A cross the world, adoption from animal shelters is being seen as the socially responsible route to get a dog. In the absence of regulation of breeding practices, pedigree mothers run the risk of being over-bred or inbred, causing problems for them and their offspring too. Vivienne Choudhury, member of the Managing Committee and Vice President, In Defense of Animals, Mumbai, say of the pet trade — “We should wake up and acknowledge the wonderful dogs all around us. They have been around for centuries, are completely adapted to Indian climate, enjoy the best of health and are extremely low maintenance. People who are enchanted with the idea of a pedigree dog forget that most of them suffer in this climate from lack of proper exercise, or lack of proper nutrition, and medical problems because of careless breeding, many times throughout their life”.

Hyderabad-based Preeti K. and her roommate Shagun Narula recently adopted an abandoned Boxer. “She was rescued after being severely abused by a breeder. She's underweight; her kidneys and reproductive system are ruined since she contracted an infection and was abandoned by her breeder shortly after”, she says. She adds: “We also need to ask: what happens once the dog fulfils its monetary benefit to the breeder, post her reproductive age?”

In the context of overpopulation of dogs, the Humane Society of the United States refers to unregulated breeding as a cycle of cruelty and urges potential owners to adopt homeless pets instead. Despite the struggles faced by shelter animals, Vivienne believes that adoption numbers are going up and that there's reason for cheer. “We rescued a two-year-old street dog with a bad stomach hernia and called him Gunner. Abby, an American volunteer was determined to adopt him and take him to her hometown in Texas. We recently received photos from Abby – one was of Gunner racing across an open field. Another was of him sitting on a pillow on a couch in her house, a veritable Raja in residence! We were all so happy for this little dog – he made it and lives in great style”.

(For queries on adoption of rescued pups or dogs, call Animal Care Trust Mangalore at 0824 6511053 or 9243304577)