India 2011 – Dogs

Man’s best friend has a very special place in the UK, no doubt about it. They make a great pet and a dog is for life, not just Christmas. And having tutored and lived at so many families I have gotten to be friends with a few dogs myself, taking them on walks and throwing sticks for them to catch. I’ve met quite a different types of breed too.

The story in India is different. Pet dogs are not that common here and dogs are mostly visible as stray dogs. These dogs quietly live their lives in the daytime scavenging whatever food they can get while roaming about from street to street. At night when things are quieter stray dogs come to life on their own. You can hear some barking and howling sounds at night as the rest of the sounds quieten. On the whole stray dogs are pretty harmless and not much of a nuisance. I’ve heard some nightmare stories about Bucharest though!

Stray dogs in Delhi

Go on boy, fetch!

Getting too close to a dog is feared and the prospect of a bite means you don’t see the same level of affection for dogs here as you would see it in the UK. Stray dogs are seen as one of the pests that are out and about. They may be stoned and shooed away if they are straying too close.

One of the main reasons for this general dislike of dogs could be that in Hindu stories such as the Ramayna, Mahabharata etc,. dogs are seen as dark creatures that are related to the god of death, rather than say the monkey god who has a very special place indeed.

I’ve seen dogs here in the past in some pretty sorry states with their scrawny look and sometimes quite literally on their last legs. But more recently the dogs I have seen seem to be fairly healthy. And dogs are of course used as guards and by the police here as well. So man’s best friend lives on and co-exists with the rest of us in the urban jungle.

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