Stray dogs: Indians are bringing Indian doggos home as their lockdown companions

Diana, an abandoned Mudhol Hound, who was in a real bad condition, was brought home by David Pillay, a Pune-based businessman, in the month of April. Since the lockdown started, being away from family, David started feeling the need of a companion. He had always been close to dogs, his daily ritual was to feed them, he did that during the lockdown period too. “I always wanted to have a dog, and the lockdown period made me want one, really bad, and that’s when I came across Diana, through a social media post. A friend of mine, had posted a picture of her, she looked sad, scared, unhealthy, that look on her face, made me just get her home,” explains David, who adopted Diana in the month of April.
Just like David, there are other people across country, who have adopted indie and stray pooches during the lockdown period. Chennai’s Blue Cross of India Animal Welfare Group saw 68 puppies get adopted in the first half month of August, whereas Mumbai-based Anubis-Tiger foundation which re-homes and rescues abandoned and ill-treated dogs, has helped 65 puppies get adopted in March. Pune-based Kapil Patwardhan, who helps people adopting stray dogs, helped around 55 dogs get a home during the lockdown period.

“The whole lockdown period has made people realise that they need a good companion and that’s exactly why people are leaning towards dogs because like it’s said, they are human’s best companion,” says Kapil Patwardhan, who received double number of calls during the lockdown period. He also explains that growing awareness about illegal breeding has made people realise how adoption is the best option. “The idea of having a dog always came with a thought that you have to buy one. There are still a lot of people who don’t know how to adopt a dog and that is because we don’t have a government body to help you adopt. Also, there are no such shelter homes in Pune where you will find a large number of healthy puppies that can be adopted. So, these are some points, that people are still unaware of but during the lockdown period, the loneliness has made people research and find out more and hence the rise in number has happened,” explains Kapil.

The most common Indie breed that is being adopted
India Pariah dog, also known as desi dogs, are majorly found on the streets of India. This breed can be spotted in most parts of the country as strays. During the lockdown period, Mumbai-based educator, Vinaya Patil got Murphy home, which is a mix Pariah. She brought Murphy home from the streets, when he was just 40 days old. “I have had an indie pet in the past, and when I saw Murphy and how his mother was dying living on the street, I had to get him home, Murphy became my lockdown buddy,” explains Vinaya.

Unlike Pariah, there are other Indie breeds like Mudhol hound, Padikona or other hounds, that cannot be adopted unless they are abandoned, because they are hunting dogs and they are bred to be bought. “These breeds are bred for a purpose and are not meant as home pets. You need bigger space, a certain diet and of course a strict amount of physical activity for these dogs,” says Tina Malkani Gholap, Pune-based animal activist.

Why are Indies becoming people’s favourite
“Having the Indian breed dogs as pets is one of the most organic things to do since they are locals, who are used to our kind of weather and geography. So, it's easier on them. In terms of convenience for the pet parent, an Indian breed dog is the easiest to take care of. They are extremely easy going in most cases and a little care is all they expect. They are also quite strong and have a great immunity since this is their home environment, best suited to their health. Their food habits too are quite simple and being locals, they adapt to basic food items easily,” says Vinaya.
Kapil explains how medically Indie dogs are much better because their immunity is stronger than pedigree dogs. Indies live off the streets, so they have been through worse situation, which makes them stronger. “I wouldn’t say Indie dogs are better than pedigree dogs, because for me all dogs are the same and I love them all equally, but with indie dogs, you don’t have to make a lot visits to the vet because they are used to the Indian household food and climate,” says Kapil.

Youngsters don’t support illegal breeding
Sheila R, Rajasthan-based, animal activists, says that the youngsters are more woke and they know that a lot of illegal breeding goes behind bring pedigree dogs in the market. “They don’t want to someone who is addressed at animal haters. We have seen so many youngsters join as volunteers to help feed strays during the lockdown period and at the same time, we saw a lot of young boys and girls adopting these pups, apart from doing something which gives back to the society, they also want a companion to get through these tough times,” says Sheila.

Adoption will gradually cut down on illegal breeding

“When we buy a life – an animal – most of us are not aware of what we are encouraging and contributing behind the scenes. Many breeders in our country do not have a license. They breed animals in the most horrific conditions. They actually have something called a “rape” stand. A rape stand which they fix the female into for the male to mate. They inbreed – mother with son, father with daughter- brother and sister – and in turn the babies that are born have some or the other defect or health issues which may not crop up immediately, but sooner than later they do. The pups are snatched away from the mother at 25 days young – besides the trauma that both mother and child go through- the pup is deprived the mother’s milk – which is most important to build his/her immunity for life. Once the female is not capable of reproduction anymore- they are abandoned and left to die on streets and highways,” says Tina.

End of the article

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