Naveen first saw Malu on 8 December, on the second day of his nearly 700 km pilgrimage by foot from the Mookambika temple in Kollur, Udupi to the Sabarimala shrine in Pathanamthitta. Naveen had no way of knowing then that he had found a friend of a lifetime, who would stay by his side through thick and thin.
Back then Malu was just a stray dog that was curious about a bearded man walking along the road.
An employee at the Kerala State Electricity Board, Naveen began his journey on the morning of 7 December . At first, he was worried about several stray dogs that approached him, especially in the morning hours, and invariably shooed them off. But something about Malu set this dog apart from others.
It took Naveen, a 38-year-old hailing from Kozhikode in Kerala, 17 days to make the journey of more than 600 km by foot. And incredibly, …