Hyderabad: Most boys search for a stone the moment they see a stray dog on the street, but not 12-year-old Eunryeol Park. For him, stray dogs are among his best friends. For them too, he is that rare person, part of a minority of animal lovers, who gives them love, food and care, and does not pick up a stick or stone as soon as he sees them.
The camaraderie between Park and a pack of about eight to 10 stray dogs in Bowenpally is a daily sight near the Manasarovar Heights apartments, where he lives. A Class VII student of St. Andrews School, Bowenpally, Park spends some time with the dogs every day as he returns from school.
The moment the dogs see him from afar, they begin running to him, jumping on him, wagging their tails and literally licking him from head to toe. He slowly sets his schoolbag on one side and sits on the roadside as they gather around him. Handshakes, hugs and hellos follow.
In between, if any of the dogs see a car or someone else and bark menacingly, Park immediately hugs the dog tight, shutting its jaws with his hands, whispering in its ears to calm down. And yes, the dog slowly calms down.
Sight to behold
“I have been playing with them for the last one year,” he says. For other children and residents of the apartment, the interaction between Park and his four-legged friends is a sight to behold, with many standing around curiously, watching with a smile.
“He has been friendly with animals right since when he was a kid,” says Park’s mother Jounj Park, adding that they did not have a pet at home since it was difficult to have one, but Park was making up for it with his friends on the street.
Park feeds them at times, giving them a few biscuits or chicken bone pieces. Apart from teaching them to shake hands and making them behave, Park has also named them.
And they respond enthusiastically as he calls them out one by one – Susy, Alpha, Emily, Crystal.
“He was the most violent. But he is slowly calming down,” says Park, pointing at one whom he calls Golden, who slowly walks to him, wagging his tail and lies down near the boy.