The tale of Prince is fascinating. The six-year-old Golden Retriever, part of the Maharashtra Cricket Association’s (MCA) 24-member crowd control squad, had received many offers for adoption, one coming from India’s limited-overs skipper MS Dhoni.
The MCA houses a kennel consisting 24 dogs who are used for security and crowd control during matches. The dogs are highly trained and are said to hail from champion breeds.
Kishor Nawar, owner of Third Eye dog security, who has trained the dogs, said Dhoni had visited the kennel in the stadium during a match two years ago. He requested the handlers to let him adopt Prince after taking a liking for him.
“At that time I told him to speak to (Ajay) Shirke sir (president of MCA), said Nawar.
“Shirke sir agreed and we were told to hand him over to Dhoni,” he added. According to him, Dhoni spent a lot of time in the kennel and played with Prince.
Fate intervened and “Dhoni left earlier than planned and did not come back to take Prince with him,” said Nawar.
Ganesh Manjrekar, one of the handlers at the kennel, said “Prince has attracted interest from many quarters, but Shirke sir never yielded.” Even Harbhajan Singh had sought to adopt Prince but the request was turned down.
With Dhoni returning to face Sri Lanka here on Tuesday, there was anxiety among the handlers who have got accustomed to having Prince around.
“Prince is the charmer of the squad. All the other dogs are aggressive but he is the most playful. If Dhoni asks, we will have to let Prince go. We had given our word and we’ll have to keep it,” said Nawar.
It now seems Dhoni has missed the opportunity to take Prince home, as Shirke has changed his mind.
“I had agreed then, but a lot of time has passed and Prince has settled in. I cannot uproot him as they also have feelings. Not that I doubt that Dhoni won’t provide him with a stable home, I feel Prince’s home is in the kennel and with his mates,” Shirke told HT.