Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It is a dog’s life…… caring for the Dogs in a big way !!

Dogs  -  perhaps the most no. had as pet – the domestic dog was also in all likelihood the first of the animals to be domesticated and used as companion in hunting in earlier days.   Dogs are touted to be very loyal to its masters and are stated to be man’s best friend.   Afghan Hounds, Great Danes, Shepherds, Basset Hounds, Labrador Retrievers, Lhasa Apsos, Mastiffs, Blood hounds, Pinschers, Bull dogs, Cavalier King, Spaniels,  German Shepherds, Alsatians, Dalmatians, Yorkshire Terriers,  Affenpinscher, Akbash,  Alano Espanol – are some of the brand names, I read and Pit Bulls, Rottweilers,  German Shepherds, Huskies,  Alaskan Malamutes, Doberman Pinschers, Chow Chow, Presa Canario, Boxer, Dalmatian – were reported to be the most aggressive ones. 
The pug is a small breed of dog with a wrinkly, short-muzzled face, and curled tail, made popular with the Hutch -  "Wherever you go, our network follows."

There are many expressions associated with ‘dog’ and most of them depict the mongrels derogatory.  ‘Dog days’ (Latin: diēs caniculārēs) are the hottest, most sultry days of summer.  There would however be exceptions as the 18th month old rare Tibetan Mastiff dog named Yangtze enjoyed !   A Chinese millionaire by name Wang visited the remote border region between Tibet and western Qinghai province in Apr 11; she reportedly owned a Tibetan Mastiff bitch and was in search of a mate, which reportedly was bought for £350,000 – a whooping Rs. 2.75 crores.  Tibetan Mastiff breeds reportedly grow up to a height of note more than 3 feet and are renowned to be fiercest. 

Things elsewhere are different !  though dogs are considered good pets, there reportedly are more than 30 million stray dogs and in India stray dogs are estimated to cause more 20000 human casualties yearly.  They are feared, hated and many want to keep them away from their living area.  The incidence of dog bites are also high, though there are no court cases claiming liability from the owners of the dog, which again none for those negligent mongrels straying on road.  Dog bites, and incidence of rabies are also high !

Dogs can be scary especially when they chase you in the late hours of the day…  there are many dogs loitering on roads – free ranging dogs that are not contained.  There have been reports of them attacking persons and children.  They are known to attack and cause harm to other animals as well.  There is always lurking fear that the victim needs to be administered ‘series of injections around the stomach’.  I understand that this is no longer the case and that vaccines such as Nervous tissue vaccine (NTV) are administered.  This is a vaccine reportedly  is prepared from a fixed virus grown in the brain of adult sheep or other animal. The final vaccine is a 5 per cent emulsion of infected sheep's brain containing the inactivated virus.  For severe bites, victim might  require injection for 10 days daily with two booster doses. For such volume of vaccine and duration, the ideal injection site is the anterior abdominal wall. This is preferred as there is a wide area and injection can be given at different points to avoid pain, swelling and discomfort.


When most of us do fear dogs this way…….. and perhaps would try and get away wherever they are without allowing them ‘to follow us’ – Anjali Sharma is different.  (you might have seen her without knowing this facet ……..…. ). 
The New Indian Express (Chennai Edition – City Express page 5) – 2nd Nov 2011 has the following newsitem on her :

Chennai: Anjali Sharma has been feeding Chennai’s street dogs leftovers for the past 15 years. While that may not surprise you, considering the number of animal lovers Chennai has, the fact that she has a Maruti Omni dedicated for this ‘feeding’ service, sets her apart. She and her van are the reason that nearly a 100 homeless Indian dogs, in different nooks around the upmarket Harrington Road stretch and those that take shelter at the rice mills in Red Hills, get a taste of five star cuisine every single day of the week.

“I’ve been collecting leftovers from The Park hotel at Gemini for close to a decade now, and I also pick up a bucket load of cake shavings and cream from French Loaf at  Harrington Road ,” she states. Wait a minute, isn’t sugar bad for dogs? “No, they’ve been eating it for years,” she responds, “and good food really helps.   Some of the senior citizens I feed are as old as 18 and 19!” In human years, this is equivalent to the ripe old age of 92. We meet at French Loaf, her starting point on the agenda and out come two tall plastic drums, shoveled to the brim with left over mounds of chocolate cake. She has already visited the Park kitchen, which is evident from the mulitiple steel dabbhas loaded in the rear of her van. “These are left overs from the buffet. So, it could be anything from salad to sushi, meats and even Thai food sometimes,” she explains.

On this particular day, Anjali has spotted a rather pitiable four-legged creature, covered in skin problems from head to paw. Of course, she picks him up and he joins the ride. “It’s time for my rounds now,” she informs us. And the car stops at a fancy looking block of apartments down the street.   The watchmen know her well and smile as she scoops up a few handfuls of cake to put on the pavement outside; one of them goes inside to fetch a friend. It turns out to be shy mongrel with a head injury. She heads to the van to fetch some powder, then giggles, “The last time I saw him, he had injured his privates, and I tried to put some powder there. So now, he’s a little reluctant to meet me.”

Next, we head over to a furniture warehouse, the temporary home of six kittens and then to another pavement where a new dog face greets her. Does she know them all by name? “Almost,” she says and then turns to offer a piece of chicken to a healthy looking dog she calls “Tubby Tail”, who ironically doesn't have one. At one of her regular drop off points, the entrance is locked. So, she skillfully passes the food via a sheet of newspaper under the gate. You see, with a samaritan dog-lover, nobody gets left out.  As we take the trip over to the Red Hills area, where this Delhi-born animal activist resides, she reveals, “I’ve been doing this as a single person for so long because honestly I’ve found it very difficult to find good homes for the pups I find on the street.”

This statement is followed by a fresh dimension of perspective after we finish making three stops at rice mills en route her home. From a distance of some 30 feet away, a thunderous roar of barks and howls seem to be coming from a residence beyond. ‘How many dogs do you have?’ this reporter asks politely.   “Well, I haven't done a headcount, but I would say close to 60,” she states, her tone matter-of-fact. “It is really quite a madhouse. Are you sure you want to come in?”   (Anjali Sharma can be contacted for pet adoptions or animal birth control at 9884065010. You can also visit www.theanimalsocietyofchennai.org for more details)

Tidbit  :  -  In the recent edition of Guinness Book of World Records, there was a strange entry – ‘most no. of dogs skipping on a rope’ and that is the entury of   Uchida Geinousha's 'Super Wan Wan Circus' based in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan,  which offers a unique act for its audience; the incredible sight of 13 dogs skipping on a rope.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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