The A-Z of loving and living with dogs

August 09, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 05:34 am IST - CHENNAI:

New book explores the history, health and stories of various breeds

At one point, Tamil Nadu perhaps had the maximum number of indigenous dog breeds. While some of them like Alangu, Poligar, Kuchi, Chengottah and Malaiyeri have become extinct, others including Rajapalayam, Kanni, Chippiparai and Kombai have managed to survive against all odds, including the arrival of foreign breeds.

But there is hardly any book in Tamil that provides an insight into the characteristics and qualities of these breeds. Naai Inangalin Varalaru Mattrum Valarppu Muraigal (A history of dogs and their rearing), written by a veterinarian, seeks to fill the gap. The book has been brought out by Vikatan Pirasuram .

“Even people who keep dogs for many years do not have a clear idea about their companions. More recently, the killing of an owner by his Rottweiler exemplifies the situation. I decided to write a book because pet lovers have increased manifold over the years and they need a guide,” says R. Kishor Kumar, who works as an assistant research officer at the Institute for Veterinary and Preventive Medicine (IVPM) in Ranipet.

The book is more than an owners’ manual as the author has sought to include every available detail about dogs.

He traces the origin and evolution of breeds across the world, tells us how to select puppies, what special purposes certain breeds serve, the kinds of food they are allergic to and the diseases that afflict them. He also lists famous dogs including Peritas, the favourite dog of Alexander the Great, Laika, the first dog to enter the space, Adolf Hitler’s German Shepherds and Hachikoa, a dog that without knowing of the death of his owner waited for him in a railway station for nine years.

“Chocolate can be fatal for dogs. In rural areas, garlic is added to food for dogs without knowing it will cause anaemia. Even milk can cause diarrhoea as dogs do not secrete the enzyme to digest lactose,” explains Dr. Kishor.

“As a veterinarian, even I was not aware of many details and hence, I benefited from the book,” said Sankar Saravanan in his introduction.

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