Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
“Walter White came into my life like a ray of light. My friend found him from under a car. He was scared to death and was shivering. His eyes were bloodshot and his ears chronically infected. The fur had been pulled out from several parts of his body. Looking into his eyes, I knew that all he needed was love,” Apurwa Shrivastava, an employee of a Bangalore-based media company, tells The Logical Indian.
A large number of people in India buy ‘fancy’ dog breeds as a status symbol. They are an object of fun and enjoyment as long as they are healthy, fluffy and easy to handle.
However, when dogs get old, it becomes tiresome to take care of them. It is just like looking after old, ailing parents. Paying for medicines, the effort to lift them to the bed because their legs are weak, continuous effort to ensure that they eat well, are among the things that become a burden for people.
Therefore, people resort to the easiest way to solve their problem. They abandon the dogs.
“When I first saw Walter, I found it hard to believe that such a small, vulnerable creature could be ill-treated this way. I could see that he felt exposed and unprotected. Within a couple of days, with a little love and care and medical treatment, he began clinging to me like he was afraid I would run away,” Apurwa said.
“Initially, I had thought of giving him for adoption after his treatment was over, but I developed a bond with him that I could not afford to break. The attachment was extremely strong. He whines and cries every morning as I go out for work and it breaks my heart. However, when I return home, there’s a happy tail that wags for me and large eyes that shine at me. He is a blessing for me.”
Walter’s story is one out of hundreds of stories that the people of Bengaluru have to tell. One can relate to common sight on the narrow streets between houses, pedigree dogs sitting helplessly or scavenging garbage dumps for food.
“I urge people not to buy expensive dogs because they think they can be played with. They are not showpieces and neither do they enhance one’s status. Dogs need love and care to survive,” says Apurwa.
“If you genuinely love dogs and think you are ready for the commitment, I would suggest you adopt dogs which have been abandoned, just like Walter. Treat them like you would treat your children. If you do not think you can do that, you do not deserve the company of such loyal, loving creatures,” Apurwa adds.
The Logical Indian reached out to CUPA Second Chance Adoption Centre in Bengaluru, to get an insight into how pedigree dogs are abandoned in the city.
CUPA has been rescuing dogs and giving them up for adoption since 2013.
Sanjana Madappa, adoption councillor of CUPA, tells The Logical Indian, “In every other part of the city, you will come across an abandoned dog. Out of the average 800 dogs that we have rescued, 400-450 of them are pedigree dogs. Most of them are Labradors and Golden Retrievers. We have come across German Shepherds and Saint Bernards as well. In fact, we have rescued an Akita recently.”
The CUPA Trauma Centre is taking care of two more abondonment cases, admitted a few days back. The cause of abandonment…
Dog breeds like Saint Bernards and Huskies are not suited for high temperatures. With a massive body and a thick fur, hot weather saps their energy.
“Raising a dog is like raising a child,” Sanjana says. “If you cannot love them and treat them well, don’t just get them to make your house look richer. It is absolutely cruel and wrong.”
Sanjana says that many of the abandoned dogs that CUPA rescues are often victims of cruelty.
"You can always find hope in a dogs eye." This is what the lovely eyes of this Labrador say. We got this 5 year old…
“Besides abandonment, dogs are often mistreated by their owners,” says Sayantani Nath, a journalist from Bengaluru. “I see a Husky and a Golden Retriever kept in a small kennel near my house in Banashankari area day in and day out. It is often very hot during the day, and I can only imagine what they go through, especially the Husky.”
Aditi Chatterjee, a student of Bangalore University and a resident of Koramangala, is a witness to cruelty towards a dog on a daily basis.
“A family right in front of my house bought a dog days back. I am not sure what breed it is, but it has a well-built body. The owners don’t ever let the dog enter the house. They keep it tied to the main gate with a small leash day and night. It is completely starved; it is so thin that I can see its bones protruding. Every time the dog barks, a woman comes out and beats it with a stick. It is a daily horror for me,” Aditi says.
“I have tried calling a number of organisations that are supposed to take action against animal cruelty, but none of them have been able to help me. I really hope laws against animal cruelty are made stronger.”
Aditi says that before the family brought this dog home, they had adopted a little stray puppy. When it grew a little older, they abandoned it somewhere far from their vicinity.
Another animal rescue organization, Love For Forgotten, also says that among the dogs they rescue and treat, a number of them are pedigree dogs that have been abandoned.
Sukanya, the founder of the trust says, “Most of these dogs are abandoned because their owners do not want to take the burden of their health issues. Many of them are also abandoned because their owners have to leave the city and do not want to take them along. It is cruel and insensitive, to say the least.”
Dogs are extremely sensitive creatures. Once accustomed to the warmth and comfort of a house, it is almost impossible for them to adapt to the harsh surrounding.
They get emotionally attached to their owners, and even if they are rescued, it takes a significant amount of time for them to get comfortable in another home. Their trauma lasts for a long time.
So the next time you decide to get a dog, remind yourself that they need your love and compassion. Remind yourself that they are just like children, they have emotions and that they love you unconditionally. If you are ready to take care of a dog when it is old and unwell, only then adopt a dog.
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