Warm and happy in Winter wonderland!

Winter is a wonderland – our four-legged friends too need that extra care to keep them warm, hygienic and safe during this time.

Many fellow beings live with a misconception that their pets have a coat of fur so that they are able to withstand the cold better than humans. This is not the case. Like us, these fur-coated creatures too are accustomed to the warmth of indoor shelter and cold weather can be as hard on them as it is on us – humans. Puppies or senior dogs with arthritis or those who are sick with compromised immunity or renal conditions require close attention. Here are few tips to keep your furry being healthy and happy in this winter wonderland.
Outdoor fun activities when the sun shines: Keep her indoors, for the daily doses of Untitled-32parkland walks, you could resort to walking them out in late mornings or early evenings rather than going out in early wee hours or late nights. You may also enjoy fun games when sun is out; this partial sun bath shall energise both you and your pet with much needed vitamin D. Play fetch with toys, not sticks as they can cause choking and severe injuries. So, if your dog likes to chew and chase, pack a Frisbee, tennis ball or other toy and play together in the sun. When outdoors with your pet, watch for theses signs of exposure: Whining, Shivering, Appearing Anxious, Slowing Down, Stopping Movement and Looking for Places to Burrow.
If you notice any of these signs, return your pet indoors immediately.
Bundle up dressing: Long-haired breeds like Huskies do better in cold weather than short-haired breeds like Dachshunds.  Bundle up your dog. Dress your dog in a warm coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck; it should cover her back from the base of her tail and also protect her belly. Provide extra beddings such as rugs/blankets and ensure that they don’t sleep on uncarpeted areas or floors.
No overfeeding please: Because it takes more energy to stay warm when it’s cold. Your dog may be eyeing your food, understand those signs and feed him with small meals at regular intervals. However, make sure that diet is non-fatty and non-sugary. Likewise, water is vital for maintaining your pet’s health. Dogs can dehydrate even in winters as they do in summers.
Care for feet and grooming a must: Frosting is a serious problem during winter, especially for paws, tips of tails and ears. Just as we tend to develop foot cracks in winters, dogs tend to get cracks in their pads.
Trim your dog’s paws regularly in this season. If your dog has furry feet, trim the hair that grows between your dog’s toes and under his feet during the winter to prevent ice buildup between the paw pads. Thickened fur coat and brushing hairs regularly helps insulation.
Don’t leave them unattended! You should also not let your dog wander too far during his walks. Never leave him unattended.
Watch for the signs of frostbite and hypothermia: The risk of these conditions is especially high when the temperature dips. Frostbite typically affects poorly insulated body parts such as the tips of the ears and is evidenced by skin that is pale or red, swollen and painful or numb. Signs of hypothermia include slow pulse, shallow breathing, disorientation, collapse and unconsciousness. If you think your dog has either, call your vet immediately!
What to do for hypothermia:

  • Get your pet indoors and warm.
  • Wrap your pet in blankets and take him to the veterinarian.
  • Your veterinarian will, if necessary, monitor your pet’s heart rate and blood pressure and give warm fluids through an IV.

It’s known that dogs have innate art of survival; however your loyal friend needs that extra care. After all, who doesn’t want our buddy wagging his tail and leaping up to us in cold weather to give that priceless cuddling experience!
(Mayuresh Abhyankar is from Medical Services at SAVA Healthcare Limited).

Beginnings & Happy Memories

The first day of your pup/dog is very special. Happy homecoming is possible only with planning and doing the right thing – read, talk, explore. A lot of activities happen before the arrival of the pup- and a lot of work afterwards. It’s a new environment for him – people, smells, places to explore – they need extra love, care and attention. It requires patience, time and loads of love, but believe me, it turns out to be one of the most rewarding experiences and memorable memories.

