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Dogged existence

india Updated: Sep 26, 2007 23:17 IST
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How odd is it that a dog in the home is called a pet and a dog on the street is called a menace? Dogs are as much at home in the open as they are in buildings. Those that live in the open are not homeless; the area in which they live is their home. Simply because he may not have a human ‘owner’, does not make a dog a stray.

I feel sorry for people who consider animals a nuisance. In closing their hearts, they have closed themselves from so much love, beauty and joy. They will never inhale the fresh smell of a puppy as he nibbles on your nose and ears. They will never hear that deep rolling purr as your feet comes to rest on a familiar warm spot on your dog’s tummy. They will never feel the comfort of coming home to a waggy welcome.

To such people I offer a warm dollop of sympathy along with a cold serving of logic. Like them or not, we need animals for our survival because each acts as a protective shield for humans.

Let’s take dogs. Dogs settle in an area because of the existence of a food supply — garbage and rats. In the absence of these dogs, that garbage would putrefy and stink and rats would multiply. One pair of rats turns into 22,000 in one year. Would you prefer rodent hordes to a few dogs? Dogs do not harm or destroy. Instinctively friendly, they respond lovingly to kindness. It is only if threatened or provoked that they may bite. Wouldn’t you?

It has become fashionable of late to blow up any little incident of a dog bite. Dogs do not bite for nothing — there is always an underlying reason. Unfortunately, reports never explain that. Street dogs do not attack. They usually steer clear of humans, instinctively fearing cruelty. If a dog bites someone, it will always be out of fear or self-defence.

What is happening as a result of this exaggerated misreporting is a huge hostility towards dogs and those who care for them. Man’s best friend is being portrayed as man’s worst enemy. This kind of fear mongering does no good to people or animals. It breeds an atmosphere of hate that so easily spills over into violence against completely defenceless creatures.