Benji, Asterix’s Dogmatix, Tintin’s Snowy, the comic strip Peanuts, Dennis the Menace’s dog (an Old English Sheepdog I think, can’t remember his name), the Phantom’s Devil (he was actually a wolf, but never mind),dogs have been everywhere. Among the many advertisements one can recall, there is an ad by the great David Ogilvy, for Ron Carioca Rum. The campaign had a dialogue , which was beautifully worded to denote camaraderie between a man in a tuxedo and his dog,'Let culture and its affectations be, dogs have been everywhere through thick and thin with man.'
Stories of discovery narrated and documented endlessly feature dogs as geographers. From Dr. Livingstone’s journey into the Dark Continent to Shackleton who ventured forth to Antarctica, dogs have trotted along. Even in cases where humans slunk away from biting the bullet, dogs shrugged and went ahead.
Established geographers, they are also the first astronauts. Remember Laika? That street dweller from Moscow who went on to become the first living being to go up and away in Sputnik II in 1957. Laika did not survive (cause of death assumed as stress and overheating). An enduring image of Laika is in her space harness, every bit the intrepid pioneer. Really, as the amnesic world braces for space holidays, there ought to be a memorial to Laika in orbit. But from what I know of human nature, very unlikely. It is only the dog as in the true story of Hachiko, who stands tall in integrity, loyalty and unconditional love.
After many millennia of being our closest companions, dogs are being persecuted at worst or tolerated at best. It is most unfortunate that dogs increasingly find themselves on the verge of a crisis.
People’s attitudes towards dogs in particular and animals in general , have corrupted. In India perhaps the most illustrative example is that of lower or middle class Indians recently urbanized and living in structures which try to pass for ersatz Western utopias. Mistaken modernity relies on a world without animals.
Community or stray animals are not tolerated and seemingly educated and well-heeled people demonstrate rabid reactions to the presence of animals. These border on illegalities and cruel machinations they resort to. Newborn pups are stuffed in gunny bags and thrown in secluded spots to die of suffocation and thirst. Dogs are crushed under cars deliberately, poisoned or beaten to death. They are used in horrible dogfights, where goons smuggle them over long distances, bait them and pit them for money.
Kidnapped for the rising dog-meat appetite in cities like Gurgaon as some North-Easterners, Koreans and Chinese like dog on the menu. Intolerant, shrill, vicious and petty people affiliated to self- important RWAs seek to remove dogs from their areas. The dogs you see in pet shops come from mean and crooked breeders. These breeders are rampant as are the pet shops. Neither have any love or care or sense of responsibility for the animals.
Bitches are constantly chained and caged, kept indefinitely pregnant, beaten, underfed, denied even basic veterinary care to produce the puppies people like to cuddle, gawk at or purchase over Internet sites or in pet shops. The pups who are not sold are starved to death. Of the ones who are sold, they are often in-bred, ill with congenital defects and quickly abandoned by the buyers. Those who have dogs as pets, too, do not fare too well. In a large number of cases the animal is chained, abused, denied basic care, exercise, protection from harsh weather. They are all too often denied the emotional care every companion animal deserves. The litany is long and nasty and every other day People For Animals ( a group working for animals in Gurgaon) receives cases. Everyday we juggle to fight them. Fortunately, large swaths of the communities and societies are law abiding and humane.
Zoophilia, as defined by critics, was “loving animals too much”. Originally, however, the word simply meant being an opponent of cruelty towards animals. But is that such a bad thing? I revel in Zoophilia rather than joining majority ranks.
The sheer frequency and quantum are unmanageable in the cruelty of animals. Many animals lie in wait. If readers wish to contribute of their time or effort or resources or skills please connect with us. Visit us : www.pfa-gurgaon.com ; call us : 0124.2276502 / 2016502; or visit us on Facebook.