Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mystery of abandoned female Labradors in Mumbai- unfolded

   A year old female lab was cruely abandoned  by the owners immediately after she delivered pups. Very friendly and healthy. Available for adoption. Does this classified seem familiar? Who cares? Sigh! I read them everyday somewhere or the other. Is that your expression after reading such classifieds then I don't blame you. When you must have seen the classified for the first time you must retaliated by cursing the owner. But, now with each passing day it no longer holds interest as we the people of 'Mumbai' love to move on. Whether it is an attack by the terrorist or a flood we know how to get back to business after shedding tears and cursing the government. Have you ever pondered as a human, Why huge number of female Labs are abandoned for no fault of theirs? Is you have shed a tear or cursed the owner , then you have the right to question . You have the right to know the truth as an individual. Adopting and re homing abandoned Labs is just a temporary solution. How many are you going to adopt? How many will be re homed? There should be an end to this practice , but how? When you don't know the facts .How will you find a solution when you can't reach to the root cause of the problem? 

    I had a telephonic conversation with a lady some days back who had found an abandoned female lab. She casually mentioned it to me about her experiences about the callers who bombarded her with calls for adoption. Some callers wanted to know where are the pups so that they could adopt one. There were few others who argued with her as in why she got the Lab sterilized. They wanted the Lab to have pups in future. Is this our attitude towards traumatized animal mother whose pups must have been take away with force? The mother would couldn't even cry out aloud and talk about her pain. The mother who doesn't even know whether her pups are safe. Also the one who not could feed her pups or love them enough. Are we humans?

        Think before you give your healthy female Lab or adoption or sell it at a cheap price because it is a female. If a person approaches you with his chaste english doesn't mean he is going to be the right pet parent. People who are new to adoptions and who put their Labs for adoptions don't even do the background check. A mere telephonic interview or a 5 minute conversation is not enough to judge a person. How can you hand over your animal babies to them without proper verification? You might protest , we took the documents, I have all the photocopies of the address proofs and photo identity proofs .  I won't say well done, good job as  60% of the times the photocopies of the address proofs are fake. A certain person painted the Facebook red by mentioning about how he gave his beloved female Lab pup for adoption , the person gave him fake documents and now the person refuses to even answer his calls. If  you know that in a crowded place your wallet can be flicked won't you be vigilant. Will you allow the thief to rob you? Whom will you curse for the negligence yourself or the thief? 
       Many female lab puppies or dogs between 8 months to a year land in slums. This dogs are under fed as most slum dwellers are in hand to mouth condition. Medical attention? That is taboo as when there is no money to feed the dog how can they provide even basic medical expenses. This people have tie ups with the watchmen of the buildings, dog walkers or maids/house helps of affluent or upper middle class families who have healthy breed dogs. The dogs are mated and the booty that is got by selling the pups is shared equally. The slum dweller feels he no longer needs the dog as he has got his due, he just abandons the dog somewhere. What is even more shocking is that there are cases where some  families themselves indulge into this. They don't care whom they mate their dog with. They either distribute the pups amongst their family and friends or sell them off.  Shocking, isn't it? An under fed , unhygenically kept female Labs cannot give birth to healthy pups . But, who cares as long as your getting a free pup from your friend  or relative or getting it for a very cheap unbelievable price. Couple of months back I read a classified that mentioned Lab pups at a very cheap price. Aren't you interested in knowing the price? It was mentioned 2000 Indian rupees, many must have fallen as a bait to such classifieds. 

