otw_shortcode_info_box border_style=”bordered” css_class=”boxed”]Shirin Merchant is India’s pioneering Canine Behaviourist and Trainer. For the past 25 years, she has worked hard to ensure that dogs in India are trained using reward-based methods.[/otw_shortcode_info_box]
As we all sit around in our homes with our pampered pooches by our side, we have found it easy to complain. Pet-parent group chats include sentences like, “Oh Gawd! My poor darling has to now eat ghar ka khana as her gluten-free, imported food has stopped”, or “Darling, my fur baby missed her weekly trip to Alibaug because of this silly lockdown”, or “I don’t know when the ice-cream shop will reopen so my pooch can get her favourite flavour!”
As tough as our lives may seem for our dogs, our current dilemma as pet-parents, as regards why our dogs are not pooping enough, or how to keep them from destroying your designer sofa, seems insignificant when compared to the lives that Indies or dogs on the streets are currently living.
Since many restaurants are shut and the garbage removed, they have to work harder to get their meals. The feeders across India are doing a great job of ensuring they get fed, but what about the hatred they are seeing, thanks to the misinformation?
People are shooing them away from outside their homes. Even dog owners aren’t allowing their dogs close in the fear that the street dog may have the virus!! There is even a video of a woman shooting at them because ‘they are dirty’! And so, the ‘pariah’ has truly become the outcast.
If there is one thing we have learnt during this pandemic, it is that the entitled people tend to lose their common sense and compassion. We all know that dogs do not transmit COVID-19, but for those that didn’t get it the first time, here it is – ALL DOGS CANNOT TRANSMIT COVID-19 – AND THAT INCLUDES STREET DOGS.
So stop being heartless and chasing them away from outside your homes. Instead, why not put out a bowl of water? Stop hating them – it’s the humans who are to blame for this pandemic, not the dogs, so stop treating them as untouchables! Social distancing is for humans, not for dogs. And for God’s sake, stop spreading false information by forwarding messages blindly or simply giving a voice to your unfounded fear-based assumptions on social media!
Testing times should bring out compassion in us, not hatred!
This disease will pass, as all diseases do, and it will change us as it does. I hope it makes us all kinder humans. Remember, the curve that needs flattening is not just for the virus, but importantly, for hatred too!