Some time last year, we stumbled upon this Instagram handle: @travelingchapati. We thought it was quite a cute name, and what compelled us to hit the ‘follow’ button was because it was filled with nothing but photos of a certain dog — a once-stray named Chapati.
As dog lovers ourselves, this easily made it to the top of our favourites list, and it also made us envy Chapati! But, after digging up some history (thanks to journalistic tendencies and curiosities), what we discovered was both touching and heart-wrenching.
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The Origins of Chapati
The name ‘Chapati’ might have given it away. Yes, Chapati was found starved and near-death at Fort Kochi, India, by Ukranian couple Kristina Masalova and Eugene Petrus during one of their many wanderlust travels.
Both were jaded with their jobs and current lives — Kristina was working on her PhD on Ancient Egyptian religion while Eugene was an ad man — and both decided to quit their jobs, sell their belongings, lease their apartment and bought the cheapest one-way ticket to India … Kochi happened to be the cheapest from Kiev. Little did they know that their lives would be completely changed from then on.
Initially planning on staying there for only two nights, they chanced upon a severely dehydrated puppy the night before they were bound to leave.
The plans shifted. The rest of the days were spent running to veterinarians, trying to get her emergency medical attention (which included a strenuous de-flea process).
By the time all treatments were finished, the couple felt like Chapati was family already so they did what any other empathetic, kind and animal-loving people would do: they adopted her.
The Name ‘Chapati’
“She was thin and tan like a Chapati, and we had no doubts on what to name her. The next thing we knew, we were Googling how to travel with a dog in India,” said Kristina.
The Chapati Itinerary
From Kochi, the family of three travelled to Varkala after searching for dog-friendly hotels as well as transport. By the way, if ever you intend on travelling to India with a dog, Goa is the most pet-friendly spot ever, because Chapati herself was allowed in cafes, and the waitresses even provided her with a bowl of water and some food.
They ended up spending two weeks in Goa, because Chapati enjoyed playing on the sands.
The next few stops included Mumbai, Amritsar, Jodhpur, Himachal, Nepal and Delhi. Chapati was allowed in Nepalese temples, and if ever the weather got too cold during the mountain hikes, her owners made her wear her own jacket, made out of socks. If not, Chapati spent most her trekking time inside one of her owners’ jackets.
But How Do They Travel With A Dog?
Chapati has her fair share of travelling on planes, trains, rickshaws, buses, ferries and even catamarans. “The truth is, there are more hotels which allow dogs than what the Internet shows you!” said Kristina. However, it is quite difficult to find pet-friendly hotels in Bangkok and Mumbai.
The Owners’ Message To The World
It is indeed a global problem, but she was surprised at how many true animal lovers there are out there. Imagine if we all work together, though: the world would be a much better place for us — humans, animals and all living creatures alike.
“It makes me sad to see that so many people are afraid of dogs. Many warned us that all street dogs have rabies. I think this myth comes from a misunderstanding between people and dogs.”
So, How Exactly Can We Exact Change?
To date, Chapati has been to many countries, including Poland,Italy, Thailand, Sweden and many other countries across Europe and Asia. Check out her adorable photos below! #travelgoals!
Just imagine that — who would have thought that one dying and dehydrated dog had a second chance at living her best life with two lovely people?
Think about what you kind of change you can bring about, if you had the opportunity to extend this same chance to a stray dog.
With that in mind, we’d like to bring your attention to a couple of adoption drives here in Malaysia. If you’re not in Malaysia, do feel free to Google local adoption/shelters in your area and give it a go. If you have been planning on owning a pet, or getting another one, make room in your hearts (and lives) to drop by the shelter. You never know what you might come across, and just think of the lives that you would be able to save.
After all, think of all the future Chapatis you could be cruising around the world with, or maybe going on your little local adventures with!
Check out adoption drives at Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better, PAWS, Penang Animal Welfare Society, and occasionally check out other associations Malaysian Animal Welfare Association, to see how you can help.
If you are unable to adopt, feel free to chip in wherever you can, such as:
- Food supply
In the meantime, do keep your eyes peeled on Facebook posts like this that may pop up every now and then. These animals need your help!
Do note that volunteering, donating and helping out is not limited to only dogs, but cats, and other animals that are in dire need of assistance. On behalf of animal lovers and advocates out there, thank you for your help.