    The question is how to combat this. There should be a solution to end this problem. The most viable and feasible solution would be take help of people who are into animal welfare from some time. They are humans, they might do mistakes but at least they can help you with the proper background checks. If a person comes across as too friendly or pushy set your guard on. Always sterlise the dog that is above 8 months or if you don't wish to shell out the money for sterilization request the family to sterilize it. Pay regular home visits, i.e every month for 3 months, after the 3rd month visit the family every 3 months. Keep regular telephonic conversation with the family and also help them with medical guidance if necessary.  Secondly, if your friend is getting their dogs mated just because the male dog is on heat , encourage them to get their dog neutered. This will keep the dog healthy for a lifetime and save it from various forms of cancer. If you cannot convince take help of a local animal activist. Spread a word and save life.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Facts/ Myths , advantages of sterilization and neutering.

     Arguments are inevitable when a topic on sterilization pops in. When you read this article please read it  with an open mind so that the facts are understood and myths are cleared. Many ain't even aware that 'neutering' and 'sterilization' are two different terms which are used for male and female dogs. Even I was ignorant some years back and even now I mix up the words as other do. When a male dog gets castrated it is called 'neutering' and when a female dog undergoes an operation where the ovaries and uterus is surgically removed is known as 'sterilization'. A certain section might argue , when we don't mate our dogs , why sterilization?  Some might say , I don't want my dog to go under the knife as  I love  my pet too much. There are others who might say , I heard so and so person's dog died due to sterilization.  My answer to all these people would be  , don't love your dog so much that you unknowingly start playing with its life. Regarding deaths, there are specially qualified surgeons who are trained to conduct sterilizations and neutering. They even advice on pre and post care during operations. Check, the credibility of the vet , consult fellow  activists, some local ngo's, friends whose pets have undergone sterilizations before you take a plunge.
     Myths regarding sterilizations and neutering:
1) Death
  I won't deny the fact that deaths do occur due to neligence and unhygenic conditions which a dog can be subjected to, but not every animal lands on the death bed. Though a possibilty of 0.1% chances cannot be overlooked as sometimes the vet might give a higher dosage of anaesthatia as he/she might be wrong in judging the quantity. It could be possible that the pet might be having some underlying problem of either heart/kidneys/ lungs which must have gone unnoticed . Or either pet is suffering from an allergic reaction to some drugs or if the pets has a blood condition where the blood fails to clot. Being vigilant and an expert surgeon can help in conducting safer operations.
2) Obesity.
 If you overpamper your pet,give goodies and snacks without paying attention to a pet's daily dose of exercise, even a unsterlised dog can become obese. The fact, is sterilization doesn't make a dog obese but extra affection of the owners and lack of exercise for the dog.
3) Urinary Incontinence.
 1 out of 50 dogs might develop urinary incontinence but that can be treated .
4)  Decreased activity.
 I have seen some dogs being equally active even after sterilization and neutering. Lethargic behaviour of dog's are 90% of times due to owners fault.
5) Early neutering/sterilization causes deformed bones.
  Many vets in the west advice people on early neutering as the animal copes up better with the surgery. Bone deformity is not caused due to sterlisation but poor nutrition , lack of calcium in the diet and inadequate exposure to sunlight.
 Advantages of neutering a male dog:
1) No testicular tumours as the male organ is removed during surgery.
2) Fewer hernia's ( A hernia is a protrusion of an organ or parts of an organ or other structure through the wall of a cavity that normally contains it ).
3) Fewer tumours as the hormone testosterone is suppressed which is the major cause of tumours .
4) Fewer prostrate problems.
Advantages of sterlising a female dog:
1) No spotting. I call them 'polka dots' as blood falls in the form of droplets during menstruation. Who doesn't want a cleaner carpet or flooring? Sterilization means an end to the mess.
2) Fewer chances of contracting mammary cancer. Oestrogen hormone causes malignant tumours in female dogs and sterilization controls this hormone to a great extent.
3) Fewer tumours of the reproductive tract. Sigh of relief as your dog won't have tumours that weigh some grams. The sight of such tumours is nerve wrecking.
4) No urinary tract infections after the messy menstrual cycle. Your dog will definately thank you for this.
5) No more false pregnancies. Have you ever seen dog's mammaries swelled up and it clinging continuously to a pair of socks or toys? You might find it funny , somewhere a female mentioned congratulations to my dog for undergoing false pregnancy. This is not a joke, if the dog is left unattended it can even go through depression.
        A male dog can be back on its feet in 2-3 days , whereas a female dog will take a week to recover completely. Basic hygiene and proper medication under the guidance of a vet should be followed. Sterilization/ Neutering doesn't guarantee that the aggression in dogs can be controlled. Your dog may be need sessions with a behaviorist if it aggressive, mere sterlising/ neutering will be futile. Female dogs do undergo fewer mood swings with sterlisation. I hope your doubts are cleared.. What are your waiting for? Fix an appointment with a vet for a counselling session  on sterilizing/neutering ...

