Dogs lovers across the city have been overjoyed by posts making rounds on social media about a drive, today and tomorrow, to find ‘Retired Military Dogs’ a home. All of them are going to be sadly disappointed.
Because, for one, there are only three para-military dogs up for adoption. “Military dogs cannot be legally adopted by civilians; their adoption only happens through proper army protocol and not via other agencies,” points out Akshay Gupta, founder, PET FED, India’s biggest pet carnival. The 20-25 dogs up for adoption have been sourced from the Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Shelter and are a mix of thorough-breds and cross-breds – some abandoned, others orphaned, but all looking for a home.
“There are grossly inaccurate posts out in cyberspace saying that these are ‘retired military dogs’. It’s quite a nuisance, to be honest,” says Kanishka Sharma, from People for Animals (PFA) – the animal welfare organization that is spearheading the dog adoption drive at Select City Walk, in collaboration with PET FED.
There have been over 4000 registrations already, but Sharma is not very hopeful . “We have been getting calls from people telling us, ‘Oh! We are very interested in adopting a dog...’ But the moment we inform them that these are old, retired dogs and that they have nothing to do with the army, the interest at the other end dwindles,” he says.
Many people seem to be more interested in the breed rather than the dog. “It’s like adopting the dog not for its personality, but for cosmetic reasons. I think that’s a very flawed concept,” says Sharma.
The kind of inaccurate posts doing rounds on social media.
For those who are still keen on owning a dog from the adoption drive, and are willing to give the non-paramilitary dogs a home too, there are strict rules in place. The organisation runs a thorough check before handing over one of their dogs. Apart from a house-check and documentation, the PFA will send a representative to ensure that all the family members are in line with the thought of having a pet, and it’s not the excitement of just one person.
“People take the dog back home, but after a week or two, they realize that they can’t keep the dog any more. And they end up sending the dog back to the shelter, which is very stressful for the dog,” says Gupta. “So that’s why we have these protocols in place to make sure that if a dog is sent from the shelter to a home, it is forever and not a temporary thing.”