In a heartwarming incident, a stray dog walked over 600 kilometers just to keep a man company. It all started on 8 December, when Naveen first saw Malu. Malu was a stray dog and Naveen, a 38-year-old hailing from Kozhikode in Kerala, was on his way to the Sabarimala shrine.
According to the News Minute, it took Naveen 17 days to make the journey of over 600 km on foot from the Mookambika temple in Kollur, Udupi to the Sabarimala shrine in Pathanamthitta. All through the journey, Malu stood by his side and Naveen knew that he had found a friend for life. An employee at the Kerala State Electricity Board, Naveen began his journey on the morning of 7 December. He was a bit worried when he started off, as several stray dogs approached him and he had to shoo them away, but something about Malu made him change his mind.
"It was after nearly 80 kilometres or so, that I noticed her. She walked towards me from the opposite direction and stopped when she reached right in front of me. I did try shooing her off many times, but she would just not go," Naveen told the News Minute. He also said that for the first few days, Malu would walk ahead of him and keep a distance of about 20 metres from him. But eventually, she won Naveen's heart.
"She would regularly stop and look back at me, probably to make sure I was still following her. After a few days, she began to walk behind me, constantly sniffing at my feet. I let her stay," Naveen fondly recalled. The journey has earned Malu a name and a family. Malu is short for 'Malikappuram', a term used to address female Sabarimala devotees.
"After we crossed Kozhikode, I was positive that she would not leave my side," Naveen added. "She is a very persistent and clever dog. She would patiently wait for me when I went off to have food or take a bath. She would safely guard my thirumudikettu (bag of articles for worship) and sleep beside me at night."
He even told the News Minutehow Malu acted as his 'alarm' and used to wake him up on time. Naveen used to start his day at 3 in the morning and one day, he overslept. "She tugged at my mundu, and repeatedly barked at me so that I wake up," Naveen recalled.
On 23 December, when Naveen finally made his return journey, Malu accompanied him back home. Now, she has made herself comfortable at his house in Beypore. She proudly wears a brown-beaded necklace around her neck to remind herself of the incredible journey that gave her a family.
Also on HuffPost India.