She is two or three years old and she is a St Bernard — a pedigreed breed of dog. In this breed-conscious city, you expect a pedigreed dog to be living happily with its human family. But, hold on. This one, like many other dogs in the city, was abandoned. She was found two weeks ago, wandering in Gurgaon. The dog was looking like an emaciated scrawny creature with no traces showing that she was a St Bernard, except for her heavy face covered with hair. Rescued by Friendicoes SECA, an animal welfare NGO, she was nicknamed Guddi.
Entering the NGO’s animal shelter in Jangpura, you realise that Guddi is not the only unlucky dog. There is a Pug, Doberman, Golden Labrador, Bull Terrier, and many more — all have been abandoned by their owners and are waiting to be adopted.
A black German Shepherd was sitting in a corner, gazing outside the wire mesh, perhaps waiting to go home. “He just came in here last night and we have not even named him. The owners, I think, couldn’t look after him and abandoned him here. When the cuteness of the puppy goes away, people just leave them,” says Aarti Sharma, who works with the NGO. The other reasons are: when the dog gets old, or gets seriously injured, or is diseased, which demands high medical expenses or a lot of care and time. “We want him (the German Shepherd) to be adopted. A shelter is no life,” she says.
The mushrooming of dog breeders in the city is leading to people buying dogs, but many abandon them once the novelty factor wears off. Dr. Vijar Kumar of Sonadi Charitable Trust, an animal welfare NGO, says, “People buy these expensive breeds for status symbols, or if their children demand. They don’t realise that dogs too, need love and attention. These dog breeders need to be controlled and stricter laws have to imposed.”
If you plan to buy a puppy from a breeder, think twice. Instead, why not go to a shelter and get home an abandoned dog, who is waiting to be cared and loved by a family?