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Making your home a safe haven for your pooch

Pooches are curious and love to taste everything. Hence, it is very important to stash away some of the common household items, which may contain toxic substances and harm your dog.

You are responsible for your dog’s safety and to do this, just crouch on the fl oor and see the potential threats for him. To make it easier for you, here’s a list of potential hazards:Heavy objects: Do not store heavy objects like large television sets on furniture that is very light. Keep solid furniture near wall sockets which are not in use and keep all your electric equipment out of the reach of your dog.Electrical chords: Always keep away electrical cords behind furniture or secure them behind a baseboard so that your curious dog doesn’t accidentally start playing with them. See that there are no electric wires trailing on the floor, teach your dog not to touch or chew them.

Sharp objects: Always remember to keep knives and other sharp objects inside the drawer or a kitchen cabinet.

Pesticides/cleaning products: The daily household items that we use like pesticides and cleaning products, should be stored in an area that the dog never enters. A locking cabinet is a good place.

Small objects: Remove from your dogs reach coins, safety pins and needles because a dog can swallow them and choke himself.

Other small objects: Keep all poisons locked; besides you should lock in the cupboard washing soda, shoe polish, ink, match sticks etc as they contain highly toxic substances which can harm the health of your dog.

Household plants: Many household plants are highly dangerous for dogs; special mention should be made of ferns, aloe vera and ivy plants.

Mouthwash: Mouth wash contains boric acid, which is dangerous for a dog, keep it closed in your bathroom cabinet.

Mothballs: Mothballs are also highly dangerous for dogs.

Batteries: Batteries of all types are a potential danger to your pet. Keep them under lock and key, when not in use.

Bleach: Keep all bleaching products, nicely and securely in your kitchen cabinet as they are very toxic if ingested by a dog.

Fertilizers: Fertilizers are also harmful to your dog. Be careful and do not allow your dog to lick any fertilizer, which is spilled. If ingested, it can cause poisoning.

Chocolates: Chocolates and cocoa contain a substance called bromine, which is very harmful to dog’s health.

Dustbins: Keep your dustbin in a safe place, many things you throw in the dustbin can otherwise be common household items but these can prove dangerous to your dog, if he eats or chews them.

When to call the vet? If you notice that your pet has ingested any items above, immediately take the harmful substance away from your pet and call your veterinarian. Give all information correctly about the nature and quantity of the ingested product. If there’s a need, immediately rush your precious one to the vet. As they say, prevention is always better than cure, so do puppy-proof your home.

Bringing home a bundle of joy!

Whenever you adopt a puppy, you bring home 12-15 years of love, joy and companionship. The puppy gets a new loving home and blesses you with 001unconditional love and loyalty.

While some of you would prefer to adopt a pedigree dog, others might consider adopting our Indian pariahs, who are healthy, sturdy and of course as lovable as any other pedigree dog. You can adopt such pooches from animal shelters in your area. These animal shelters take care of the vaccination and early socialization needs of the puppy and will also guide you towards responsible pet parenting. Alternatively, you can also pick a pup from the streets near your house. There is no doubt, you will be blessed with a beautiful and sturdy canine.

A few will like to adopt a pedigree dog due to liking for a particular breed. For such pet parents, it is important to choose the right breeder. Choose a reputed ethical breeder, for whom puppy-rearing is passion to care for these amazing friends. Once you choose the breeder, take full information about the puppy you wish to adopt, including his lineage, his vaccination, his feeding charts, etc. Also, take a look at his parents and see if cleanliness in kennel is maintained. He should be able to give you full information about the breed, the pup’s family history and guide you on how to take care of the breed.

Once you are smitten by a pup, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t bring that pup home and give him your love ‘n’ care. Pedigree or stray – some things remain common – the love and devotion that one gets by adopting a puppy.

Sparkle is also nodding his head in approval and he is really happy to see lovely doggies living happily with their pet parents. He also wishes you all a safe and prosperous Diwali with your near and dear one.

– Shweta

Home at last !!!