My three canines – Beauty who looked like a bear cub, Teddy – the001 grizzly bear- a Pomerian with tonnes of attitude and Sparkle – were all tiny when they came. The excitement when we first met them was tremendous but each would miss their mom and littermates- and howl. But they easily settled in with lots of cuddles, warmth and of course work. Soon they were at their wagging, exploring and don’t mess with me- Best! Lots of patience and love gave them the confidence and kept them happy.

Beauty, my Labrador always wanted attention from my mother first. I specially remember an incident, when she actually pushed my sister off my mother’s lap to make room for herself – as if telling my mom – it’s me FIRST! My Black Beauty, as we used to call her, was an attention and sympathy seeker too. Once she got hurt and had her front paw bandaged- she came to each one of us and showed her bandaged paw. A boundless ball of energy-who my grandmother tried very hard to train- but Beauty had better ideas and would zip in our garden, always trying to evade her. All these memories really lighten and liven up the moment and make the heart smile. I see the same magic between Sparkle and Suhaan – my six-year-old son. The beginning of the day what three of us look forward to most is cuddled up canine moments! Sparkle is Suhaan’s self appointed alarm clock- feels delighted to wake him for school and once he’s up –Sparkle enjoys all the cuddles…

Children bond well with pets and are ever so excited- recently was a pleasure to see three-year-old Zaisha bond with Bingo- all of four months – a zesty Golden Labrador. Zaisha- took charge- her only care and concern Bingo. Not only that when Zaisha went for a three weeks holiday- she missed and worried only about Bingo.

In this issue, we have collected experiences from pet parents about the first day of pup at their home and much more. We are sure it would revive all your past memories and make you prepared for another beginning.
Dogs & Pups  team and Sparkle wish you a Magical, Sparkling & a FUNtastic year ahead.


Happy winter… Grooming, – By Varun Daroch

A well-groomed pooch looks like an angel any time. Let’s make our pooch look good and feel good, even during the chilly winter. Winter can be hard on your pooch. Make sure the pet stays as warm as possible to prevent chill and illnesses. And it is important to note that grooming is a must in winter. Here are a few tips to help your pooch shine:

  • Brush your short-coated pooch at least 3-5 times a week to keep shedding to minimum. 023Frequent brushing in winter will also keep your dog’s coat shiny, clean, and healthy.
  • Long-haired dogs also need grooming regularly to keep them properly insulated. Use a good slicker brush and a metal comb to groom your dog. Regular brushing, at least once a day, will keep your dog’s coat tangle-free.
  • If you make your long-haired dogs wear dog sweaters and coats, it can encourage underarm matting, so keep an eye for those tangles and comb them out before they become mats.
  • The winter season can be very hard on your dog’s paws. So, regular paw grooming and maintenance can minimise problems such as cracking, sores, blisters and infections.
  • Examine the foot pads and between the toes for any inflammation.
  • Use Vaseline on your pet’s paws to protect them from drying.
  • Trim the hair between your pet’s toes to reduce the chance of collecting debris.
  • When the need be dry clean or bathe your dog, be sure it is done fast in a warm environment.
  • Since cold weather may make your dog’s skin dry and itchy, choose a moisturising shampoo and conditioner for your dog.
  • Brush your dog thoroughly before giving a bath. Make sure you have removed any mats 024and excess hair before bath.
  • Use warm water to bathe your dog. The water should be warm enough to be comfortable for your dog but not so hot as to burn the skin.
  • Put a number of towels on the floor. The towels will help dry the dog quickly and absorb any dripping water while drying your pet.
  • Use a blow dryer to dry your dog quickly in winter. Use it on lowest heat setting and keep it at least six inches from your dog’s skin, so that you don’t burn him.
  • Use a dry shampoo if you do not want to bathe your dog when it’s too cold. Apply a liberal amount of the spray to the coat, brush it into the hair, and towel dry the dog.

Your dog is now clean and tidy. Happy winter!

