Aparna Rajagopal with her furry friends
Pets get abandoned rampantly which makes me ask – Has a beautiful pedigreed dog become a lifestyle statement? When we bring home a pet, remember to think long and hard about whether you can actually look after him like your child. Bringing home a pet is like raising a child, you need to be ready in all aspects. –by Aparna Rajagopal
It’s heartbreaking to see when animals are cruelly, carelessly and inhumanely dumped. My friend Pallavi Dar spends a majority of her time and resources on rescuing dogs who are heartlessly abandoned and she finds new homes for them. Amongst the many dogs she rescues in a day, she rescued Candy last year, who became an inseparable part of our family. Candy is a three years old female Bull Mastiff. In July 2018 Pallavi heard about a Bull Mastiff dumped on Meerut highway in a terrible condition. Pallavi posted about this on her social media. Another wonderful rescuer called Sanjay Mohapatra responded immediately and offered to help Candy.
When he reached there on the 18th of July 2018, he found her in horrific shape. She had some unimaginable maggot wound in her eyes, mouth, on her tail. Her blood report was frightening. Her haemoglobin was 4 point something and her liver and kidney values were very high. She seemed blind with maggots having eaten away her eyes. He brought Candy to Noida and she stayed in his care until she somewhat stabilised. Pallavi says that Candy owes her life to him and his team because they treated all her raw wounds and malnourishment and brought her back from the brink of death.
Candy was then shifted from Sanjay’s care into a loving foster home for a while from where she was taken by Pallavi to a boarding. At this point it was discovered that Candy had a tumor in the vagina (TVT) that required extensive care and chemotherapy. Pallavi had to wait until Candy recovered sufficiently and was strong enough to take chemotherapy.
Candy’s grit to fight with love and care
Pallavi Dar
When Candy was taking her chemo sessions I got to know about her and was incredibly moved by her story and all the wonderful people fighting for her. I decided to adopt Candy and take her home. I went and met Candy and discovered this lovely gentle goofy dog who wanted to do nothing more than to rub her face on my knees and lie at my feet for belly rubs. My heart broke even more. In the evening, my husband & kids came to see her and they also fell completely in love. Pallavi came home to our farm to do all the house checks! Candy finished her chemo sessions and the doctor gave her a clean chit saying she now just needed loads of TLC. She sat quietly in the car all the way as if she knew where we were going. Along with her we also took a lovely desi boy called Chotu who had become petrified of his own shadow. Once a happy puppy some ‘inhuman’ had broken all his legs making him fearful forever. Recovered fully, he now sat nervous and still in the car only calm because Pallavi had a hand on him.
Both Candy and Chotu live on our farm along with another 10 desis. All run around the farm and play together. Candy has completely healed and healthy. She is a little inhibited by her blindness but she has a great time still, cuddling the young ones around her and enjoying many long walks every day. Chotu has become bossy and has his own gang. He still doesn’t let a human touch him except me. All our beloved pets are loved and cherished equally.
Adopt and don’t shop!
Dogs like Candy are used by breeders. They make these beautiful sentient beings have multiple litters. They starve them and keep them tied on short ropes in horrible spaces for years and years. Once the dogs become sick or unable to have babies, they are thrown out on to the street. That’s how Candy was found. She is only three and her life was almost over. Even the cancer in her vagina probably happened because of irresponsible breeding.
Why pets get abandoned?—the honey ‘whoof’ period
Once the puppy comes home, everyone is very excited with the new toy. He is showered with a lot of affection and is cuddled endlessly. He gets a new cozy basket, an expensive leash, pretty bowls, and even attractive toys and chews from the mall.
As the puppy grows, the interest begins to wane, the child develops new interests, the family starts to feel the burden while the puppy is blissfully relieving himself on the polished marble floors, digging into the laundry pile, and chewing expensive furniture. Nobody has the time or the energy. The child is busy with school, homework and hobby classes. The parents are busy at work and social engagements. To their horror, many also realise suddenly that a puppy does some very extra-ordinary mischief, grows if you please, drools, sheds hair, smells if not bathed, slaps when irritated, and falls ill just like all of us. How odd! They certainly didn’t sign up for all this drama!
Candy now in her pink of health and much loved and cherished
All is not smooth sailing with the family
Things slowly begin to fall apart for the family. The house suddenly seems too small to house a pet. He becomes in some way responsible for all the problems that befall the house. Every allergy in the house is attributed to the fur. If he turns irritable for any reason, he is termed a ‘biter’ and tied to the balcony railing. The vet’s bills suddenly seem to mounting. The advertisement was cute but pedigree seems unaffordable and daunting. The pet becomes a distraction and nobody has the time to walk and feed him. The family still needs the holidays, so where will the pet stay? A short haired breed would have been so much nicer. No one knew it would become a giant! He is old, toothless, blind, arthritic and beset with a host of health problems. What a nuisance! All those years of love and affection they shower on you seem to vanish in a jiffy.
The family thinks to get rid of the pet. If the pet parents are nice, the family will put up an advertisement and call shelters. Some take the easy way out and abandon the pet to a place from where they are sure he will never find his way home again. If the pet is lucky he will land up in a nice happy home where he is welcomed and cared for. This is not his home but at least he is safe from unscrupulous breeders and a tough life on the streets suddenly. If the new home is nice the pet will soon learn to adapt and become a happy doggie once again.
Lack-luster at the shelter
The not so lucky ones land up in a shelter full of unfamiliar faces of both dog and man, where the retreats into the corner of the cage trying to understand this strange predicament. Apart from all the comforts of the five star life, he will surely miss the family he had made his own, irrespective of the amount of attention and love he received from them. He’ll be in stress, might refuse to eat, grieve incessantly, and might even become aggressive. And not to forget the high chance of picking up diseases and infections lurking amongst all the other sick and diseased dogs.
The plight of street life
If he is dumped on the road, he’ll run around in panic unable to comprehend this new world of fast cars and blaring horns. The strays will come in packs to check out this sleek new entrant who can’t seem to understand street canine protocol. He might be attacked and hurt, will soon be hungry and thirsty, and will not have the skills to forge his own food and water like the streeties. When darkness sets in he’ll be even more lonely and scared of the quiet street empty and the packs of dogs. His trust will be broken by humans as they’ll shoo him away, throw stones, and some might even hit him. It might be pouring, or blazing hot, or so chilly that he won’t understand this transition from the comfort of his house to the streets. Where will he go? If no one takes him in, he’ll surely die on the streets unable to cope with the rigors of a life he has never known.
Street – shelter – home: let’s break this vicious cycle
Once a dog reaches a shelter, the people in a shelter will provide first aid, food, and safety. They’ll also try and find a new home for the dog. If he’s a pup, the chances of adoption are slightly higher. Because nobody wants an old and ill dog. Most of them die a natural death unable to bear the trauma of losing their home. A lot of them are disabled due to congenital deformities or accidents. Such dogs most surely rarely are ever re-homed however young, bright and active they may be. There are many puppies, young and old dogs waiting for a home and a family to love. Do consider bringing one home. If you cannot bring home a pet, sponsor one in the shelter. Every drop in the ocean counts. So please don’t buy puppies from irresponsible breeders. Please don’t encourage illegal breeders. If you’re getting home a pet, know he’s not a toy that you can get tired of or just randomly abandon one day.