A pup’s entry into your house is an occasion to celebrate and enjoy. But it might take a while for the new member to settle in. Until he feels safe and secure, give the darling all the love, time and attention he needs, before he adopts your house as his own, and you as his whole world!!!

The first time your pup enters your home, it is most natural to feel excited and be over-indulgent while showering all your love and attention. We want to do nothing but watch him jump and play, hear his squeaky woof-woof, and laugh at his antics that are sheer pleasure to the eyes!!! But what we don’t realise is that for the pup, to suddenly come into whole new environment, is an overwhelming experience, and he might feel scared and lost initially. Since he misses his familiar environment, he might whimper and whine for a few days.

In fact, the first two-three days are the most crucial since he will feel lonely and might need the extra love and care of the new family. Insecurity often weighs him down and is often reflected in his lack of bladder control. Some even lose their appetite from the nervousness they feel. After all, their whole life has changed suddenly. And the most sincere way to show your love for the pup is to give him time to adjust to his new environment.

Safe and secure

At this point, it is imperative to make the pup feel safe and secure. For this, try not to play too much with him or make him do things that he is scared of. Don’t force him to come to you either. If he does on his own, then love and cuddle him, like you would do to a child. They are after all newly born babies, who have just been weaned from their mothers and families.

Allow them to get used to your house space, so that they get familiar with the place. You can try venturing out further once they are more at ease with your company.

You also need to take care that not too many people come over to see him initially as it will unsettle him and create a sense of panic in him. Once he is comfortable with his family and knows whom to trust, he will be able to deal better with strangers in the house, instead of feeling afraid. Many pups, if they are forced to come and socialise with strangers when they are not ready, tend to develop certain traits like hiding under the bed/table or even relieving their bladder in fear. Your friends can wait till he is more at ease with you and your family. As for you, give the pup lots of love, toys, comfort, attention and a place for him to be alone if he wants it. Routine and security help them to settle in.

Helping him explore

But once he is used to the house, then be prepared for his playful antics, which he will indulge in at length. He will explore every nook and corner of the house and will want to be part of everything that you do. At this juncture, it is important to involve him in the playful activities, so that he feels part of the family. Take him for walks, for short drives and get him to play with his toys or in the park where he can jump and have his share of exercise. The more he plays, the healthier he will become.

And once you make a routine of playing with him at any given point of time in the day, believe me, he will be there all geared up, when it’s time!!! Most vets are of the opinion that the more a pup explores, the better his growth will be.

Creatures of routine

Pups are creatures of routine, and so, make sure you follow the routine as much as possible. This includes, waking up on time, taking him out for walks on time, playing with him on certain regular times (such as the evening, when you are back from work), allowing him to sleep on time and feeding him at the same time everyday. That is the easiest way to make a dog feel at home and get settled.

Pups also need care according to the changing seasons. The poor darlings cannot take care to keep themselves warm or cool, so it is the responsibility of the owners to make sure they are well cared for. Make sure they have their coats and blankets in winters so they don’t catch a cold. Also give him ample toys to take care of his teething problems, so as to make sure he does not chew anything valuable or dangerous. Be gentle but firm while scolding him for pulling at things which are not good for him, such as shoes, bags etc.

Sleeping concerns

One area that needs to be looked into is his first few nights at home. He might not feel comfortable initially, so he will not be able to sleep at all. Many owners tend to get upset with the whimpering of the pups at night, but they need to realise that he is only scared and is missing his familiar surroundings. So try and bear with him and soothe his frayed nerves by making him feel safe. In a few days, he will get used to the house and the people and will learn to sleep well.

Also, if you have earmarked certain place for him to sleep in, make sure it stays that way. Once he gets used to that place, they will not be able to sleep anywhere else. He should never be held back from his nap, as they tend to get cranky for lack of sleep, just like babies. Never disturb a puppy while he is sleeping.

In the end, remember that it is actually babies you are dealing with, and just as you put with late nights wailing, the nappies, the lack of sleep when you get a new born baby, so is the treatment you need to accord to these four-legged babies. And believe me, with every passing day, the amount of pleasure they will give you by their very presence will make you pat your back for the beautiful decision you have taken, and for the bundle of joy you got home.