(Varun Daroch runs Shevar Spa & Grooming Parlour for Pets (established in 2008) in Koramangala, Bengaluru. He is a certified canine and feline groomer trained in Singapore;

puppy care

Happy ‘n’ healthy

When we bring home a pup… we are bringing home a friend, a companion, a reliable and trustworthy member of the family. Hence, finding a healthy pup is important. Here are a few insights for adopting a healthy puppy.

Case files…

It’s been years since young Scamp died on a gloomy day, but the memory of the Spaniel Cocker pup withpuppy care Sharmila and her family is still fresh. Scamp was just two months, in a few days, the young pup suffered from a kind of fever which subsided immediately after medication. But his ailment continued as it was detected as canine parvovirus. Scamp succumbed to the dreaded disease, leaving everyone including Sharmila’s daughter Shaynaya who was just seven years old then, into unbearable grief. “I couldn’t bear the sorrow that my daughter was into when Scamp passed away so untimely,” shared Sharmila. After one year, two new tiny balls of fur came into Sharmila’s family, today the duo have become full grown adults named Jack (Golden Retriever) and Cody (Spaniel Cocker).

Similar views are shared by Anjali Kumar from Faridabad who never believed that their Spaniel Cocker would succumb to illness. “It was sad and I still feel the pain of losing my little angel who was so adorable,” said Anjali. The little one developed a kind of cold for a few days. The vet tried his best to save him, but destiny had predestined something else! “I was totally dumfounded,” recalled Anjali. She has just adopted another Spaniel Cocker and hopes everything will be fine.

Many pet parents, who have gone through these phases, know how painful it is to see the poor pup wilt away. What went wrong? Why did not these puppies bloom? It is either because the pup was too young for adoption or he was not healthy? Are these puppies from a puppy mill? Are their parents not vaccinated?…etc.

The right age to adopt puppies is around 6-12 weeks, as this is the period opuppy caref socialisation of the puppy. The best way to win the puppies or adult dog’s confidence is by brushing their coat regularly. Their emotional quotient and bonding with the pet parent increase with brushing.

Information from the breeder/pet shop…

  • The foremost thing will be to have a look at the parents as this will help you to know the temperament and size your pup may attain. You must ask for the parents’ pedigree and health card. The pedigree will help you to rule out some common genetic problems like hip dysplasia, dumbness and blindness. The growth of a puppy is a triangle with Genetics, Nutrition and Environment.
  • If the mother is vaccinated regularly, the pups will be protected against major diseases at least till eight weeks through maternal anti-bodies transferred to them transplacentally and through milk.
  • You should ask if the puppies were on mother’s milk which transfers a lot of anti-bodies to them.
  • The diet of the puppy is a must as it is recommended to continue the same diet and schedule for few days. The puppies need at least 3-7 days to adjust to a new diet. The changeover has to be in phased manner.
  • The date of birth will help you to decide the course of treatment, vaccination and training.
  • Do collect the pedigree certificate of the puppy.

Puppy is in good health…

  • The best indicator of good health will be his body weight, coat condition which are the mirror of health.

Puppy care at home…

  • Before you buy a puppy consult a vet to know the type of dog who suits your requirement. There are breeds specific for a particular purpose like watch dogs, friendly dogs, guide dogs…select the breed accordingly.
  • Make a list of things your puppy needs like food, bedding, bowl, comb, etc and buy them before hand.
  • Try to create an environment which is similar to the one which he was staying. This will reduce the separation anxiety.
  • You can pick a towel smeared with the mother odour which will boost the puppy.
  • Try to be at home for at least 4-7 days till the puppy adjusts to the change in routine.
  • If you have picked up a pup less than three weeks, you need to bottle feed and then stroke the private area to defecate and pass urine.

Meet the vet…

  • Please take an appointment before you pick up the pup.
  • He will check up if the pup is carrying any diseases mainly ecto and endo parasites.
  • He can check if he has any congenital problems viz. bite problems, cleft palate, undescended testicle, patellar luxation, cardiac murmurs, eye sight, hearing or any other breed predisposing diseases so that you can inform the breeder.

