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- Animal Rights & Welfare
The Heartbreak of the Abandoned Dog
There's nothing as heartbreaking as a pet abandoned by the owners who once cared for it. Such animals will find it even more difficult to survive on the streets. A starving human cannot move me like a starving dog can. When I worked at The Asian Age newspaper as sub editor, I often gave my packed lunch to a nursing stray.
I smuggled in bones for a neglected Great Dane when I was Creative Director in Corporate Voice (ignoring the voices that threatened me with extinction for the dog belonged to the landlord of the building the agency rented and who was I to interfere with his dog?). Armed with a pack of biscuits, I ran after sad strays that hung about tea shops. I picked up abandoned dogs from the streets.
Abandoned German Shepherd
Returning to the city from one of our weekend trips to our farm, I spotted a decrepit old German Shepherd hovering around a tea shop we frequented for post-sunset tea. He was sorrowful and dirty, his hind legs weak as he walked about, and clearly starving. I managed to bundle my four dogs up in the front seat of the jeep and persuaded the German Shepherd to climb in to the rear after a biscuit. My dogs left him alone. They had sensed his illness.
I did not realize how ill till a week later I noticed open sores on him. I took him to the CUPA shelter for treatment, but it was too late. He died a couple of days later. I was furious at whoever had abandoned him. I suppose many sick dogs, after having spent years with their owners are abandoned regularly. How do they fend for themselves? How do they find food and water? Why take in a dog if you cannot look after it? Many people treat dogs just as watchdogs and deny them the love and care they deserve as mans best friends.
A Lost and Scared Dog
I picked up Doggie who I now realize is half Labrador Retriever (she looks like one and acts like one in the way she loves water and is so gentle) from the streets too. She was lost and whining, clearly looking for someone, a cord around her neck , her black coat mangy. At the first sign of affection she began to follow me. I intended to take her home which was close enough. But then other dogs began to chase her and I picked her up (she was heavy), somehow balanced her on my lap and drove her home on my Kinetic Honda. It wasnt easy at all.
Doggie is the only full-grown dog I have known who has been able to befriend my four dogs (crosses between Lhasa Apso and Cocker Spaniel and mongrel) and live with them more or less harmoniously. They growl a bit and have nipped her at times to establish their territory inside the house so I keep her outside in the garden or on the terrace. I noticed that whenever I allowed her in, they would piss on the furniture!
Saved from Breeding - the Only Greyhound in Karnataka
Cleopatra, said to be the only Greyhound in Karnataka was given to me by CUPA to look after. She was sleek and beautiful, but emaciated and a bit aggressive. She had fallen ill and had been abandoned at the CUPA shelter where she was sterilized and given medical care. The owners returned however, and CUPA members, realizing that she had been ill treated and terrorized by them, refused to part with her. This resulted in almost blows and Cleo, then freshly sterilized, burst her stitches when she barked and jumped about in anxiety. They had to stitch her up again, poor animal.
They had sterilized Cleo as they do all dogs that are brought to them, but with her, it had a greater significance. Someone had approached them and asked for Cleo so he could breed her, since she was the only greyhound in the state. CUPA did not want her to be used this way or subjected to the cruel whims of another owner, and so they had asked me to take her in. Being quite full up with dogs, even on the farm, I had hesitated, but there was no one else offering a helping hand to this grief-stricken dog and I had to take the chance of her not being able to get along with my brood.
She did not. My female dogs would nip at her delicate legs viciously and the two males would pile on too. The Reiki helped, but I did not want Cleo to live in constant terror, so I sent her to the farm. She padded about happily here and even managed to adjust to the farm dogs. She would leap over bushes like a graceful deer and it was a pleasure to watch her sitting regally, her ears erect, her long neck curved like a swans.
After a couple of months of joyous freedom on the farm, Cleopatra succumbed to snake bite. She had the most beautiful golden brown eyes I have ever seen on a dog and the way she looked at me with utter trust even after the terrible betrayals she had known haunts me still
Would You Adopt A Stray Female Pup?
I don't know about the rest of the world, but in India female pups are discriminated against. According to a recent article in The Times of India, Chennai, only one female pup gets adopted for every four male puppies. People don't want to deal with menstruation and pregnancy issues. Even those who buy pedigreed animals prefer males.
Jennifer Jacob, who manages Chennai Adoption Drive (CAD) gets families to temporarily adopt strays. She says females are easier to train, less aggressive and hyperactive.
I have neutered both my male dogs and the females as well. All people have to do to avoid problems with the female reproductive system is to neuter female dogs. The choice of vet is important.
I have the beautiful Choco, a stray adopted about two years ago, a female Lhasa Apso (now at least 15) the baby of a female pup gifted by a friend many years ago, and a few days ago my dogs led me to a friendly 40-day-old white and brown female puppy. She is adorable with brown rings around her eyes and four brown strategically placed spots on her back. I knew she wouldn't be able to find a home.
Well, Choco mated with the rescued Pomeranian I call EP and the result was four lovely pups born on Christmas Day 2013, I have had her neutered of course. And EP too.