Don’t abandon me please!
“The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world…When all other friends desert, he remains,” -George G Vest. Then, why does man desert this precious being… sometimes due to behavioural issues, sometimes because he is sick and sometimes just the frenzy of keeping a pet is over.
Loco, a Bull Terrier, was found on the roads in Dwarka almost four months back by Friendicoes. He was adopted but it did not work out because of his high level of energy which led to his causing huge damage at his new home.
While, Oscar was a gift to someone as a puppy but later he permanently made his way to a boarding kennel when the family could not handle him anymore. At the kennel he viciously attacked one of the kennel boys and the pet parent too scared to handle him, left him at the shelter.
Valentine was found on the road – a blind St Bernard standing by the side of a busy road. He lived at the shelter for a week, a month in foster care and then we found a lovely couple willing to take him on. He is now a show stopper weighing a whopping 70 kg and handsome to boot! But initially the only inquiries we got for him were people asking if we can fix his eyes and the moment we said ‘no’, they lost interest. A blind St Bernard was not so appealing apparently.
Jill was found dragging her hind legs and trying to cross the road in front of Friendicoes shelter. Her one back leg is mangled – looked like an old injury healed all wrong. And that gave her body a humped posture. No one asked for her but she was adopted by a loving family, who loved her despite her handicap.
Leo, a Doberman of considerable height and girth, turned up at the shelter doorstep one day. He was unpredictable at times and gave the staff a bit of a difficult time. He was trained and finally after rehoming him twice, he found his perfect home.
These are just a few cases, there are many many more of abandoned Pedigree dogs, while some are lucky to be re-homed, others just live their life at the animal shelter. Why are pets abandoned? What can be done to reduce this menace? What responsibilities should a pet parent understand? These were just a few of the questions that arise in our minds. At Dogs & Pups, we spoke to Tandrali Kuli of Friendicoes and here’s what she shared on abandonment of Pedigree dogs.
D&P: How often and where do you find abandoned Pedigree dogs?
Tandrali: Most times they are abandoned outside the shelter – left tied to chairs/benches, ambulance bumpers in the parking or on the road, running in front of the shelter. While some cases of abandoned pets are reported by the public from housing colonies, who are then picked up by our ambulances. A few people come and abandon directly as well.
D&P: What are the main reasons for their abandonment?
Tandrali: Mostly because they are either old/sick or temperamentally unpredictable/aggressive. But these days we are receiving a lot of them due to people moving cities and also because the lifestyle does not make space for a pet any more. Also sometimes people are not ready to shell out the money and time needed to look after a giant breed.
D&P: What are the steps to reduce the cases of abandonment?
Tandrali: We can reduce it by licensed breeding and putting a constraint on commercialisation of pets. Also microchipping of pets should be made compulsory and registration of pets with veterinarians be made mandatory. No vet should attend to un-microchipped and unregistered pet above the age of three months. Besides, hobby breeding should be strictly stopped.
Also (my personal belief though may not be practical) is that every person looking forward to adding a pet to the family must attend counseling sessions (that should be organised by animal welfare groups) and understand the massive responsibility they are taking on and also understand the breed they are going for. Many times, people living in a two room (150 sq ft) house bring home a Great Dane without a second thought and then once the animal attains his size, they are unable to handle him.
Also the earning power of the family should be taken into consideration when taking on a pet. Pets are living beings and incur expenses. Vaccinations, nutritious food, supplements, shampoos, medical bills are all things that should be taken into consideration. As an NGO, we face the maximum of these cases where people with high maintenance pedigrees beg us for discounts on medical bills.
D&P: What factors should pet parents keep in mind before adopting a dog?
Tandrali: Following are the factors to be kept in mind before adopting a pet:
Lifestyle. People who travel too much and have no dependable back up help should not take on pets.
Money. If you cannot afford a pet you should not go for one.
Commitment. If you as well as your family are not 100 percent sure about a pet then you should not get one. At the end of the day they need a lot of care and attention.
Do not take vaccinations lightly. Please be prompt with them.
Spay/neuter your pet once he is over eight months old.
Responsibility. If you are in a job where you do not have quality time for your pet then you should not invest in one. No servant, however good, can equate to the care you can and should give to your pet. Your pet also has emotional needs apart from food and vetcare and he looks to you to fulfill them.
Breed. If you are not experienced with dogs then you should always go for a smaller low maintenance breed or preferably an Indian/desi from a shelter. Also a female would be easier to handle than a male as they are much more calm and gentle.
Trainer. It is always good to invest in an experienced and intelligent trainer. If you follow the rules, you will never regret it.
D&P: How easy/difficult it is to rehabilitate the abandoned dog and why?
Tandrali: Pedigree adults still have a 50 percent chance of getting re-homed with a good family. But the younger, the better. The ones above five years old hardly get any responses. We currently have nine of them at the shelter – three GSDs and six Labs between 7-9 years. The smaller breeds get adopted quicker (except for Spitz) butthey are rarely abandoned until and unless they are sick or are bad biters. Compared to it, abandoned Indian/desi adults arealmost impossible to re-home. Almost 99 percent of them make their way to our sanctuary in Gurgaon as we do not get any inquiries for them.
D&P: What message would you like to give to pet parents?
Tandrali: DO NOT take on a pet if you are not ready to shell out the time, commitment, effort and money that the pet will demand. And if possible try and adopt. Do not buy. You provide a market to unscrupulous breeders when you buy. There are enough homeless animals languishing in shelters and looking for good homes. Give them a chance please. If you want a pet but are in no position to meet the demands of one, start feeding the neighborhood strays and make friends with them. Get them spay/neutered and vaccinated and look after them. It is a very fulfilling experience.
Last but not the least I would like to say – a dog is a beautiful gift of God to humanity. They enrich your life with their selfless love and devotion and make your life beautiful. It is a crime and a sin to abuse their faith in you so indulge in a pet only if you are ready to do justice by him.
(Tandrali Kuli started volunteering with Friendicoes when she was in college nine years back and now she is part of the management and mainly looks after the PR/Communications and Adoptions. She always had dogs since she was four years old and till now she has been the proud pet parent of 19 dogs (desis/Pedigrees mix) and have fostered over 30 of them).