Health signs to look out for…

Fever, reluctant to eat, diarrhea, vomiting, nasal discharge, lethargic, not playing or responding to your call, frequent urination, constipation, abnormal coloured stools (black, mucus). Any of these or in combination can be an indicator of minor or major illness and needs a vet to check the puppy. Some puppies start retching if they have choked themselves. They start salivating profusely if they are bitten by insects or have licked some poison (especially after a medicated bath for ectoparasites). If they have chewed on a live wire they will be in a state of shock. The history is very important as the vet can diagnose at the earliest rather than depending on tests.

Canine parvo virus…

It’s basically a virus which targets and multiplies in fast multiplying cells which is the gastrointestinal tract. If the puppy is very young (less than three months), it can also target the heart as it is also a developing organ. As the mortality is very high it is best to prevent them by vaccinating the mother. The symptoms vary from high fever, dull, inappetance, vomiting, salivating, diarrhea which is foul smelling (rotten egg) with mucus and blood. One needs to take him to the vet as some bacterial infection can also cause same symptoms. Here history of mother’s vaccination will help in differential diagnosis. Now a days, we have kits to diagnose easily and quickly.
–Dr BV Srikanth,
Prakruthi Veterinary Hospital, Bengaluru

Before bringing the pup home…

Ensure the breeder should be genuine. It should not be puppy mill. The breeder should be able to tell you both the pros and cons of the breed. Right age for puppy to adopt is after 60 days of birth that is 8 weeks…till that they should get mother’s milk to increase immunity. Ask for vaccination of both parents and their overall health (if they have any problem like hip dysplasia or heart problem or any genetic disease), their deworming status and breed papers from the breeder or pet shop. When you approach puppy, he should be active and bright eyed. In male pup, see both testicles are there or not. A good breeder or rescue group will have no issue if you wish to have your vet to examine the animal before bringing him home.

At home…

The first two weeks of pup adoption are crucial. Common diseases in this period include gastroenteritis caused by virus, fever and skin problems like puppy mange. Sudden food change can trigger stomach upset; besides separation anxiety can also be seen.

The vaccine schedule for puppies is usually 6, 9 and 12 weeks with the first rabies booster being at 16 weeks. We can deworm regularly to avoid internal parasite infestation and dusting with mild medicated powder to help them getting rid of ticks, fleas and lice.

Till their vaccination course is complete, do not take them out for a stroll on road. There are test kits available to detect parvovirus and distemper virus infections which are non-invasive–your vet can advice you about the same.

–Dr Geeta Parab, MVSc,
Pluto Pet Clinic, Mumbai

Here’s how you can ensure that you are adopting a healthy puppy

–by Dr SP Gautam

The right age…

The right age of puppy for adoption is 30 to 45 days, however in exceptional cases, this can be extended up to 90 days.

First things first….

It is very important that the puppy is adopted from a reputed breeder or pet shop. Here’s a checklist for what to ask them:

  • Before adopting/buying a puppy from breeder/pet shop, see that the place from where we are picking up the puppy is genuine, reputed and reliable. Don’t buy from a stranger. It is better to buy a puppy from a registered kennel.
  • Insist on seeing the parents.
  • It is better if the puppy is registered with Kennel Club of India (KCI) or with any other reputed kennel club.
  • Obtain registration certificate from the seller. If he promises to supply it in a few days or week, then wait for the certificate.
  • If the age of puppy is more than 30 days, then ensure that he has been given the Parvo Vaccine shot. Ask for a certificate from a registered vet.
  • Enquire about the eating habits of the puppy, what kind of food is being given to the puppy and its frequency.
  • Also ensure that the puppy has been dewormed at the age of 15 to 20 days.
  • All vaccination and deworming records should be available.
  • Also ask about illness, if any.