I want a Lab!! An urgent SOS

 I often get calls from strangers asking me  for either a lab pup or adult dog that is less than 2 years. There is a certain caller whose calls go unanswered by me . But, he makes a point to remind me that he wants a Lab , by buzzing me from evening to early morning via emails. Every 30 mins, I get a mail asking for a Lab from him. You might think the guy is so dedicated and I am a fool who is not giving him the dog. But, the case here is I don't want him to own a dog as a status symbol and then the dog should land on the road like most of them. Since, the blasts my phone hasn't stopped ringing, I don't know whether to blame the media for showing Labrador's sniffing at the blast site or the ignorant callers. Everytime, my phone rings, I am petrified it might be another caller asking for a Labrador and I have to politely put him/her down. On , the day of the blasts, instead of asking whether I am alive I got sms , texts pouring in huge numbers asking for Labs for adoption. A day after the blast I got a call from some unknown number , I was busy so I couldn't receive the call. I saw a text that mentioned, " Lynn, do u have a lab for adoption?". I was bit startled, I juss could fumble to myself , 'Oh no , not again'. The person called up after a while, before I could ask anything, he went on and on about his knowledge on dogs, he spoke about his 2 female Labradors and how he treats them as babies. It was an interesting conversation , but after a while of storing telling I interrupted him and asked if he already had 2 labs why was he insisting on the third.  He again started with the story telling and how someone gave him a Labrador pup for adoption and took it back. I understood, that it was not him who wants the Lab but his inflated ego that wants to settle a score with a certain person by adopting a dog. He wanted to show that 'someone' that he could manage 3 dogs at a time.
      I have had callers where people have mentioned that they want a Lab as his/her friend/ neighbour or some distant relative bought a Lab pup which they find cute and adorable. He/she can't afford to buy so they wish to adopt. Someone, might just say you should appreciate the person as he/she is adopting instead of buying. My answer would be 'no'. What would happen to the dog/pup if he/she starts losing interest? Or if the dog falls ills and if they run into huge expenses and if the family abandons the dog at the shelter who will be responsible? A few years back there was a huge demand for pomeranian pups as people found them cute and it was a status symbol to own a fur ball( dog). The only difference now is that people have shifted from pomeranians to Labradors giving rise to puppy mills in every nook and corner of the city. You pay 6.5 k to 10 k for a puppy and feel really happy to get it home. You suddenly, become a 'star' as people you haven't met for ages suddenly drop in for a glimpse of the puppy. You smile , feel proud and grin as big as you can. Have you ever wondered what happens to the mother of these pups? You might say, who cares? I have a pup at my place and I am not bothered. There are people who I often meet and they tell me I have money so I have bought the puppy. Why are you bothered? Yes, I am bothered and many other activists like me are bothered each and every single day. Often tears roll down our eyes when when see how the female Labs are thrown on the road when they deliver the pups. One day walk into the foster home and see the dog's eyes, they speak tales of torture . The 'eyes' weep and search for their pups . There are so many lactating female dogs that are thrown on the road and it takes genuine efforts to normalise them after the trauma they are subjected to. When the dogs are found on the roads they are so undernourished. A 'human' mother would go mad if her baby is separated from her. Why is the animal's mother subjected to such pain just because she can't speak? Do you still feel proud of spending money on buying a Lab pup?