– by Amrita Sharma

A Dog’s Life Moti from his home in heaven, Lynn de Souza

‘A dog’s life’ is narrated by Moti from his home in heaven. –by Lynn de Souza Till now…Moti was picked up by Golu from his littermates and brought to Brindavan building. He befriends Tiger, another dog and the kind-hearted Pinto girl who takes care of both of them. Moti is hurt and driven away from Brindavan, seeks refuge in drain but eventually with the help of Pinto girl gets acceptance at Brindavan. He meets Rani and fathers a pup. Facing other brutalities of life, he and Tiger are caught by death dog van but are rescued by the Pinto girl. Tiger gets ill and is driven from Brindavan and suffers a painful death…

I was eight years old when Tiger died, with still a couple of good doggy years left inside me. But I grew lonely, and missed him very much. Rani now practically stayed all the time at Brindavan, and kept me company.

The Pintos had started feeding her daily. When they came back from their holiday, and Harichander told them about Tiger, I was surprised to see how upset the mother got. The tears stood out in her eyes, and she rushed off upstairs. “Mum saved Tiger’s life so many times when he was little”, the Pinto girl explained to me.

Rani stopped having puppies. She too had started to age a little, and her wandering days were over. We both kept watch over the building at night, but our hearts weren’t in it, after we saw the shabby treatment Tiger had received.

But the Pinto girl reminded me that for every wrong act, there is a corresponding right one happening somewhere in the world, so I should not bear any grudges against Harichander and company, and be grateful that I still enjoyed a peaceful life. Peaceful it was, but that only lasted till Rex came along.

Rex was a German Shepherd who came into the building as a pup in the apartment immediately neighbouring the Pinto’s. By the time he was a year old, and I was nine, he was the terror of the building.

He had bitten other dogs, including one of the Pinto’s, and also some of the children. His owner had a special extra door with grills built, to prevent him from rushing out. But they secretly wanted a ferocious guard dog, because they were up to all kinds of shady business.

It was only a matter of time before he bit me. One of the Pinto’s dogs came into season and Rex got very excited indeed. On one of the days of her heat, he managed to escape past both the doors, and rushed down the stairs. I made a dash for the gate as soon as I heard his heavy breath and pounding feet, but it was too late. He went for my genitals and bit hard. Being much lighter and nimbler than he was, despite my age and broken hip, I pulled free and ran as fast as I could out of the gate, while the watchman quickly shut it past me, so that Rex couldn’t follow. The servant who looked after him came running down, and collared him and took him away.

Luckily I wasn’t too badly hurt, just the one bite, which hadn’t gone too deep, but it was still very painful. She came quickly with her dressing material and started to clean and bandage the wound.

The next morning her parents left for an extended holiday abroad to live with their son. While leaving her mother said to me, quite sadly, “Will you be well? Will you still be here when I get back, or will you too be gone like Tiger?” I couldn’t reply then, but like Tiger had felt earlier, I think we too said our silent goodbyes to each other at that moment.

Despite the dressing, the wound caught maggots. And I came down with a high fever as well. So she called the vet, who gave me a shot of antibiotics, and then attempted to puncture a vein in my left leg to feed in a special kind of injection, that would perk me up a bit. I think that was a mistake. He didn’t seem to have found the vein properly, and sent the medicine into the muscles around it instead. That is very dangerous, because these strong injections can destroy all the surrounding tissues, and in my case they did. My leg started swelling up, and by the next evening, I was unable to put my foot down.

The vet came again and tried to give me another injection, in the other leg, but I didn’t trust him anymore and for the first time in my life, I resisted, and wouldn’t stay still. So he went away without doing anything.

I had lost the will to eat, and she began to feed me manually, holding my mouth open and placing morsels of bread mixed with something sweet deep inside my mouth. The fever was still high, and she fed me little bits every few hours.

I could tell that she was exhausted from managing her home, and her own dogs, and her office, and now me all by herself, but did the best she could, sitting by my side all evening, and late into the night. When we dogs feel ill, we like to sit quietly away from everything preferably in a dark place, so I crawled under her car and tried to sleep.

