The Problem of Plenty

Dog-opoly is a dog-specie version of the famous board game Monopoly, but it really is the monopoly of dogs on the Indian streets!

Our country has a large population of stray dogs- I mean obnoxiously large! Sometimes, one may not find people on streets, but dogs – always! While it may not be appropriate to generalize, but stray dogs have proved to be calamitous for humans, in many incidents and places. Apart from being a tad-bit noisy and unhygienic, they are quite dangerous. It is quite terrifying to walk on streets at night, with howling sounds in the background. They contribute to a number of road accidents, of which a few prove almost fatal to a person walking, in order to save the-dog-sprung-from-God-knows-where. Not eliminating the fact that it could prove fatal for them as well, and that this is a difficult life for them. (Please don’t call PETA).

Quite a few people, by now, probably detest me for my perspective on this particular issue, but in all reasonableness, it makes sense. I mean I understand that they also are a breathing, eating, pooping, moving, barking-but-unable-to-talk-and-express-their-plight (and so are chickens we eat?) kind of creatures, but in my view we need to re-think the extent to which we take things emotionally, accept that it is a grave issue, and take steps to find a permanent solution.

Any discussion on welfare of strays always gets the same reply, “We don’t have resources to cater to majority of people, and how can we cater to dogs?” I don’t completely agree with this notion. In an urban setting, one cannot diversify problems like that. Everything is correlated. If measures are taken to fix any one issue, it automatically affects the other.

One of the main and obvious reason is our hygiene habits. It is the unattended litter on the roads, which actually is a feast for these stray-dogs, and cater to their survival and existence. We as a culture are quite messy- always blaming the incapable and inactive government for improper infrastructure, and on the other hand, don’t even maintain sanitation regime on personal level! We really do not need to wait for a TV show, a bill-board sign or our Prime Minister to start movement to know the importance of cleanliness. It is only clearing of litter that will solve the problem – quicker than anything!

Apart from that, there are a lot of organisations that vaccinate the stray dogs – all thanks to a few good Samaritans. Let us at least help them help us in any way we can – volunteer, provide resources, financial aid, inform about unattended or bruised stray dogs, adopt and encourage others to adopt, etc. Actually even if one cannot adopt these stray dogs, getting them vaccinated will not only save their lives, but also prevent spreading of diseases. These solutions may not be quick in reducing the number of strays, but probably are first few steps in the planned scheme of reducing their numbers. And Jaipur has proved that it is possible.

Every dog has its day, but with our collective efforts these dogs will have a life.

Dog-Opoly

A city of dogs – underdogs of the city!

Dog-Opoly is a dog version of the famous board game Monopoly, but it really is the monopoly of dogs on the Indian streets!

And for a dog-fearing person like me, I have always wondered why is the stray-dog population in India so high, as compared to the negligible numbers in the west? Besides being a nuisance to the locality, chaotic, catastrophic for children, unhygienic, noisy, etc., it can actually be quite scary to walk on the lonely streets at nights with howling noises in the background. The fear quotient in me is so high, that it almost makes me feel that I am a part of a “Conjuring” for real! While it may not be appropriate to generalize, but stray dogs have proved to be calamitous for humans in quite many incidents and places. In fact, a number of road accidents occur, of which a few prove almost fatal to a person walking, in order to save the-dog-sprung-from-God-knows-where, and I am not eliminating the chances of their deaths here as well. Thank God for the law in 2001 that forbade the killing of dogs, which was a good-step but has further added to the stray population. “Why doesn’t government create better infrastructure?”, a dog-lover or any person-with-a-heart may ask. But in retrospect, we do not have proper facilities for more than half the population, let alone the thought of the thick-skinned people on top melting at the their plight. And we haven’t even started talking about pigs, donkeys and other more “bechara” animals on streets yet!

Quite a few people by now probably must already have started hating me for my perspective on this particular situation, but in all practicality it makes sense. I mean I understand that they also are a breathing, eating, pooping, moving, barking-but-unable-to-talk-and-express-their-plight (and so are chickens we eat?) kind of creatures, but in my view we need to re-think the extent to which we take things emotionally and start introducing practical solutions to the existing grave problems- a journey from sensitive to sensible.

When I did my research I realized the main reason was our hygiene habits. It is the unattended litter on the roads, which actually is a feast for the strays, and hence they survive for long and strong. This is the prime reason. We as a culture are quite messy, always blame the incapable and inactive government for improper infrastructure, and on the other hand don’t even maintain sanitation regime on personal level! We really do not need to wait for a few intellectuals to instruct us, “do not litter” boards everywhere, Satyamev Jayate, or a Prime Minister to start a ‘Swacch Bharat Abhiyan’ to know the importance of cleanliness. It is only clearing of litter, and not killing the strays, that will solve the problem – quicker than anything! It is common sense to not litter, and should be followed as a protocol, otherwise the efforts of a handful will go to the dogs. Literally.

Apart from that, there are a lot of organisations that neuter and vaccinate the stray dogs – all thanks to the unlike me dog-loving people out there. Let us at least help them help us using whatever way we can – volunteer, provide resources, financial aid, inform about unattended or bruised stray dogs, adopt and get them vaccinated etc. Also encourage more and more people to make stray dog as pets, instead of buying ’em. These solutions may not be quick in their eradication, but probably are first few steps in the planned scheme of reducing their numbers!

Every dog has its day, but with our collective efforts these dogs will have a life. Amen.