Thursday, 12 November 2009

A dogs life in India

Probably the sadest thing for me about this part of India, or probably most of India, is the condition of the dogs. Here the dogs are seen as pests, or at least treated as such. Most dogs here are literally starving to death. Their population is controlled simply by the amount of food they can find - and by road traffic accidents. No one cares if they die of starvation. When they come begging they are chased away with stones. When a motor vehicle approaches a dog in the road it does not alter its path. In fact on two occasions I have witnessed dogs being specifically targeted by motor-bikers.

Yesterday I saw a puppy laying dead beside the road. Today I saw crows eating it. This evening as I ate my thali a dog saw me eating and started to beg. I looked at it and could see that it was no different to the dogs that we have at home. Yet so different was its life. At home the dogs are proud and often think they are head of the family 'pack'. This dog had no place of its own to protect. It had no job. It was edgy and nervous - looking out for the next attack from a dog or a human. Yet at the same time, as it edged closer, its whole body expressed longing. Although all it wanted was a little food, you could see, that given a good home, it was capable of so much affection. This was an animal full of feelings and was caperble of giving so much love and devotion.

The next moment the animal was rudely shoed away and it dashed into a dark corner with its tail between its legs. No, wait. Its tail had always been between its legs. How could such faithful animals have been bred to be dependent on us and then be caste into the gutter?

What should I have done? What should I do? If I feed them I will reduce their suffering a little while I am here. When I am gone they'll probably be worse off than before. If other people feed them and don't prevent them from reproducing there will be more strays and more hungry mouths to feed. I have no easy means of talking to the locals about this. If I could, what should I say? Even with all the wealth in the region from the sugar plantations the poorest people are finding it difficult to survive. There are many tractors but and few jobs. There is no room for feelings in a mechanical world.

1 comment:

  1. I think the problem of the dogs is mainly a suburban problem. My impression is that in the centre of Phaltan the dogs look slightly better fed and in the countryside I have now seen many dogs that look happy and have healthy looking fur. I guess the difference with the country dogs is that they are not homeless/stray.