Pet peeves: of cynophobia, leftover food, abandoning pet dogs
Pet Peeves: Of Cynophobia, Leftover Food, Abandoning Pet Dogs. It hardly pays attention to the drama around him. Sometimes I wish that at least it would let a token bark to scare them away.
I have a massive, handsome dog and it is the gentlest creature. When we go for a walk, the street dogs aggressively bark at him. Our pet does not retort at all. It hardly pays attention to the drama around him. Sometimes I wish that at least it would let a token bark to scare them away.
But the gentle creature does not seem to grasp that notion. Instead it whimpers a little as though it wants to get friendly with them. It makes all kinds of loving sounds in response or it chooses to ignore if they are still aggressive. The mean dogs have no option but to go away or give up and be quiet as they don’t get any response from him.
Having such a gentle natured creature, I am puzzled when I come across people who are afraid of dogs. They are not the strangers who slither away when they see us from far during our walk. They are the friends, acquaintances who already know about our pet’s nature. Yet they seem to be hardwired by fear.
I wonder what terrible experiences they have gone through to be in such a state. Were they charged by a pit bull or bitten by any undisciplined pet? I dared to ask a few and it puzzled me all the more when I heard the negative. Then what is it makes them so fearful is what I cannot fathom.
Cynophobia is the name for such behavior. Fortunately science gives a name for almost all irrational behaviors. Perhaps it is not nice of me to say irrational, but when one is at the receiving end of graceless behavior from known people it is pacifying at least to grumble few unpleasant words.
It is not comical to watch people from far who change the direction when they observe us walking on the same sidewalk as them. It is a bother to watch such wariness marked by silliness. Sometimes young guys move away with reverence giving way of priority to us. Initially I wondered when did the young become so humble in nature.
Later I have realized the reality that the movement aside is not due to reverence but that of wariness instead. The most annoying thing is when I observe friends who take a step back when they see us or who pretend to look in another direction trying to avoid eye contact. Don’t they know how wide the eye span is and that the pretense strips them off their respect.
Small children who are on stroll with grandparents are cautioned when they look wide-eyed at the dog. Don’t the grand folks realize they are inculcating fear in them and killing their curiosity? Grown ups need to understand the difference between pet dogs and street dogs.
Should not they teach to learn sensitivity to other creatures? On one hand they teach and recite mythological stories that dog is the Avatar of Lord Shiva and the need to pay reverence. Need not hug and smother the dog, but at least what about maintaining civic decency of not running helter-skelter.
On the other hand there’s another extreme set of over generous souls who feed the street dogs. How I wish that they feed them with nutritious food, instead of leftover food. With the inexpensive glucose biscuits in their pockets, they whistle for the dogs to scamper towards them with wagging tails. I wish I have the gumption to tell them not to feed the sugar and salt laden biscuits which are not good for canine constitution. But the philanthropic attitude oozing out of them scares me to pass on the information.
Seriously, don’t they know about Dog biscuits? How about offering boiled eggs to the nutritionally starved dogs. That is true nurturing and I genuinely hope these generous beings understand the idea of charity and sharing.
The show dogs in the advertisements and movies make people unrealistic assumptions about dog’s nature. Dogs don’t do the exaggerated super dog antics. They are as much common mortals as we are. Like us - plain lazy, reluctant to exercise and fond of food- but unlike us they have no other concerns in the world.
The master has to earn, work and look after the family. The children have to study and learn and cultivate interests and hobbies. But what do the dogs need to do? World is just one big toilet for them where they can relieve ’n’ number of times. In fact I am envious of their state of existence… eat and sleep.
How lucky they are! But Alas! Not at all times and not all the pets have this kind of existence. On the other end of spectrum are the ugly incidences of abandoning pet dogs. The reasons for abandoning are many. People want to go on an exotic vacation, and then to look after a dog is a hindrance.
Just like some senior citizens are left to their fate, old dogs are left at far off places to die or abandoned quietly at crowded bazaars. The care required to look after a dog seems to be a burden. Simply shirking the responsibility by abandoning is thought of as an easy way out.
Puppies are bought when the children pester parents for a companion and are abandoned once the puppies are through the cute puppy stage and are fully grown. There is usually an increase in the number of dogs abandoned after summer holidays!
The fancy expensive breeds are bought for exorbitant prices as show pieces. Once the amount of patience, time and effort required to nurture a dog is realized, they are simply abandoned or kept chained without any exercise.
Some picture them as stress busters and buy a puppy for a fancy price. What they don’t realize is the time and effort that goes into rearing one. The creature that was assumed to offer gratuitous fellowship requires company too.
It cannot be left alone for prolonged hours at home when the master goes out. The neighbors who have to put up with howling and barking of the lonely creature complain. Then the hapless creatures are abandoned quietly.
Once reared in the family, the pets assume they are a part of the family. Inflicting mental trauma by mercilessly deserting is deplorable and has to be stopped. The pet’s stable world gets toppled when they are abandoned.
All of a sudden the pet does not understand where her family is? She does not understand that her adorable master has vanished and does not come back. She does not understand that it is homeless now. She does not know what to do when the street dogs attack her, nor does she know how to scavenge for food.
The emotive dogs become traumatized which causes them to be nervous wrecks. Some waste away to die a slow horrible death. Can we imagine their insecurity when they are left abandoned? It is not any different from that of a human child. If the luck is on their side a very miniscule number may be rescued.
My intense wish is that banning the sale of puppies in cities becomes a reality. At least ban or restrictions on sales would certainly limit the breeding of dogs and hence make the puppies less available for sale for people who buy out of fancy without much thought.
The commercial aspect of breeding leads to unscrupulous acts by breeders such as abandoning after their prime life. They conveniently get rid of the dogs when they have outlived their purpose of procreating.
Not many know that buying a dog without a pedigree certificate means indirectly supporting unscrupulous breeders. Some breeders dump ugly puppies or puppies with deformities as they don’t fetch a price.
If banning is unrealistic, least one can hope is for a requirement of a law to register all pet dogs and a mandatory microchip so that the master could be tracked. Until then I hope neighbors, friends be able to keep an eye on sudden disappearance of pets from homes. Not all dogs get lost, they are lost on purpose.
In cities there is not much space for humans to be comfortable, and the domesticated dogs with not much room to move around in the confined spaces is also an issue to be thought about. Dogs are to be there where there is adequate place for them to romp around like at the country side.
I truly wish that dogs are not domesticated in cities at all. Until the issues of registering all pets and banning sales become a reality, let us hope that masters will be responsible and compassionate towards their pets. Cruelty inflicted on these voiceless creatures has to be stopped. After all, the pets did not beg humans to be brought into their homes.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of our organisation.
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