Animal welfare volunteers tell us why we should discourage the pet trade

When dog lover Srimathi Vathsangam rescued a pug from a breeder, she recalls observing first-hand what the pet trade can do to pedigree animals. “He had been used for mating 20 times in two years,” says Srimathi. “I’ve overheard breeders talk of the dog like it’s a commodity. The dogs are often used as machines, in pathetic conditions. This pug had liver and skin problems and had never seen sunlight. When he came out for walks with me, he was so frightened because he didn’t know what it was to be taken for a walk”. Srimathi’s own pet dog is a Labrador that she found on the street as a puppy. He had been abandoned due to a genetic defect caused by reckless breeding. With surgery and intensive treatment, her pet regained the use of his hind legs and enjoys the ability to run around freely, though he still cannot climb staircases.

Srimathi uses these examples to show that foreign breeds have a rough time in the pet trade. “Most of the abandoned dogs I see are pedigree ones”, she says, referring to people’s tendency to dump their pets when medical problems come up. She suggests a solution that favours all our furry friends irrespective of breed — “If you are going to adopt, Indian dogs are also intelligent, adjusting and easy to toilet train. They have a great temperament. But if you are particular about pedigree dogs, adopt them – don’t buy them!”

Her favourite success story is a pedigree dog named Casper who was found wandering on the street. She got him adopted by a loving family . “The owner’s mother says that her blood pressure has come down since they adopted him,” she says. She recently received a note from a family who adopted an Indian puppy she rescued. It reads: “I hope you remember Diya – it has been a year since I adopted her from you. Thank you for giving us this wonderful, loving baby”. Srimathi shares her reply to the family: “I still remember her sitting near my gate, shivering in the rain with big beautiful eyes, and she came to me without resistance. She has blossomed because of your family’s love. May you live long, Diya, to spread cheer in the world!”

(To adopt a homeless pet in Bangalore, call Animal Care Trust Mangalore at 0824 6511053 or 9243304577)