After all, we all love to follow our heroes. India’s biggest superstar, if he adopts a homeless puppy, will inspire millions of us into bringing home a street dog
Meanwhile, on Saturday, probably the wettest day of the year, I noticed one of mankind’s cruelest forms. I accidently bumped into a group of rich, young men, circled around two dogs fighting to death. It was gory, heartless, and sinful. It was beyond crime.
It had rained all day long. The dogs were covered in mud, gnawing at each other’s already bloodied throat. They appeared to be the pit-bull types, stout and ferocious, capable of killing a man with a single throat-bite!
I felt so sorry for them that I couldn’t hold myself. Outnumbered and physically in ordinary shape, I tried to intervene but was pushed back with a warning. I thought any further move on my part would be disastrous to my health, so I quickly left.
I couldn’t dismiss the image from my mind, though. I lodged a complaint the next morning with the local police, but they passed the buck, saying I should go to the animal shelter people. They referred me to Menaka Gandhi’s hospital. Because the victims were dogs, the police didn’t think it was worth their while to look into the matter.
Most of us keep dogs as pets because we claim to love the animal. We keep saying all the time that ‘dogs are man’s best friends’! But do we reciprocate? Do we love the animal back?
I later found out that those two dogs belonged to a local promoter of ‘dog fights’. They were covered in scars and fresh wounds and were kept in urine-soaked cages, mostly without water so that their tolerance levels are low. How can someone derive pleasure out of such a gruesome experience? Aren’t we more animal than them?
Dog-fighting is a sadistic contest, where fights average one to two hours, ending only when the other dog can’t fight anymore, or is dead from fatal injuries. They possess extremely powerful jaws and can inflict fatal injuries. Dogs have died of severe bruising, deep puncture wounds, and broken bones. Dogs that survive the fight are punished for losing and causing commercial loss. They are starved for days…
The voice against cruelty against animals in India is very weak. The Government doesn’t really have an effective plan in place that can ensure animal safety. We have all left them to their fate. Menaka Gandhi is the only known face of ‘compassion for animals’. The rest are just pretenders.
Meanwhile, those of us who keep dogs as pets do so for purely cosmetic reasons.
Look at our Bollywood celebrities. Amitabh Bachchan owns a Great Dane and a few other expensive breeds. Priyanka Chopra, Anoushka Sharma, Salman Khan, who has a boxer, and many others, have often flaunted their dogs on television and in print. They brag about the high breed, the royal bloodline and the parents being champion dogs. It is disgusting and immoral.
It’s not as if they love animals and they want to adopt to ensure that at least one dog is taken care of. If that were true, there are enough and more stray, homeless dogs that they could adopt. These dogs live on streets, without the security of food, crying for attention. But we don’t think street dogs are beautiful enough to be part of a human family. They don’t have silken furs and are scarred at places. There is a growing need for designer dogs, these days. Why go for such monstrosity? Why not just adopt a homeless dog, who just needs love more than anything else?
People are shelling out exorbitant amount for ‘Labradoodles’ (labrador/poodle cross), ‘Cockapoo’ (cocker spaniel/poodle cross) ‘Puggles’ (pug/beagle cross) and ‘Chorkies’ (Chihuahua/Yorkie cross). There is a vulgar race for owning the cutest or the most expensive dog in high society. They may be costly and beautiful, but they are mongrels at the end of the day. More than being a dog, a Poodle is an accessory.
Immoral breeders are also an extremely insensitive lot. They have no concern for the welfare of the animal. They don’t care if ‘crossing’ is a bad idea, for health and behavioural reasons. So long as we continue with our need for fashionable dogs, the breeders will continue to churn them out through dangerous breeding.
An animal’s beauty cannot be dictated by fashion trends. Every animal is born beautiful.
When I walk into my home after a long day, my Great Dane can’t have enough of me. She missed me a lot, she says, in a language that only I understand. Only after a long, interactive session of exchanges of love, does she allow me to carry on with my ritual. She is sensitive and kind to the homeless dog I adopted a year ago. Her name is Mira and she is as beautiful.