Srinagar: ”Take my wife, take my kids but I will come only when you first take my puppies on the boat.” These were the words of an eminent doctor to a rescue team that had come to evacuate him and his family from flood-hit Jawahar Nagar locality of Kashmir.
“Our focus was on rescuing as many humans as possible but this doctor would not get on the boat till we take his two small dogs first,” a rescue worker from State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) told PTI.
The rescuers, who were initially reluctant, had to give in to the stubbornness of the doctor and took the dogs on board in order to ensure that the medico is rescued. However, the doctor's story did not end there.
As the other flood survivors saw the doctor clinging to his puppies, they started hurling whatever objects they could find towards the boat.
“Luckily, we are able to sail through without getting hit,” the rescue worker said.
The rescue teams, both official as well as those made up of volunteers, shared several anecdotes wherein the humans refused to leave without their pets.
In one case, a female officer of the state government was rescued from her Rajbagh residence as the flood water was rising towards second storey of her three-storey house.
“While we were moving towards a safer place, this woman started shouting that we have left her ‘Maxi' behind.
We told her ‘Madam, you can get a new one from the market later',” a rescue worker from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said.
The rescue team was stunned when the woman officer told them that ‘Maxi' is the name of her pet dog and it needs to be evacuated.
“She threw a fit and we felt it prudent to rescue the dog before this woman puts life of everyone else on the boat in danger,” the rescue worker said.
In another case, a police officer rushed to aid of a journalist, who was trapped with his family and relatives inside his office in Press colony on the Residency Road here.
“The flood water was still not very deep.
So I got a big vehicle to bring them out. Everyone stepped into the vehicle but this man (journalist) told me his Casper is there,” the police officer said.
The officer was under the impression that the journalist is referring the 10-feet tall vehicle generally used by the army for anti-militancy operations.
“The situation was such at that time that I missed how he could have a vehicle used by the army and other paramilitary forces.
I was fuming that he did not use the vehicle to leave the danger zone along with his family.
“But when he told me Casper is the name of his pet, I lost my cool,” the officer said, adding that the man and his dog were brought to safety.
In most cases, the pets and their owners were evacuated.