Ensuring puppy is healthy…

Once you know the breeder or pet shop is genuine, look at the pups. Here’s how to find a healthy one:

  • A healthy pup will look attractive and active.
  • Ribs and pelvic point should not be prominent and skinny.
  • The buccal cavity/ oral cavity/mouth cavity of the pup should be pink.
  • There should not be any natural discharge from nostrils or eyes.
  • The ears should be clean pinkish in appearance from inside. There should be no discharge.
  • If possible, see the consistency of the stool, it should not be loose or watery.
  • The joints of legs should not be enlarged or swollen and legs should be almost straight.
  • Hair coat should give a lustrous look. Move your hand in the opposite direction of hair coat and look for any ectoparasites like ticks, etc.
  • Check if the puppy walks in a normal way… check for lameness or any other defect.
  • Put a little food before him, see if he eats or not.

Meet the parents…

Whether the puppy is registered or not, you must insist to see the parents of the puppy, as puppy will always acquire the characters from his parents. After seeing the parents, you become sure that the puppy which you are adopting shall grow as per his parents. If the mother is real, then definitely she will like to lick her puppy and simultaneously the puppy will also try to suck the nipples. In this way, you will be doubly sure about the genuineness of your puppy.

Meet the vet…

Once you have selected your bundle of joy, it is time to meet the vet.

  • Before taking a puppy home you must visit your nearest known vet.
  • Show him the puppy first and ask whether the puppy in question is true to his breed, healthy and is disease free.
  • Show him the papers you have collected from the breeder/shop, including the registration certificate, vaccination and deworming records.
  • Feeding schedule should be collected from the vet for that particular breed.
  • Ask about the tonics/medicines which are to be given.
  • Enquire about his bedding and clothing, especially if the weather is cool.
  • Your vet will advise you about vaccination and deworming schedule, follow it strictly.
  • Ask for the bathing and brushing/combing schedule as well.
  • Ask for the habits of natural calls and how to house-train him.

The first two weeks of adoption…

As expected, the first two weeks of adoption are crucial for you and the pup. Here are the common diseases/complications faced by young puppies during this time:

  • If the puppy is from a vaccinated mother, then the puppy generally does not get any contagious disease up to the age of four weeks.
  • If the mother is unvaccinated, then there are chances of getting Canine Parvo virus infection which is most common and fatal in puppy.
  • Digestive disorder due to infected food or over-feeding is also very common.
  • If the weather is cool and the puppy is not kept well protected, he may develop cold/temperature which decreases the immunity and further causes complications.
  • If the weather is warm and humid and puppy is not kept in a clean environment, he may develop tick infestation and skin infection on the body which may prove fatal.
  • Eating of foreign particles like chappal, clothes, papers, terracotta items, sand from lawn, etc are common problems if proper feeding and medicines are not given in time.
  • If your puppy starts vomiting or develops loose motions, consult your vet immediately.

Taking care…

We can protect the puppies from the common diseases in the early age by simple ways like:

  • Regular vaccination and deworming as per advise of your vet.
  • Regular and balanced food.
  • Protection from weather.
  • Maintenance of good hygiene.
  • Unless the vaccination schedule is completed, don’t let him mix with other puppies and keep away from stray dogs.

Health signs to look out for…

Here are some basic symptoms that show that puppy is suffering from something:

  • The pup is not eating
  • Loose/ watery/ bloody motion.
  • Vomiting.
  • Excessive salivation, dullness, laziness,
  • Not responding to your call.
  • Thickening of joints especially of legs, bending of leg bones.
  • Some discharge from eyes and ears.
  • Hair coat becomes rough.

If all these factors are kept in mind, puppy adoption will become easy and you would be blessed with a healthy and happy pup. Happy puppy parenting!

(Dr SP Gautam of Enn Kay Pet Clinic, Gurgaon is president of SPCA Gurgaon and member (Co-Opted) Animal Welfare Board of India).

