Among the hordes of human participants at the recently concluded Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon in India, a four-legged participant stood out as unusual. According to a report by Indian Newspaper DNA, a stray dog was also among a group of runners who participated in the marathon.
The stray dog, which also happens to be blind in one eye, reportedly ran 10 kilometers (nearly seven miles) along with a group of runners! The dog, well-known to locals in the area where he lives, was later identified as Vitoo or Ekanksh. People in the area call out to him using both these names and he responds.
After people noticed the dog who followed them for over seven miles, they wanted to make sure he is returned to his original “home.” This is because there were chances that he could be attacked by other stray dogs, as the animals being highly territorial in nature. Several Mumbai Marathon participants contacted an NGO called Save Our Strays that cares for stray animals to ensure the safe rehabilitation of the dog back to his original home. However, he was nowhere to be found.
After the marathon ended, people started to look for the dog, which had disappeared. A Facebook post by Save Our Strays showed a photo of the dog, and the organization asked people to help find him and possibly rehabilitate him. He was easily identifiable owing to his one eye and his highly distinguishable white fur.
Rinki Karmakar, a trustee of Save Our Strays (SOS), explained as follows.
“One of the marathon runners took a picture of the dog and informed us about him having followed them from Shivaji Park to Dadar. Several residents informed us that they have often seen the dog as it lives near a Ganpati temple in the area. We will be sending a search team to the area to find him. He is in unfamiliar territory, so he must be scared and trying to hide. Once we find him, he will be rehabilitated.”
However, to everyone’s surprise, without anyone’s help, the stray dog returned to his home the very next day. The news of his return was confirmed by a local Save Our Strays volunteer in a Facebook post. The volunteer posted an image of him petting the dog to allay everyone’s concern.
It is unclear how the stray dog made it back after traveling this far from his home, but the locals are obviously overjoyed to find the stray back.
[Image Via Facebook]