Dog lovers are a different community . I realized this after we adopted a pet after a great deal of in house debate over merits and hazards of keeping a dog. For years we had considered the dog owners in the neighbor hood as queer people with an unwanted burden of looking after the pet all the time . We wondered as to how they cope up in times of crisis such as a family member falling ill when everyone is preoccupied with hospital responsibilities. I had apprehensions about us being able to tackle the dog training aspect.
However after initial teething troubles the things got settled. Our dog has now become an indispensable member of core family group, one who sometimes also influences decision making process. On my return from any trip outside the city or the children coming on vacation the emotional reception from our dog spices up the welcome home ceremonials. Thanks to internet we learnt so many things about breeding and training of dogs. There are newsletters and magazines pouring out so much wisdom on the topic that one feels a bit guilty for having remained unhooked with this emotional aspect of human existence. An hour long daily morning walk with the dog is now an indispensable part of my exercising schedule. Our shopping trips invariably include visit to pet shop. Whenever a new visitor opens up with topics of dog breeding our discussions go on and on. We are now a family of dog lovers in true sense of term.
But this new addition to my activity schedule has also opened up for my vision an aspect of Indian socials life which is rather disturbing. The pet keeping hobby seems to be gaining popularity by day. On an average during my morning rounds I see five to six dogs being taken out for walk by respective owners or servants. But most of the creatures seem to be not in adorable health conditions. It seems that a fifteen minute outing on footpath for easing themselves is the only exercising opportunity which their masters can provide to them. Some of them are always confined behind the respective gates and are perpetually howling in shrill tones whenever a healthy dog of respectable appearance passes by. In majority of cases the dogs are taken out by servants with a stick in hand. The language of stick is the only one which these poor creatures now seem to know. There is one lady politician who merely “releases” her rascal dog on the road every morning. Since these are only moments of freedom for the thoroughly untrained creature , he satisfies his animal instincts by growling at all and sundry, and chasing all morning walkers without any rhyme or reason.
Having experienced the affectionate and disciplined temperament of dog for more than a year now, I feel moved over the suffering of canines who have had misfortune of landing up with these pitiable masters who keep a pet for fun or as status symbol . A thoroughly organized and brave animal like dog definitely deserves only a master who can bring out his best qualities. For those who have no time to take the pet out for a walk or exercise a stuffed toy seems to be a better option.