“The right age for puppy adoption is 45 days after birth. It is very important to take the certificate and health status of the male and female dogs from the breeder or the pet shop. It is better to take your veterinarian along so that he can examine the puppy and help you select a healthy pup. Once the pup is home, rear him with affection and provide him hygienic food and water. Some of the common diseases faced by young puppies in the first two weeks of adoption include worm infestation, parvo, distemper and leptospirosis, etc but we can prevent these by vaccination and deworming. Watch out for poor appetite, vomiting, foul smelling diarrhea and the puppy being dull. For canine parvo virus, vet will examine the fecal material and do ELISA test. ”
–Dr M Chandrasekar,
Madras Veterinary College, Chennai

Raja… you are now part of a happy family!

Raja, my GSD, is today a healthy, active, playful and obedient pet. But, he was not so one year before. One day, I got a message from my friend, who israja also a canine trainer that Raja, a German Shepherd, is abused and tortured by his pet parents. They are planning to abandon him. I instantly took out my car and reached their place.

His pet parents were happy to know that we have come to take Raja away…probably they just wanted to get rid of him! The sight of Raja was heartening…he looked sick and was obviously suffering from several injuries and diseases. He had scanty fur and his nails were very long due to carelessness. But he was active and happy to go out.

I brought Raja home to my three pets – one German Shepherd girl and two German Spitz girls. I took him to the vet and Raja got proper treatment for tick fever and other ailments. Today, he is a strong and active canine…but he still faces problems in adjusting with other pets and people…maybe his previous wounds have still not healed! Nevertheless, Raja has emerged as a true winner and a happy family member!

Dognapping with happy ending

“People often accept the loss of their pet and move on. But that’s wrong. We won’t do that for our kids, then how can we lose our four-legged kids just like that,” says Sherry Sharma. It was a lapse of barely 20 minutes – but it made time standstill for the whole family. The main gate had been left open by mistake and it took someone no time to notice that the little Cordelia had ventured outside, unattended.

By the time the family realized the missing baby, she had already gone far away from them. Frantic search parties were set out in all possible directions to look for her. A watchman, who had been on duty some few houses down the road, said he had seen such a dog close to where he was sitting. Before he could even realize, a man walked up and picked up the dog, saying he had been looking for his dog.

The whole day, Sudhir looked everywhere but in vain. In the meantime, without wasting time, Sudhir and Sherry immediately got in touch with the local cable operator and had the scroller on their missing dog running throughout, with a cash reward announced as well. The kids were beyond consolation and Shivani, their daughter, who was very attached to Cordelia, cried relentlessly.

The next day, Sherry and Sudhir decided to go full throttle again. The couple distributed fliers and posters were put up in their locality and adjoining areas. And yet, there was no news of Cordelia.

They also contacted all the vets they could think of and even got in touch with the animal NGOs, but to no avail. For the couple, it was a very traumatic experience, because they had to keep a brave front before the kids. The minute Sudhir would see Shivani’s eyes – expectant and empty – he would go out again. “I couldn’t bear to look at her face. It was an expression I cannot forget,” he added. But the couple refused to give up. Sudhir would diligently go out every day and ask each person in the area, for any news of Cordelia. Sherry on her part, called up every one she knew, for some help. “I refused to give up. I was determined to find Cordelia, no matter what,” she said.

Then on the sixth day, a friend from an NGO told Sherry to get in touch with a lady called Renu Sharma. She said the lady would be able to help her since she had a similar experience a few months ago. After listening to the whole story, Renu advised Sherry to go to Kotla and look for the dog. “It’s a place where most stolen dogs are kept. They are either sold off or kept for breeding. I found my dog there and I hope you do too,” she said. Within minutes, Sherry called up Sudhir and he was on his way to Kotla with one of his friends.

It was after hours that someone said he had seen a similar dog in a house down the road (he gave them the exact location). Sudhir and his friend rushed to where they were directed. But on reaching there, when they asked about Cordelia, they were met with strict resistance. “What nonsense is this? We don’t have your dog,” they kept saying. When Sudhir refused to move, they got a male dog of the same breed.

