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‘Pets mean the world to me. They aren’t just pet animals living in my house, they are family.’
You must have often come across these sentences and many more, glorifying the family-like relationship that a human shares with his or her pet. No doubt it is very adorable on the part of the animal to be such a brilliant companion and very noble on the part of the human to treat it so. However, there is one tiny detail that most people let go while choosing pets.

Siamese cats, parakeets, Saint Bernard dogs, Persian cats, pugs, Irish hounds.
What is the striking feature common to all of the above names?
They are all animal and birds kept as pets by humans globally.
The tiny detail that most people do not notice is that all of the aforesaid names belong to the expensive, glamorous pet breeds of the world. There is a negligible mention that stray animals or rescued birds can be great pets too.pet 1

One would rarely find someone on their morning walk in an uptown area with anything less than a highly expensive canine on the end of the leash. Nobody cares for some fleabag stray dog which eats leftovers from the garbage bins. Nobody thinks those animals could make excellent affable pets too.
Why?
Even love comes with a price tag these days. It portrays a lowly status if you call a stray and make it your home companion. At least that is what the general perception is. But, most decidedly, the general perception is WRONG. It is time we gather some wits and do what is right. Find homes for the homeless rather than spend a fortune on already groomed animals that will have many takers in any case.

  • First off, the best way to find a pet is to open your eyes and look around. Animals will return your love best if you help them in need. If a neighborhood dog is injured, bring it some milk. If possible, spray some topical ointment over the open wound. It will be a matter of time and healing and the dog is forever yours. You have a good pet as any other.

 

  • Pounds are the places that are portrayed as scary cold places where animals, especially dogs are tortured and left to live in inhuman conditions. We all know them from real life experiences, movies and what not. Sadly, a lot of the portrayal is real.
    Not that anybody wants to deliberately hurt the inmates of the pound but not much can be done. There is way too big a population of stray dogs out on the streets in India today. Making life safe both for the dogs as well as humans, they are routinely picked up and packed in extra small cages meant for one and made to share it with four other dogs. Due to the small revenue at hand and a large number to handle, the pound cannot provide facilities for all the inmates.

The solution: ADOPT.

pet 2

Adopt strays right from the streets or from the pound. The caretakers will be more than happy to part with some of the dogs and cats. Sometimes animals from the pound are psychologically and physically damaged and have trust issues. Do not give up or get irritated but give the dog its natural time to heal and let it feel your love and support.

 

When it comes to birds, life is a little tricky. I personally do not like the idea of keeping caged birds as pets. How are is it companionship if one of you is forced to live behind bars and is at the mercy of the other? pet 3As far as birds go, rehabilitating injured birds is the best you should do. Do not try to grab or capture them but continue to give them food if they are perched at their comfort place. If seriously injured, you might have to take it down with a towel or a big cloth and visit a vet. Placing bird feed jars garden faucets and bird baths is a welcome for the free birds to come and go as they like. Make sure to change the water in the bird bath daily, especially during the scorching summers.

Cats are independent, shy and like going solo. Before approaching a free roaming cat, you might want to check if it is lost or a feral. An injured cat may be a little docile but others would usually hiss, arch its back and flatten its ears to show defense. Building trust is of paramount importance while handling cats. I have boatloads of experience with cats and it is a gigantic task taking them to vets and medicating them. They have immense caring issues like territory, feeding, medication and trust. However, a cat once a faithful companion will shed its fierce fireball and become an adorable little thing instead.
pet 4Being a feline lover, cats are BEST!

Even if you cannot take in a stray or homeless animal, tending to its needs would be a good idea. You could always volunteer with organizations working with strays or get the dogs medical doses. Keep a caring eye for the needy. Be the foster caretakers for animals for a while.
Do not take up a pet if you cannot do it justice and lock it for almost the entire day when you spend your time at work. If you must have a pet, take a stray. Pedigree breeds will always be the more fortunate ones to find luxury homes.  Animals need love even if they are born on the streets. Make a stray feel at home. Animals speak the language of love even in a war field.pet 5

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Gargi Banerjee

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