here we were – November 2015.
I had long ago healed from the head wound that I arrived with, two years ago.
I had survived the streets of Delhi for two years, encountering only the occasional nasty bite wound – an unavoidable occurrence for those of us who live as I do on the streets, among so many other dogs, many of them unfriendly.
I had even managed to integrate myself into both street dog groups in Yoav’s neighborhood,.
And Yoav sought medical care for my occasional injuries and always made sure I was provided for with ample food and access to water.
But Diwali was again approaching. And it had not even yet begun…
Inside, my nerves were turning to jelly with each pre-celebration explosion that went off within earshot. The evening before the holiday officially commenced, someone nearby set off a firecracker with a sound as loud as a gunshot. That was all it took!
With a painful pounding in my eardrums, I panicked, fleeing my beloved neighborhood filled with dog friends and many kind humans – the only home I had known for two years. I dashed blindly through byways, streets, and alleys of New Delhi, amidst homes and businesses blazing within, alit by candles and electricity in preparation for Diwali the following day…and amidst sheer madness without.
It seemed the whole city had taken to the streets, at least to my panicked mind. Children, adults, seniors were everywhere. Sparklers crackled, fireworks exploded, and above me, the sky periodically lit up like daylight. And this was just the pre-party mayhem!
I saw other street dogs who were nervy like myself, though most were cowering in corners trying to remain unseen. Logically, I knew I should stop somewhere close to home, as I had before…but my brain was no longer in control of my feet, which raced madly forwards as if of their own accord.
The humans I encountered mostly ignored me, though a few overexcited (or possible inebriated) celebrants tossed crackers in my direction, jeering – or simply scared me by accident, with their shouting and whoops of exultation.
I don’t know how or when I stopped running. I only know that it seemed to take hours for my heart to stop pounding in terror. And when it finally did, I realized – much to my dismay – that I had no idea where I was. Nothing looked or smelled familiar. I was starving, thirsty, frightened, and worried about the next night’s onslaught of fireworks…and the next…and the next…
When I finally did calm down somewhat, and went nosing about in an alley looking for a scrap of food or a puddle to lap at, I attracted the wrong kind of attention. Some hard-looking characters from a street dog pack growled menacingly at me for intruding upon their territory. As they approached out of the shadows, teeth bared, I knew I would be killed or seriously injured if I did not escape. And no Yoav was here to help me now!
If I did end up badly injured, it was almost guaranteed that the people here would walk past my suffering – not out of cruelty or maliciousness, but because our sheer numbers in this region overwhelm even animal sympathizers. And no one knew me here. I would be just another desi dog in need of help – one of thousands and thousands in this city.
I cowered, gathered what strength I had left, and then – ran! Again!
And again, when I recovered, I was yet more lost.
The scenario above played out for an excruciating TEN FULL DAYS. I grew weaker and despaired more with the passing of each day.
I was alive – but for how long? How long before a speeding car smashed me and left me at the roadside to die? How long before other dogs preventing me from scavenging caused me to perish from hunger or thirst? How long before I incurred an infected bite that would kill me from within? And I was aimlessly ambling farther and farther from home with each passing day.
I had given up almost all hope when a car honked out of the blue at me one day. Why? I was not crossing the street, or meandering in the road – simply moving slowly down a sidewalk, head down, lost in my despair. The honk startled me, causing me to jump into the air in fright.
But instead of running yet again, I knew somehow in my heart that this honk signaled my last and final chance. The door to this noisy car opened and there was a familiar face – it was the driver for a neighbor to my beloved Yoav!
I lifted my head for the first time in days, scenting the car, as my eyes widened in disbelief. I could see his friendly face, I could smell the car was the same car…oh my goodness, I could even smell the faint scent of our neighborhood on it!
Beside myself, I began my screaming, joyous whimpering for which I was named. I tried to tell this man how hard my life had been since that day before Diwali…how scared I was…and how hungry and lost…
But every time he opened his arms to me, I shied away. My tail was wagging and my ears were back and I was trying to smile through my hunger and thirst – but I had been through so much in ten days and was too scared to approach him fully.
He turned from me at last, and a deep sadness pooled in my heart instantly. He was walking away from me now…oh my goodness, he was going to leave.
But no…wait. He went instead to a roadside food vendor a few paces away and bought some meat and bread. I began drooling as the scent floated towards me when he approached again. He threw the food to me and as I devoured it, he implored me with human words. I don’t speak human but I guess he was telling me to stay put. Help was on the way.
While I licked the sidewalk, savoring every last flavor of food, he pulled out one of those funny boxes humans love to talk to. I understand now that the boxes connect one human to another through some magic. He was connecting with my dear friend Parshu, Yoav’s driver (and patron saint of the puppies of Jor Bagh Lane from quite some time ago) – I’ve since figured that much out.
