Gujrat: raised as his own son, the builder visits the tomb of the pet dog every morning

VADODARA: It is a norm in every home to take a bath after visiting the crematorium, but a city builder visits the Khaswadi crematorium daily after showering in the morning. While people visit temples every morning, real estate agent Prashant Hadgalkar visits the crematorium to pay his respects to his pet. dog who died 12 years ago

It was a day right after his pet dog Tony died due to old age issues, Hadgalkar had made it a point to visit its tomb every morning. Tony was not among popular breeds that Hadgalkar family had bought. It was a stray dog that had made Hadgalkar residence its home.

“It was around 1995 and Tony, a pup, used to sit outside our house in Koylifaliya in Fatehpura. We used to give Tony food and milk daily before it suddenly disappeared one day,” said Hadgalkar. After a few months, the dog was found by an autorickshaw driver living in Hadgalkar’s neighbourhood in Chhani. “The autorickshaw driver had gone to Chhani to drop off a passenger during which Tony identified him and sat in his auto,” added Hadgalkar.

Since Tony's return, he had made the house of Hadgalkar his own house. I never put a leash on Tony because he was like my own son. Not even training was given, but he used to leave the house only to answer the call of nature, said Hadgalkar. He never used to leave me. Wherever he went, he used to ride behind me on my bicycle or he used to follow me, he said.

In 2007 when Tony passed away due to age-related ailments, it was buried at Khaswadi crematorium and Hadgalkar decided to build a marble tomb there. He said since Tony was a family member and like a son, he did not want to forget him. “My first visit is to the tomb where I offer fresh flowers and feed ‘ganthiya’ to birds and milk to other stray dog s and then I visit a temple,” Hadgalkar said. He visits the temple every day without fail except when he is not present in the city.

It is a popular belief that a pregnant woman should not be taken to the crematorium, but I took my wife the morning of the day she was going to give birth to our first child. I took my three children to the grave after they were born and even now they come with me, he said.

Hadgalkar said he will continue to visit the tomb every morning for the next few years for Tony.

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