Monday, January 30, 2012

Dog, Friend of Man?

            I had a picture of Delhi before I arrived, its usually, the best view, which they project in news channels and news papers – A clean Delhi, usually it would be the Red Fort and its road, where not a strand of hair lies on roads and coming from the airport too, I didn’t have a clue, what was awaiting me, then it started trickling bit by bit, garbage, here and garbage there, then the dogs – stray dogs. I was shocked to see it, as Delhi is famous for Animal Welfare Societies who treats the animals with much care and voicing all sort of legal issues in papers, that I was struck with the pathetic situation of the dogs here. Since it was dark, I didn’t have much option of going to look for it, but to settle for the night.
Dogs are the best friend of Man. That I cannot deny but when the dog overgrows from friend to a burden, then what would be the situation of the dog? Well it has to roam about the streets, naturally and ultimately be a stray dog. These stary dogs don’t abstain from affairs of procreation. Then its situation become bad to worse, searching for food in the garbage or in front of hotels or houses, sleep anywhere where it feels safe. But we think about their pathetic situation only when it becomes a nuisance to the society.
 So I settled in a place where I would say, that the pulse of the common man beats. I have a habit of going for a morning walk and a spiritual rendezvous in one go. Usually I start at 5:30 am. Walk real fast and reach my destination, out of breath, better ask why? The stray dogs, Here the stray dogs are more than the residents. Its all over the place, on car tops, roads, pavements, cycle rickshaws, until then I liked to travel in cycle rickshaws, but seeing a dog, sitting in it, I now do have second thoughts, in travelling in it. Its not that I do not like dogs, I do like it, but the fleas and the dirt of the street on the dog do get transmitted to human beings, don’t you think so? But it cannot be openly aired, can we? Anyway, I have to look my well being, so I opt for my two leg ride.
The residents are much more kind hearted, they are very generous and so they give a share of their food to the society’s back street strayed residents at the back of their houses or in street corners. Now all the by lanes are full of food left by the dogs, the poor strays have a choice of what they could eat, after consuming an extravagant meal, I think the stomach starts troubling them. They defecate everywhere and the street sweepers sweep around the poop but not take it away  completely. Some poop are so watery that it looks like a slurry and the cows do add to the misery, by giving their share of bowel cleaning. Usually what I do is not walk, but jump from one clean place to the other. In India, we have a ritual of seeing a best sight before going to work or for the day to be good, but seeing all these I feel the day of a delhiite is mushy, I think, their sensation for responding has gone. And the sad situation is that the old residents sit around the poop with the flies on it. But we forget one factor, what we are bringing upon us.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deemed pet waste a “nonpoint source of pollution” in 1991, which put poop in the same category as oil and toxic chemicals!
It has been estimated that a single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, which are known to cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal illness, and serious kidney disorders in humans. EPA even estimates that two or three days’ worth of droppings from a population of about 100 dogs would contribute enough bacteria to temporarily close a bay, and all watershed areas within 20 miles of it.
Dog feces are one of the most common carriers of the following diseases:
·        Heartworms
·        Whipworms
·        Hookworms
·        Roundworms
·        Tapeworms
·        Parvo
·        Corona
·        Giardiasis
·        Salmonellosis
·        Cryptosporidiosis
·        Campylobacteriosis
Two days back, a she-dog, gave birth to  a litter in my street, to be frank in front of our gate. It was a nightmare for the pedestrians, thinking that her puppies would be attacked, she attacked all passers by, the children were the most aggrieved. They ran and it followed them. Then I asked one of my colleagues, what does the Delhi Municipality do? My colleague was not aware of all those things. She said, who has time for all these? Then I knew, they accepted whatever was put into the platter without a murmur. But where would it lead? I’m sure, we don’t have to be Anna Hazare to make a change. There are lots of unsung heroes, who have contributed their share of their capability to make our lives easy, but we cannot wait for these guys to relieve us from our problems. It is in our hands, we should be the heroes of our society, not with big announcements and banners, but by creating an awareness within friends, neighbours and together asking the help of the Delhi Municipality and the concerned people like Animal  Welfare Societies, etc..Then we join together and slowly help clean one place after another. Just imagine when a rain comes, what will happen to the wastes? We literally would bathe in it won’t we?
There is an old saying, face is the mirror of the heart and Delhi is the face of India and if it is in such a pathetic situation, its not the authorities or the media or the bureaucrats or the politician who is to be blamed, it is each one of us, who occupy the space, of this land. We citizens, should be aware of our living standards. Its not the house, the car and the luxuries, that should dictate the standards of our lives, it should be the surroundings and the people who live around us, that should be the criteria, we should live for. We can aid our bureaucrats to help them make our city clean. And help put up lots of Animal Shelters and help them by donating some money or services to do their work properly and provide all the stray dogs a shelter, so that they are safe from not only other dogs, but also from the diseases and human interference. And Delhi needs the presence of mind and your services badly. Why don’t we join with our dogly friends?

Meena Thomas


Sources

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