Seven years ago, I went to Genevillier’s SPA Shelter, near Paris, and I adopted my cat. He was three years old, he was black and white and very big. But he is the sweetest cat I have ever had, he gives me love end tenderness every day. He does not judge me; he never criticizes the way I dress and does not make any remark when I eat a third piece of cake. His adoption cost about 100 euros. For only 100 euros, I had my sterilized and healthy best friend and I have given him a happy new life!
It is Summer holiday in France, which means hiking in the mountains, basking in the sun, swimming in the sea, travelling, visiting family and in the meanwhile… Paris gets empty!
But it also means that many families will abandon their pets. Each year in France, more than 60,000 animals are abandoned by their selfish masters who prefer to go on holiday leaving the shaggy burden behind. Once they have been found, the pets are taken to animal shelters where they wait for a new owner…or for death!
Hopefully, the animal welfare « Résistance » does not give up. Associations like SPA or Brigitte Bardot campaign against abandoning and shelters set up adoption days in which many celebrities take part. Average Joes can act effectively too: The Internet has become a perfect way to find someone to keep your pets for the holidays; animal lovers offer to look after your animal at a low price and the elderly who need company and do not go on holiday, stick some ads in animal hospitals and local bakeries.
Despite all this willingness, bastard dogs and European cats struggle hopelessly against the trend of pedigree pets who are bought in shops like a It Bag or a new video-game. After Christmas, have you ever noticed all the children walking proudly outside with a puppy Yorkshire or a young Labrador frolicking clumsily on a leash?
The Farangi Doggy tendency
This problem also exists in India even though it is different.
In big cities, having a pet has become really popular but despite the high number of dogs in India, wealthy people order pedigree cats or dogs to foreign breeders. Having a pet at home, is a symbol of financial success. The more the dog is expensive -up to 6000 dollars!-, the more the family’s status is high! Luxury accessory pet shops and pet salons are booming in India’s big cities. Pet owners do not hesitate to pay hefty amounts of money for a Gucci collar or a body massage for Whiskey or Lassie! -Luxury dogs always have American names, I don’t know why…- India’s pet industry is valued at around 45 million dollars annually, according to research firm Euromonitor, – but 40 billions in the US!-,( article from AFP.).
In Bollywood -which is often a good barometer to know the current trends among well-off people – actors and actresses have no cause to be envious of Paris Hilton’s Chihuahuas: Shah Rukh is a real dog lover and his dogs are pure race: Maltese, Japonese, Labrador… whereas Shilpa Shetty likes to display her white protruding-eyed Pekinese dog. Believe it or not, but it is rumoured that Salman Khan’s monst...well…Dogues de Bordeaux, have their own chef who follows them when they go on a trip.
So, what? You might say. People do what they want with their money!
And yet, there is a problem; the streets of India’s cities are plenty of stray dogs – 500,000 in Delhi – which survive by eating the waste or the food left by the local residents.
So, the dog war has been declared in the streets:
On one side, even if it is strictly forbidden by the law, some people don’t hesitate to kill stray dogs in ways I cannot describe here. But, although this idea sounds shocking, we must understand that dogs can be real vermin in some parts of India. If you can see them submissively snoozing in the shade during the day, they gather in packs when the night comes and then, they become the kings! According to the WHO (World Health Organization) 20,000 people die of rabies every year in India and dogs are the source of 99% of the cases. Thus, some people are legitimately scared or irritated but killing stray dogs is not the best solution.
On the other side, charities struggle to save slumdogs. First, birth control is essential and animal welfare organisations such as CUPA pick up animals to give them anti-rabies vaccination and to sterilize them. The second point is to convince people to adopt puppies from the streets instead of buying their pets to breeders. Unfortunately, keeping a common mangy doggy at home seems to be inconceivable to many Indians.
A young Canadian woman called Anna has experienced this on her blog Bombaysun. I like her respect and love for animals:
« The pic above is a puppy i’ve named Babe and she is part of two stray families living in the building next door. There are 5 puppies and they are about 3 months old now. I’ve been feeding them daily, cooking rice and veggies and meat. I’m most likely known as the crazy dog lady now by the watchmen and our neighbors but i’ve learnt to not give a f*** what these people say, these dogs need food and love. (and i love them!)
I’ve made sure they’ve all got their vaccinations and de-worming. Sadly i have not been able to find a home for them; the preferred breeds as pets here are imported so called “”pedigrees”. The indian breeds seem very intelligent and sensitive, a perfect pet, i just wish more people would realize this…. »
I find the two pictures fresh and optimistic even though the cat looks a bit flabbergasted. By the way, can anyone tell me why Kalki has a string of blue lights spread over her legs?