Tribulation of an imported pup: let’s stop it!

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There has been an increasing trend of adopting imported pedigree pups but little do pet parents realise that it is causing a trail of suffering to these little pooches.

The brown pup lay on the table in the dispensary, too weak to lift his head. A pure-bred…of only six weeks of age, his eyes were glazed and listless, as he lay helplessly. His distraught pet parents had paid Rs. 20,000 in advance for the pup to be flown from Russia. Torn from his mother before he was properly weaned, frightened, cold, thirsty and confused, alone in a pet box, with the roar of cars and planes terrifying him as he cringed in a corner of his container, the long journey of over twenty hours from start to finish had exhausted him completely. He had been used to drinking milk from his mother. He was too young to understand that the water trough in the corner of his box was for quenching his thirst. He could not be given anything to eat or he would have vomited. His little heart was broken as he lay on the table in front of us, too weak, dehydrated and exhausted to lift his head or open his eyes. Despite the best efforts of the vets at Help in Suffering, this little pup died. The veterinary attention had come too late. This is a real-life story of an imported pure-bred pup, there are thousands others who go through the same agony, while their pet parents look at them with dismay.Pups from abroad…
Breeds like Saint Bernard, Chow-Chow, Napoleon Mastiff, Bulldog and other breeds with long hair coats normally belong to cold countries like Russia, Bulgaria, China, Germany, Uruguay, Belgium etc. These dogs don’t breed well in India due to the fact that their reproductive cycle is adapted to functioning in a cold climate. Hence, they are mostly imported from these countries as they are available there at a cheaper price.
Long and tough journey…
The journey from their homeland to India is quite tough as during flights, they are being held in small wooden or iron crates, which are kept together with the luggage. Some of the breeders also administer a mild sedative to these pups so that they sleep for the whole journey, without eating or drinking anything on the way.
Journey ends, but the ordeal continues…
When the pups land at the airport, they are exhausted and dehydrated but their suffering does not end here. They are handed over to the trader, who may or may not feed the frightened little dog immediately. Later, the pup is handed over to the person who wishes to adopt him.
Unsuitable Indian climate…
Since these dogs are not used to the Indian climatic conditions, they face stress caused by the hot weather and are prone to skin diseases. Some of the pups suffer from ‘Travellers Diarrhoea,’ as before these pups start the long journey, they are accustomed to a good diet, but on their journey, stress and starvation results in bad diarrhoea, which can even prove fatal.
Paws for thought….
A loving home can end his miseries but still the question exists – is it really necessary that we adopt an imported pup who may undergo so much stress and suffering? It is advisable that we adopt Indian dogs who are accustomed to our climate and then we all can hum “You and I , in this beautiful world….”

– by Christine Townend and Dr. Abdul Rais

(Christine Townend is Chair of Trustees and Dr. Abdul Rais is veterinarian in charge of dispensary at Help in Suffering, a registered Indian Charitable Trust based in Jaipur, Rajasthan. It runs six projects: camel, equine, and elephant treatment, education and rescue programmes, mobile clinic and staff, an ABC and ABC Extension programme, and an outpatients dispensary, with rescue, re-homing and treatment provided. For more info, log on to www.his-india.org.au)

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