Next year (2012) is slated to be the year of the females. Across cities, animal groups and rescuers are campaigning for their female rescues to have as good a chance at finding homes as their male siblings. Female pets are considered ‘high-maintenance' or ‘at risk of littering' even though spaying makes both these problems non-existent. Says actor and PETA ambassador Trisha Krishnan — “I've raised three female dogs as a child and I can tell you they're lovely to bring up. The best thing to do is sterilise them.”
Bangalore-based adoption network Let's Live Together is launching their 2012 calendar urging people to open their hearts to female pups. The theme of their calendar is “Every puppy deserves a chance”. Says Debadrita Jadhav of Let's Live Together — “Of the pups we rescue, around 50 per cent are female. But people who call for adoption always ask for males. Once you spay or neuter a dog, it doesn't make a difference whether it's male or female”. Debadrita recently adopted a three-legged female puppy called Poppins and is happy to report that after their successful calendar launch last month, the number of adoption requests for females is skyrocketing.
Govind R.C., a Chennai-based rescuer of homeless pups has a plan to encourage adoption of female pups. Govind offers free birth control surgery after their first cycle as a gift to potential adopters. “It is a simple procedure with absolutely no post-surgical problems,” he says.
Dr. S.V. Sujatha of Sri Krishna Vet Clinic strongly recommends spaying and adds that this has tremendous health benefits. “A dog that repeatedly has cycles is at risk for pyometra (or pseudo-pregnancy) and this could lead to renal failure. Spayed females cannot get pyometra and they are also healthier, with no skin problems,” she says.
Debadrita sums up her campaign by saying — “A puppy is a puppy. Animal lovers should not discriminate based on this. It's like saying no to the girl child”.
(To adopt a female pup that will be spayed free of charge at the appropriate age, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9884041170)
Sujatha Shankar Kumar was visiting her parents' home and flipping through the newspaper when a photo of a black rescued kitten reached out to her from the pages. Says Sujatha, who was actively looking for a pet to adopt, “My heart was thudding as I called the number given. I remember thinking he's got to be mine. What if someone else gets him?”
Beetle had just recovered from a paw injury, and came to his new owner readily when she tapped her finger on the ground. Sujatha noticed that Beetle longed for companionship of his own kind, as he often sat and watched other cats in her apartment complex. She decided to give him a buddy and adopted another rescued kitten Puffin.
“Earlier, my cats used to go out and come back — there weren't so many dangers”, she says, referring to the need to be doubly careful about their safety in today's scenario. Now we need to keep them as indoor pets, and have them neutered.” Sujatha believes that all pets love their humans with the same intensity. “Cats are no less affectionate than dogs.”
(Beetle appeared in Pet Pals on January 26, 2011)
From the streets to a safe haven
A street pup that gets hit by a car is relatively lucky if Balasubramanian is within shouting distance. The soft-spoken security guard is a compulsive do-gooder who rescues cats and dogs in hit-and-run cases and feeds them regularly after recovery. “They don't even stop, they just keep going,” he says, referring to rash drivers who do not bother to take their victims to a veterinary clinic. “Their reasoning — it's only a street dog, so who cares?”
His meagre salary poses a challenge while faced with food and medical bills. He says that the struggle is worthwhile when frightened street pups transform into loving house pets. “They instantly pick up everything I teach them.” Balasubramanian adopted a homeless puppy and her mother to prevent them from suffering the same fate. While the mother dog now lives in his brother's farm in Kanchipuram, the pup Brownie stayed with him. “Some people ask me – ‘why do you pick up a pup that was living on the street and bring it home?' I just ignore it. At the end of the day, we must live by our own values.”
(Brownie appeared in this column on November 2, 2011)
Take me home This one-month-old male pup has been dewormed and vaccinated. He's friendly and healthy. Call 9445613254
Take me home This 40-day-old Indian puppy is dewormed and is being vaccinated this week. To adopt this friendly and playful puppy, call 9176927917
Take me home This lovely female Indian pup is three months old, vaccinated and dewormed. Call 9962281817
Take me home This two-month-old Indian pup is a healthy, vaccinated female and is ready for adoption. Call 9025389033
Hero of the week Pragathi nominates her sister Shruti as hero of the week for saving two puppies from a drainage pit and getting them adopted.