“A dog doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his.”John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog

A little girl enters the pet store with her mother. After going through the different foreign breeds in the shop (who were kept on display like decorative items), her mother says, “You can buy a Lab, they tend to be more faithful than other breeds or you can go for a Doberman, they are good guard dogs.” The little girl did not utter a word and kept staring out of the window. Her attention was fixed on a little puppy that was playing across the street, and getting dirty jumping in a poodle. “So full of life,” she thought to herself, and told her mother that she wanted to take the little cuddlesome puppy home. Her mother turned scarlet with disappointment and said, “But he is a stray! Why would you want a street dog when we can afford to buy a foreign breed?”

Don’t most of us have the same mentality like the little girl’s mother? We want dogs like Labradors, Dobermans, Pugs, Pitbulls, Rottweilers, etc, and then we call ourselves ‘Dog lovers’, when evidently we are nothing more than just ‘Breed lovers’.

Stray dogs, just like other dogs, offer you the same pristine love and lifelong companionship. So if you’re among those who has always wanted to keep a pet, here’s why you should consider a homeless dog:

1.       An antidote for depression

Do you see the breed, colour, size of the dog when you are playing with him? Of course not! All you can see is the spark in his eyes and his radiant “smile” that can brighten even your gloomiest days! A dog, irrespective of the breed, just needs a loving and a compassionate friend. They want you to cuddle them after you reach home and pamper them with some jerkies! You can simply talk to them, and they will never retaliate, lecture or taunt you. They are all ears when you talk to them. They also work as “social catalysts” and help you get out more, and interact with others thereby reducing isolation.

 2.       The Indian breed myth

People have formed preconceived notions about Indian breeds. They consider them unhygienic, dumb, rebellious and even stubborn. As a matter of fact, the behaviour of a dog depends on his training. If you buy a German Shepherd worth Rs. 12,000 and do not train him appropriately or beat him up very often as a punishment, he will end up becoming ferocious and will never obey you in his life.

Stray puppies could initially have ticks and problems like intestinal parasites due to their poor living conditions. But these are easily treatable; plus, even the pedigreed puppies can have these problems. So, instead of calling street pups “unhygienic”, you can make an effort to de-worm them and apply some anti-parasitic medicines to help them get rid of such predicaments. What’s more, street dogs have a better immunity against diseases and infections, thanks to adaptation since generations. While pedigreed dogs are a haven for ticks and fleas, it’s comparatively easier for street dogs to get rid of them.

 3.       Customers or Parents?

Many affluent families buy dogs for tens of thousands of rupees and then abandon them if they are attacked by serious medical issues like kidney failures or severe stomach infections. They behave just like customers, who throw away an old gadget the moment it stops functioning properly. But dogs aren’t lifeless objects and nothing hurts them more than separation. Instead of behaving like a customer who pays money to ‘buy’ a pet, you can behave like a parent and adopt an orphan, homeless dog.

 4.       The homeless need love too!

Adopt a local Indian breed once, and with time you’ll notice that they are as smart and friendly as any foreign breed. There are numerous puppies lying on the streets, who crave for food and loving homes. Most of them either die painfully due to diseases or hit-and-run accidents, while the others continue to live in agony. These puppies can be given a chance to live a healthy and safe life; all you need to do is change your attitude towards Indian breeds.

If you are thinking of bringing home a cute and loving dog, do consider Indian breeds once! By doing so, you’ll be saving a precious life.

Everyone loves animals. Do I hear a no? Okay, there may be some people who dislike them, but majority of the world’s population love animals and some people even have them as pets at home. Be it parrots, guinea pigs, cats, dogs or even lion cubs, there are a variety of animals and birds that can be kept as pets at home. However, dogs seem to top the pet list worldwide.

The way they yelp for food, their bum wobbling when they play, their sad face for locking them in the kennel, the excitement they show when they see you after long hours, getting petrified of their own fart noise, hiding under our legs when lightning strikes and much more. Can you name one thing that you don’t find to be cute in your furry ball of joy? Initially, they might be a headache; but, they capture our hearts soon enough and become a part of our family.

With so much ‘dog’ertainment that we get, the least we can do is to tend to their needs. Once we bring them home, they are under our protection. It is important for us to know what is right and wrong for the puppy’s growth. If you are a first timer, here are a few essential tips that will help you take good care of your four-legged buddy.

Do you have the essentials?

Your pet might be a part of your family, but he is still an animal. It is mandatory to keep his things separate from yours. Feeding bowl, water bowl, comb, brush, shampoo, towel, collar and leash have to be washed regularly and kept aside. Do not mix your stuff with his. It is not good for your health and your puppy’s.

Did you puppy-proof your house?

It is important to puppy-proof your house, lest it keeps on chewing your stuff during its teething phase. Keep things at a higher level so that the naughty little one is unable to reach there. Be it kitchenware, shoes, clothes, combs or the kinds; don’t make it accessible for your puppy.

Do you take him to the vet regularly?

Initially, your puppy needs a few vaccinations to ensure that doesn’t face any health issues. Also, even if he is in the pink of health, make sure you visit the vet on a regularly basis, mainly because, even though he may seem fine he doesn’t ‘talk’ to tell us his invisible body problems.

Do you groom him from time-to-time?

If your puppy is furry, it is important for you to groom him from time-to-time. Otherwise, his hair can easily get knotted up and give him a lot of pain when you decide to sit one fine day to comb his fur. Also, clean and bathe him frequently as per the vet’s instructions. Make sure you keep a tab of fleas and other pests that may be clinging on to your pet’s body.

Do you know that human food is toxic to your puppy?

By feeding your puppy with food that you consume, you are intoxicating him. It might be difficult for you to gobble chips when he is sitting right in front you waiting for you to throw him at least one piece. But, don’t feed him. When you are eating, either keep him in his kennel or train him to not ask for your food.

Having a dog as a family member is a wonderful feeling. You can love him or abuse him; but, at the end of the day, he will still love you unconditionally. Let’s not do the latter, and be faithful to him, as he is to us.