From what I understand, Parshu was hesitant to believe this could actually be me. For starters, I was over six miles away from home! Six miles…oh boy. And I ran a lot farther than that, since I made big looping circles as I ran on many of those scary days and nights.
Secondly, although Yoav always tells me I am beautiful, it’s hard for me to feel that way. I look like a lot of desi dogs in our area.
And as I later learned, Yoav had received countless calls from folks claiming to have seen me, since he had somehow managed to take a picture of me and copy it (ah! More human magic, of course) that he then put up everywhere – and I mean, EVERYWHERE. I even saw my own self on cars! A mini version of me, stuck somehow in a flat piece of wood, with lots of letters in English and Hindi. Later, when I got home, I saw myself on posts and walls everywhere in our neighborhood. I knew then that Yoav really missed me…but I digress.
Parshu could have done a lot of things with that phone call. He could have dismissed it, as he and Yoav had fielded dozens of false leads over the past ten days. He could have believed it at least in the realm of faintly-possible – but taken his sweet time coming to verify it, again since he had followed countless false promises to date.
But this driver swore it was me. He told Parshu that I barked at his car once I recognized the scent (okay, I admit, this is a particular habit I do indeed have! I just love to smile and wag my joyous hellos and goodbyes as I run alongside departing cars of those I love). I am quite comfortable among cars, as a matter of fact – at least, when they are safely parked and provide a nice, safe, sunny perch on a beautiful day.
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He also described a funny whorl of fur on my right side. Once upon a time, I’d had a nasty wound there from a tenacious street dog. Yoav had had me treated and it had long since healed, but the hair there grew back in a distinctive way. This driver had described it exactly.
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Something told Parshu that this lead was different from all of the others. Immediately, he made his way to the area described by his driver-friend, who continued to arrest my attention with a fresh round of biscuits from the street vendor, which he slowly doled out.
Parshu knew it was me before he had even stopped his car – because the moment he was within scenting distance, I went – for lack of better word – CRAZY. Fireworks had nothing on me that day, I’ll tell you!
Parshu parked amidst my outpouring of delighted barks. He had hardly reached over to open the passenger door before I was shoving my way in, screaming and howling my characteristic whimper-speak, trying to tell him, in a torrent of sound, about all of my woes of the previous ten days’ hardship, and all of my delight at seeing him again.

Once home, I had an impossibly- exuberant reunion with my beloved Yoav. It was truly an occasion to remember!


Yoav later told me, while cuddling me and petting me after a big meal – and while placing a collar and tag on my neck, in hopes that I would never again repeat my fearsome adventure – that my recovery was nothing short of a miracle.
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He covered me with a blanket and I slept on a cot for many unbroken hours, utterly exhausted and overwhelmed at the loving greetings I had received from the humans in my neighborhood and all of my fellow street dogs.
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It was truly serendipity that the neighbor’s kind-hearted and observant driver had been in the right place at the right time, and recognized me by just a few distinguishing marks in a place where he would never have expected to see me.
I will NEVER take that miracle for granted – I still want to pinch myself every time I remember how close to the edge I came during that terrible, terrifying week.
Diwali has safely passed over two months ago. Yet time flies, and it is only a short while until once again, I am in danger. Yoav is already concerned about the coming fall, given my pattern of panicking when the city falls to celebrating with firecrackers as far as the eye can see.
I am four years old now, in the prime of life, but no longer a puppy. I have managed to befriend even the enemies of enemies, but I won’t be fit forever – and one day, this life on the streets will catch up with me.
I do have security in that Yoav will care for me when wounded and feed me when hungry. But though it’s a life…it is not really living. One bad scare from a car backfiring or a chance firework, or one nasty human wielding another rock, and I could be off and running again.
And what are the odds that a miracle will happen for me twice?
It would be one thing if I were your average street dog – wary of humans, cautious, and aloof. But my personality could not be better suited for finding an overseas forever home.
Yoav has known me for over two years – and ISDF friend Meredith has spent much time with me over the past couple of months – and they are both firmly in agreement that a better candidate for re-homing would be hard to find.
I am gentle, loving, sweet-natured with people, friendly with other dogs, clean, very affectionate (I love to cuddle, as my photos attest), and (other than explosive fireworks!), curious and open-minded about new experiences. I am a fast learner and clearly, given my adaptive nature and ability to survive hardship – extremely clever. And I would give anything for belly rubs!
Yoav knows I will make some lucky family an amazing companion. And I, in turn, will shower them with love and loyalty for the rest of my days – because the security of a forever family, while not even within the scope of my imagination currently, given my life on the streets, will be my dream come true.
I will whimper-sing my joyful gratitude to them forever – if I am only given the chance!
Thank you for reading my story and keeping me in your heart,
Humbly yours,
For Whimpy’s full story in the words of her rescuers, please visit this link. If you are interested in learning more about Whimpy, please contact Dawn Trimmel at 414-426-4148 or email her at