Totally dejected, Sudhir and his friend made their way home. By now, much as he hated to admit it, Sudhir had lost all hope. And he couldn’t bear to go home and face the crestfallen faces of his family again. But the next day, Sherry kept insisting that he go to Kotla again. “Let us at least try our best,” she said. He understood and went back there again. In Kotla, his friend stopped at an optician to get his glasses mended, the person at the counter said softly, “You are looking for your dog, aren’t you?” “Yes, why? Have you seen the dog anywhere?” asked Sudhir, his heart beating faster than ever. “Yes, I have, it’s at the same house where you went looking yesterday. I was there when you came,” he added.

“But we saw the dog. It’s a male one, not ours,” said Sudhir. “That’s the other one. Yours is on the first floor, under the bed. Go and look for her,” he said. Sudhir thanked him and promised to deposit the cash reward as soon as he got the dog. Then they practically ran to the house they had visited earlier. They demanded to go and check the dog on the first floor and threatened to call the police if they didn’t comply. Somehow, the family realized that the men meant serious trouble, and they finally relented. They all went up and finally pulled out Cordelia, from under the bed. Sudhir let out a groan when he saw his little girl. They had chopped off the hair on her body and ears and she had lost a lot of weight. She let out a squeal of delight when she saw Sudhir who ran forward to hold her and couldn’t wait to get back home. “More than anything, I couldn’t wait to see Shivani’s reaction,” he said.

When he came home with Cordelia, it was like coming from a battlefield with the crown. The whole family was ecstatic and couldn’t stop screaming and shouting in celebration. And now, after the nightmare ended, Sudhir said a lot of credit for recovering Cordelia went to Sherry. “She was sure we will find her. She left no stones unturned. It was almost like she was possessed and would think of nothing but ways and means to find Cordelia. If not her, I would have given up long back,” he added.

On her part, Sherry said she never allowed herself to accept the fact that Cordelia was lost. “We have to be aggressive in our approach, our search. People often accept the loss and move on. But that’s wrong. We won’t do that for our kids, then how can we lose our four-legged kids just like that,” she said.

Sudhir and Sherry have proved to be “pet parents” in the true sense. The key in such cases is – Never Give Up, if you lose your pet. The road will be difficult and stormy, but if you try really hard, you will get your four-legged family member back – to light up your life with pure joy, all over again…

Happy New Year

First things first, and the first item on my agenda is to wish every reader a Very Happy New Year.  May the days ahead abound in happiness and a 001sense of achievement.

To our readers, it goes without saying that you love dogs and are most likely to have one as a pet at home. In that case I guess the doggie will be in for some extra special care and attention as the New Year commences.

Unfortunately, we cannot but be totally aware of the horrible devastation caused by the tsunamis. Human life and property, animal life and ecology – all destroyed in heart-wrenching agony. There were many reported incidents that animals sensed the impending danger by detecting subtle shifts in the environment. While the human loss was catastrophic, animals that were free and unchained fled to safety. The National Geographic magazine reported that elephants were seen running away and bats flying. They also mentioned two pet dogs who refused to go for their daily runs on the beach that morning. Along India’s Cuddalore coast, where thousands of people perished, buffaloes, goats, and dogs were found unharmed. But the fact remains that thousands of animals have been rendered homeless. There are teams that have gone to rescue them but, like children, they will need lifelong care. Money is desperately needed, says Maneka Gandhi.

Along with all the alarming tsunami reports, there is a story I must share with you: Nearly two years ago, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, a well-known dog lover, stopped the killing of strays and proposed that they be trained to detect bombs and drugs. The monarch also inspired the idea of taking their help for the rescue efforts after the titanic wave engulfed coastal areas. As a result, the Thai army has deployed dogs to facilitate search in the devastated areas. I conclude with an appeal?:

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.” (Edward Everett Hale) So contribute your share to help the homeless, starting 2005 on a positive note.