September 14, 2012

The Dognapping of Sultan

Sultan was the first dog we had as a pet; a gorgeous black and gold double-coated German Shepherd that might as well have been a wolf. He was a massive dog with a mane like a lion – truly a beautiful specimen. Sultan, much like his name, was a very dignified, regal creature who took no nonsense from anyone, especially random people/animals that were foolish enough to walk down our street or stand in front of our house. The nerve.
He was decidedly my mother’s dog. He followed her all over the house, sat outside the bathroom door when she went in, and protected her like his life depended on it. My father, sister and I got similar treatment, but he really thought my mom was his mom. She was in fact, since we got Sultan home when he was only 2 months old.
One evening we couldn’t find him in the house. We looked everywhere in the neighbourhood, but we couldn’t see him in any of his haunts. He didn't come home. All night we waited, searched, but to no avail. By the next morning I was in tears, inconsolable, and by afternoon my sister and mom were too. Where could Sultan have gone? After some detective work in the area thanks to our man Friday, we were told that he had been kidnapped. Because of his pedigree and good looks, our baby had been picked up from the house when everyone was at work, with an intent to sell him to a dog breeder for a high price. I still have no idea how the dognappers managed the task given Sultan's size and ferocity – perhaps they drugged him? We’ll never know. 
My father was told that he should speak to this particular real estate agent who had an office nearby because he was perhaps, involved. Of course my dad went, and point blank asked him. He offered to pay the agent whatever he wanted for some information and the dog back. The agent refused, claiming he knew nothing. My father went again a hour or so later. Again he refused. On his fourth visit, after telling the agent how his daughters were in tears and hadn't even eaten because they were so upset, he was given a number and address of someone who could ‘be of help’. Obviously the agent knew nothing more, and had nothing to do with the whole situation. Obviously.
My parents rushed to the given address. It was early evening, and they were met with a circle of giant Haryanvi men playing cards in the lawn of a newly built, unoccupied house. Sultan was sitting meekly in a corner, tied to a tap with a long piece of rope. My fearless mum jumped out of the car and walked in, calling out to Sultan.
Sultan’s whole stance changed! His mane bristled all around him and he started barking loudly, madly, deafeningly. The men all stood up, shocked at the transformation from mouse to lion. Luckily, right then my father also came in having parked the car in front of the gate for a quick getaway. My mom told the men to back off, warning them that her dog would pounce on them once she opened him, and they better not try anything. They looked amused, since they’d seen a very meek dog who sat quietly in the corner. As soon as my mom untied him, Sultan roared! He lunged for the men, teeth bared. The giant Haryanvi men fled. They ran from the house, leaving my parents to coolly walk Sultan out to the car and come home.
I still ask my mom how she had the courage to face a group of menacing thugs, and rescue her dog. Her answer always makes me happy: ‘Why would I be scared? I had complete faith in Sultan. I knew as soon as he saw us he would get charged up. I felt very safe.’ On his own Sultan sat dejected, but when he saw my parents, his family, he had something worth defending and fighting for again.
If that isn’t fitting tribute to why we love dogs, I don’t know what is.
A young double-coated German Shepherd, just to give you an idea. Sultan had a bigger mane!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. made me cry a little. I miss my babies. And AESHUUUU I DID NOT KNOW THIS STORY!
    i wish Sultan had let me chill with him a little more.

    1. Sam, isn't it insane? I wish you could have chilled with him more too. I do remember him taking a sip of your vodka in my room one day! He started barking like a maniac after.


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