I was suffering and in pain again after so many years. This time it was a little different though. When I was a young dog, pain made me panic. Now I felt no fear, just discomfort. I knew that I was in good hands, that Tiger would fulfil his promise to me, that from his place far away, he would exercise whatever power he had over mother nature to make sure that I would not have reason to be sad or scared.

On my last night on earth, she stayed with me till well past midnight. She gave me my last helping of sweet water and medicine, then wished me goodnight. “I’ll see you in the morning then, Moti. I’ll bring Mischief to see you as well, he’s been wondering why you haven’t joined him for the morning walk for so many days”. That was a good thing to hear. Mischief was a very sweet chap, a black long eared Cocker Spaniel, with a playful nature, who had also once been bitten by Rex. She had adopted him two years earlier, and he had quickly become her favourite. I liked him too, he loved walking with me, and I could tell that he would be very good to her when Tiger and I were no longer around.

It was an agonising night for me. The pain in my leg was intense, and despite the medicine, I felt alternately hot and cold with fever. My head and eyes ached, and I found it difficult to breathe.

At one point in the middle of the night I was so uncomfortable, that I let out a loud cry. She came running down to check on me when she heard me cry, but I had already settled down by the bench, and felt a little better. So she stayed with me for a while, and then went back upstairs.

Like Tiger, I knew when it was time for me to go. Unlike him, I was loved and cared for till the very end. But I didn’t want to leave without saying goodbye to Mischief who, she had promised me, was coming to see me the next morning. So I kept on breathing for as long as I could, waiting and waiting for the early morning sun to rise.

She brought him right after his morning walk. Mischief kissed me, and licked my face. “You look all tired out, old chap”, he said, jovially. “Don’t worry, there will be no more pain and suffering in the place where you’re going. And you’ll meet Tiger again, and some of my friends too, I won’t be meeting you in a hurry, but when I do, don’t act like you’ve forgotten me already, okay?”

He wagged his stump of a tail joyfully, because I could tell that he was genuinely happy for me. He could see past my pain to the times that lay ahead, in that special way we animals have.

I did have a pretty good life, and here I was, having the best kind of death in the circumstances. Pain becomes much more bearable when you have someone around who gives you love along with medicines.

“I’ll be back just now with your food, Moti”, she whispered, and chucked me under my chin. She stroked my head a few times, but tears were already rolling down her eyes, as she witnessed Mischief and me sniffing each other for the last time. She gazed deep and searchingly into my hazel eyes for a long time. I think she was looking for something very important right then, and I hope she found it. Then she turned away, and went upstairs with Mischief in tow.

I filled my eyes with my last earthly sight of her, and then looked beyond into another world, a world where I could see Tiger, the stupid kitten, some of the Pinto dogs who had passed on too, and the dogs I had seen at the electric chamber, all beautiful and happy, and eternally alive. And full of the joy of living. In that instant I learnt that finding your home, and you can only ever have one true home in any life, is not an easy thing. It is always preceded by great suffering – like the night I was beaten up in the rain, and now the night of fever and pain.

Could that be why many of you never find your true homes ever – because you are not prepared to accept or endure the trials that must go before?

She came down again when the watchman informed her that I had passed away, and wrapped me up in a white towel, then laid me in the back seat of her car. She phoned her aunt and uncle who came over and drove the car to the spot at the beach where she had buried all her other dogs. She dug up a deep pit in the sand with a shovel, laid me down in it, and then crossing herself and me, she wished me goodbye. “See you someday, Moti”, she wept softly. “You have been the best friend I ever had, and I will really miss you”.

So that’s my story, the story of a dog’s life, sometimes happy sometimes sad, but a life I am always more than glad to have lived.

I felt the hardship of blows, but I also felt the tenderness of the human touch. I found that true friendship crosses all the boundaries and forms of life, and home lies only in the heart of a true friend.

And if there is one important lesson that I have for you, my human friend, it is that nothing is perfect. Where there is great sorrow there is also great joy, and the opposite is also true. It is only in discovering and dealing with the imperfections of life with eternal love and optimism that we live at all.