Saturday, 15 March 2008

pet dogs in India

I've learned many things about how to look after Penny in my virtual travels around the Blogosphere. I enjoy hearing how people live with their pets around other parts of Australia and in other countries, but until today I hadn't thought about doggy life in India.

Today, in the local paper, The Age, there was a piece about the fact that dog ownership has become a status symbol in some parts of India. I guess if I have any impression of dogs in India it would be of ownerless dogs roaming city streets. I apologise to any Indian readers if this is a stereotyped idea but I haven't visited India and that's the picture that comes to mind.

So I was quite interested to read that the fad for owning 'trophy dogs' is growing amongst the middle class in India. The article in the paper is accompanied by a picture of actress June Malia with her pug. It is eerily reminiscent of Paris Hilton clutching any one of her bevy of pups as she poses for the cameras. I guess some things are a world-wide phenomenon.

I surfed the Net and found an article in The Times of India about dog ownership in Calcutta (Kolkata). I think it was written in 2004, but it relates to the same discussion about people buying breeds that are currently popular and looks at what people had been choosing over recent years. However, the following excerpt struck me:
But is keeping a pet all about making a style-statement? Actress Nelajana doesn't think so." Going by our climatic conditions, a pariah or a street dog is the most suitable pet breed here. Instead of taking a dog as pet for the sake of status symbol or a fashion statement, I feel compassion should be the sole reason for doing so," says she.

That reminded me of a mention recently on Bark Blog of a report that officials in Srinagar City, in Bangalore plan to poison 100,000 dogs and this cruel plan is opposed by local animal welfare groups, who say the plan should be to sterilise the dogs instead. But these groups admit they have only been able to sterilise 400 dogs in the last two years.

What a terrible situation - all those dogs roaming the streets, apparently spreading rabies, and with no-one to care for them. In a related article a journalist points out that these are the indigenous dogs of India. There's also an fascinating page about the Indian Pariah Dog Club - the blog owner defines the pariah dog as:
A free-roaming, indigenous and ancient race of dogs who evolved a distinct appearance and character without human intervention. Named after the Pariah tribe of Tamil Nadu which was considered outcast. While the original usage of the term is derogatory, it has been commonly used by cynologists for many years and has no negative connotation in the canine context. Pariah dogs across continents have the same basic physical characteristics. In biological terms, the pariah dogs of Asia and Africa are of the highest value for study of genetics and origin of the dog


the aphasia decoder.... said...

Boy, I'm glad I stopped by and read this entry. This is interesting. I had the same misconception about dogs in India. Cooper

GA said...

Feral dogs are often mistreated, but I suppose that is part of being wild :).

My sister's in taiwan at the moment working with a dog rescue organization there too. It's quite shocking there how owners very often dump their dogs, so you get even pedigreed dogs becoming 'feral'.

Your dog is lovely and fluffy, the photo of her checking on the chicken neck is precious!

parlance said...

Ga, your sister is a hero, as far as I'm concerned. I read about people who do things like that and I can only admire them.

parlance said...

Aphasia decoder, it's interesting, I agree. I've read somewhere - a book by the Coppingers, if I remember correctly - that they believe the 'village dog' is the ancestor of domesticated dogs, not the wolf as some hypothesise.

I presume the 'village dog' to be the dingo-like pariah dog. I think there is a theory that the Australian dingoes came over from Asia.