One-day seminar held by Malabar Canine Club in Kozhikode

Max’s coat gleams in the forenoon sun. His eyes intently watch every movement of his young master, Dharmesh T. Ramakrishna.

The Rottweiler’s obedience to his master’s every unspoken command, expressed through a flick of the wrist, brings a hush of respect from the watching dog lovers attending the one-day seminar held by Malabar Canine Club on Sunday.

The master-dog duo is demonstrating how a pet dog can be a “good citizen.” It is an awareness class on the responsibility a dog owner owes to the society and his or her dog.

“In Kozhikode city, there are a lot of people who rear dogs. But most of them do not know how to make their dogs obedient. In our obedience shows, only 15 dogs have competed in the past three years,” Arangil Gireesh, secretary, Malabar Canine Club, said. The club follows the philosophy that “there are no bad dogs, but only bad owners.”

“Your dog is as good as you are. Obedience can only be taught through good handling and affection for your pet,” Mr. Gireesh said.

The seminar’s afternoon session was by M. Ramesh Kumar, Chief Veterinary Officer, Veterinary Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, who started his lecture with a few tips on how to select a good puppy from a litter.

He talked about good rearing and vaccinations to be given on time.

“There were 2,543 cases of suspected rabies bites in the district from January to October. Vaccinations have to be done on time to prevent rabies, which spreads through dog saliva,” Dr. Kumar said.

He was interrupted midway by a member of the audience who recounted how her pet Labrador died of an inexplicable skin disease. “I still want to know what happened to her… was it my responsibility?” she asked the doctor.

Consoling her by saying that her dog would have suffered from genetic in-breeding problems, Dr. Kumar said “acceptance of and love for animals is an extension of love for society as a whole.”

“You are an elite crowd, a select few who can spare a heart for animals,” he said.

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