Literally! Dogs have become important species, especially in India. Keeping dogs as pets has a long history right from maybe stone age! In Mahabharata a dog follows the Pandavas during their LAST journey. People have their own thought processes about pet dogs and I am writing on this subject only to get an overall feel of the subject.
Importance of dogs in India started with the keen interest taken by Maneka Gandhi about dogs. There is a Supreme Court ruling about stray dogs which is given below.
Under the Indian laws, animal cruelty is an offence – under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and Section and 429 of the Indian Penal Code – punishable with imprisonment and fine. Likewise, criminal intimidation, and criminally intimidating animal welfare volunteers is a serious offence under the Indian Penal Code (specifically, Section 503 of Indian Penal Code read with Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code 1860).
But what happens if there arises a cache 22 situation where a decision needs to be taken about supporting humans and dogs at the same time, in the same situation, at same location. Who should get the priority? There are many different rulings which declare the rights of the stray dogs; breaking such laws is liable to jail terms! But not giving the same support to homeless people (maybe stray people) is not punishable! But the alertness and alacrity with which the Animal support groups act and react in case of dogs, is rarely seen in case of humans in difficulty.
With latest trends, now some families are deciding that they will not have kids but will adopt dogs. This trend, which was observed in western countries is now also seen in Indian couples. I know of a family, there could be many more, who while traveling, “talk” to their pets on video calls; kennels have set up cameras etc to provide such facility.
I am aware that there are pet training schools where charges maybe as high as the best of human schools. I know that in 1980 someone used to pay US $100/ hour for pet training. (Be careful what you call someone’s dog, it may be good idea to call it by its name; owners are sensitive sometimes.) Now we have pet training schools, but do we have human training schools to teach humans how to handle pet dogs?
Years back, I was walking on a footpath in the US, a lady was talking on her cell phone with somebody. She had a dog on the leash while it was doing its natural thing. I was wondering how this situation is going to be handled. As I reached near the lady, she probably told the other party to hold on for a second. She said to me, “Sir, I have my poop picking gear, don’t worry I am going to pick it up”! I am quite sure the lady had gone to best training school where they teach about handling the doggies.
I will share with you couple of examples where the owners did not take the training course. We went to someone for a cup of coffee. We never knew that they had a dog. It’s not that Jaya and I are afraid of dogs, in fact we love them, mildly. The breed they had was five feet long when it was lying down. Its bark was as loud as the fighter aircrafts breaking sound barrier. As soon as we entered their home, it was an apartment, the doggy ran in as fast as Usain Bolt and braked in front of us; it had an awesome braking system. We were stunned, most probably, because of this unexpected, almost an attack on us! Our friend came and said, “Hey, guys! Don’t worry he is a very mild pet!” Of course, we knew that. I just wondered if it were ferocious, officially. After it was leashed, hypothetically, not physically, we started to move towards the three-seat sofa! The moment my bottom touched the sofa, windows in the home shuddered, I had almost become deaf with initial boom, I jumped up. Our friend, the doggy, had started howling. Our friend, the human, told us that it was doggy’s seat! The doggy jumped on the sofa and lied down, all its five feet! The coffee arrived, we gulped it. Luckily the cell phone came to the rescue! It rang. A friend had called to inform me that our evening dinner was postponed due to some emergency. I kept on blabbering on the phone, “Don’t you worry, we will reach in 30 minutes. I will try to get a doctor with me on the way.”
Immediately, we left our friend’s place with apologies and told him that some emergency had come up at a friend’s place, bal bla bla. For a change, I got a certificate of appreciation from my better half, for an excellent and prompt action and acting skills.
A friend’s dog died recently after a long life of 13 years. He was a mild, lovely dog. But he (the dog) missed out on two things; after he died there were a hundred RIP messages (95 were actually saying only RIP) on our society’s WA group. Very few people in the society used to interact with him (the dog); he would have known how many really “loved” him had he read those messages. But he, the doggy, was dead and was not on WA group! Probably we humans also know how many people “really” feel about us after we die! Why not tell it before we die, just a food for thought?
Now I am going ask awkward questions. What do we do with our neighbor’s doggy who keeps on howling, at night? Our neighbor, the owner of the doggy, I am told, cannot go to sleep if the doggy is not howling! What do we do with neighbor who does not pick the poo poo? What do you do if the doggy cleanses your car rim and tyre with his, you know what? Should we send a thank you note? To whom, the doggy or the owner? Doggy is after all their kid! What do we do with them when the doggy wets, the mat in the elevator/lift in your condo? Of course, you take the mat home and wash it, spray lovely perfume to mask the after effects. Or maybe walk the staircase to your 11 th floor home!
Looking at more positive sides of dog the pet! It provides employment. Our friends, the owners are so busy, that they have no time to take the doggy out for a walk. Don’t ask why do you have pets, if you can’t walk them? Do you ask some someone why you are having kids? Now there are some special shops catering only in dog stuff.
Humans have a much developed brain. With new methods, equipment, tools, humans have been controlling other species for different purpose including food. Horses were used for travel, camels are used even today in desert for travel, we eat chicken, fish, goats and pigs. Yes, in Korea dog food is considered a delicacy! I am all for stopping the cruelty against animals but are we not going to other extreme about dogs in India? Honestly, I do not know!