Five years ago, caring people told me about a furry white pomeranian-like dog abandoned on a street near mine. To be precise, a minute or two from mine. Since I had my exams, I made a mental note to check on him the first thing after my exams. It was in May 2017 that I saw Milky for the first time. Yes, I named it Milky because it was sparkling white and I wouldn’t exercise my brain for something I had an obvious answer for.
No, it wasn’t love at first sight like we’re used to in movies and on TV. Milky was sleeping and woke up with my noise. I tried to give him cookies but to no avail. I motioned for him to get up but he didn’t move. I approached him and he jumped up, mixing indignation and fear. I somehow escaped being scratched or bitten by him. His assault was not without reason – he was thrown out of a car by his “family”. People around him tried to give him rice and biscuits but we all ended up in the same situation. I don’t know the reason for people’s affinity and pity for Milky. Was it his Indian Spitz Mix breed? Was it because he was a white, fluffy dog, unlike the Indies who are despised for their looks? I will never know.
As I returned home not realizing anything, I knew it would be a tough road to walk. For him, to accept the sad reality and for me, to repair his broken trust in our species. My vain attempts to feed Milky continued.
It was only after almost a month that Milky ate what I gave her. This month or more was all about me hoping for a miracle and Milky being constantly irritated by a bugging human presence. He didn’t want to eat anything from anyone. However, truths cannot be changed; one, he was a good boy and two, he was hungry. He wasn’t a dog that knew where to sniff for food. He didn’t know which human would throw a stone and which would befriend. After a long and demanding verification process, he classified me in the latter. But this was the start of a new problem for me. Milky trusted me. He started following me, a very typical dog trait. Every time I disappeared from his sight and watched him back away (or walk away from my street dogs), it was heartbreaking. He was nothing but a little child looking for love. How could I tell him that I wasn’t like his ex-family and that he never would?
However, as I mentioned above, the people of his street were not hostile to him as we are, in general, to street dogs. As they observed that his aggressiveness diminished, they fed him. I slowly instilled in him that he had to follow me for a few steps unless he wanted a nasty fight with my desi dogs. It took him a while but he understood.
After a few months we were playing together – I was allowed to rub his fur, feed him and him, run towards me, jump and follow me. I would like to reiterate how we gave him the time he needed and never, ever forced intimacy or friendship. There was nothing I could do to soothe his mental ordeal. I only brought him food. To believe that food is the only thing a dog needs is superficial and ridiculous.
Fast forward to today, his tyranny has made him the only dog on his street, sparing a female. He gets a sizable selection of foods, ranging from mutton (courtesy of a nearby mutton shop) to cookies and whatever his neighbors give to dog food (from me). The brat broke several bowls of food and water. He changed about four collars, never missing a single one. He occasionally takes baths and dazzles himself like his teeth in a toothpaste commercial for almost a day (post that he deliberately rolls himself in the mud). Once he tackled some desi dogs and ended up with a dog bite on his neck. His neighbors had him treated on the spot and pampered him for a few days. He healed in no time. Now he tactically chases away all intruders without physical damage. He still has to decide when he will play with me and how. Sometimes he runs and jumps on me while other times he prefers his nap to a screaming human voice and a phone flash. He casually ignores the curd rice kept for him like you did, in your school lunch box. (The only difference being that he is not reprimanded).
During my work with animals (as an individual), I have come across dozens of animals abandoned by their “owners” without remorse. This is detrimental on many levels – these dogs are undoubtedly in trouble with the local Indies and have little luck. They would encounter hunger, thirst, an unforgiving climate, and violent humans; what they weren’t prepared for. Simply put, not all dogs have the same luck as Milky to find a street without dogs and people without ego. They would contribute to the existing number of homeless animals on the streets.
A simple search for information on the Internet would reveal the extent of this problem. NGOs are overwhelmed by the number of street dogs in need of attention. In this case, it would not only be difficult but also unfair to expect them to take care of our pets as well. The reasons people give for why they gave up their pets are so bizarre that I would prefer to discuss them separately.
Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 (PCA) criminalizes the owner’s failure to provide sufficient food, water and shelter to the animal; abandonment without reasonable cause; allows the sick or disabled animal to die on any street without reasonable cause.
In the rare case where the family has a reasonable reason why they can no longer keep the animal, they must behave like a family, that is, find another responsible and better home for their animal. Leaving them on the roads is not only a deliberate act of animal cruelty but also a sign of inhumanity.
Milky is a strong dog. He faced what could collapse and kill. He has the heart of a lion, the malice of a baby and the brilliance of the moon. Of course, all dogs do. It has long been established that the dog is man’s best friend and a symbol of eternal faith. We don’t have to test their resilience now by leaving them on the road after promising them an eternity. Because there’s a famous saying that a dog can get by with less food, less shelter and less care, but not without you. Milky will never know why he, a good boy, was left without mercy. It took a mountain of courage for him to trust another human. No dog should have to go through what he did.
(Disclaimer: The views of the author do not represent the views of WION or ZMCL. WION or ZMCL also does not endorse the views of the author.)
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