Dogs of India

I had heard of street dogs in India before, but never thought I would see them with my own eyes; but then I visited India myself.

My eldest daughter benefited from a scholarship in Mumbai (Bombay) for a year. It’s way too long for a mother to go without seeing her child, so I traveled to India to spend 10 days with her.

I’m not going to depress you by telling you all the details of the poverty, the beggars, the homeless children sleeping on the sidewalks, the trash everywhere you look. Suffice to say that street dogs subsist like these people – eating, resting, eliminating – in full view of the passing world.

There are animal rights activists in major Indian cities, organizations like Animal Welfare Council of India And For the defense of animals in India, who work for the benefit of street dogs and cats, as well as the country’s wildlife. The problem is that the numbers of animals are so vast, the resources so limited, that it seems to the Western outsider that little is being done.

However, what struck me most about street dogs was how coldness they are, despite their living conditions and their skin, in various tortured stages of flea and scabies infestation. Perhaps because concerned parents advise Indian children to NEVER touch a stray animal, dogs are mostly left alone. The specter of rabies and other diseases is a stigma that has allowed dogs to live a somewhat peaceful existence.

They sleep quietly on walls, sidewalks and benches, right next to humans, and sometimes right in the middle of the road. People, bicycles and cars deftly bypass them.

At first I had to be restrained by fellow travelers to NOT approach them. After a while I was able to stop touching but I always look at. Many perplexed Indians don’t seem to understand why I would be so interested in what, for them, is just a part of everyday life.

The dogs themselves avoided eye contact with people but were NEVER aggressive. They also never approached for help. Obviously, along with cows, bulls and Brahma cats, they survived by picking up the constant trash that littered the streets, sidewalks, everywhere. In Mumbai, there are no trash cans outside, so people just throw things directly on the ground, including directly from cars, trains, and buses.

The dogs are as nondescript as any stray dog. The lineage was blurred over years of crossbreeding until each dog had the basic characteristics of a dog: medium size, lean, short hair, pointed ears, fairly long muzzle, omnipresent brown color. But the faces, oh, the faces. So gentle, a little wary, eyelids fluttering in the sun and heat.

Seeing them every day, I couldn’t help but think of my own dogs and those of my clients – well-fed, shiny coats, much-loved, dear family members. I saw Indians with pet dogs, walking on leashes with their owners. They were always purebred dogs – an American Eskimo dog, a German shepherd, several Labradors – but not dogs.

Did I want to take them all in and give them the veterinary care, grooming, and high-quality dog ​​food they should have? With every ounce of my being.

There is no happy ending to this blog post. I didn’t bring any dogs home, but I’m donating to International Animal Rescue in honor of my daughter’s year in India. And helped her, at the end of her scholarship, to bring back to the United States Picabo, the cat she had adopted in Mumbai.


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