         When you buy fruits/vegetables or any other food item you spent a couple of minutes confronting the vendor about the source of procurement but have you ever tried to find out about the source from where the puppy you just paid for came from . 90% puppies are a product of puppy mills. These dogs are even devoid of proper food , water or sunlight. They are crammed in places where they cannot move or sit properly. The place stinks like hell.  Dogs are made to mate 2 times a year in continuous cycles without a break. Even weak , diseased dogs are not spared. What happens to the dog after it can't give birth to more pups? The dog lands on the road, then some soul dials numbers of ngo's/activists and the dog is sent to the foster and put up for adoption. The pictures are all over facebook and people remove their frustrations via comments but they forget at the end of the day even they have bought a pup from the same puppy mill. Irony of life . It is better to introspect our actions than curse the world for theirs. Shelter is not the place for any dog , it is even worse when these dogs land at the shelters. I still remember, I had been to an animal hospital as a pup I adopted was unwell. If you step there once even the toughest of the soul will cry seeing how such lovely animals are abandoned by the owners just because of a minor medical ailment or because they no longer can financially support the dog. Even adopting a Lab or any other breed pup is not a joke. Be prepared to shell out 4k on a average for the overall expenses of the dog. God forbid if the pup /dog falls ill it can literally dig a hole in your pockets. This is not to discourage you but enlighten you on certain facts. At the hospital , I came across many lab/ retrievers pups with distemper/gastro/parvo inflicted diseases. I probed further, spoke to a couple of vets and the answer I got was most pups are a produce of puppy mills as a result they come laden with various diseases . A fellow had brought a 25 day old lab pup , luckily it survived gastro. During the conversation I found out that apparently the breeder had told him that the pup is 45 day old.  Ideally, the pups should be separated from their mum after 2 months as that builds the immunity and the pups can fight diseases well.
             Other set of people who I come across are the one's who want mates for their dogs. What, wrongly in finding a mate? I would say nothing.  But, then the question is who will take care of the abandoned mother. I am not against an animal producing babies , even I adore pups. The phone rings and the caller  on the other end is so harrowed. Without introduction I am made to hear travalogues , I wonder did I win some surprise contest. Is someone offering me a free ticket to some luxurious destination? My hopes are high as the story is so interesting and the surprise unfolds... My feet touch the ground , what? You have a Labrador for adoption? I am jostled but, I pick up some courage and ask How old is the labrador? 3 year old , I interrupt the conversation by asking the lady's name and location. After that she mentions I have a 2  three month old pups which I would like to carry with me but this elder one is so used to the weather I prefer giving it for adoption. All the travel plans were a hoax, she was just tired of the adult female dog and she was way too happy with the 2 male pups. Would you still find a mate for your dog? There are times , I convince people to sterlise their dogs and the other person thinks I am heartless female with no brains . If you love your pets get them spayed, it will protect them from diseases and prevent spotting and false preganancies.
     A friend, just mentioned she came across an aggressive Lab which even bit off a chunk of  the owner's flesh . But, then Labs are meant to be so cute , friendly, cuddly then how did this happen? Are you going to abandon the dog if it turns out to be aggressive? There was another person who adopted a Lab pup but unfortuantely it got some skin disease . You might wonder, when my friends/neighbours/ distant relatives Lab has such a shiny coat and mine is so patchy with half the fur has vanished. What would you do? Sit and cry or pay heavy vet bills or give the dog back and ask for another Lab? To make matters worse if the dog suffers from hip dsyplasia , that most  big dogs are subjected to and your monthly expenses go for a toss . What would you do? Give the dog for adoption? Sell it to some puppy mill? Or leave it at some animal hospital or the cheapest option abandon it on the road? As activists we are not aware of the origin of the animal neither are we trained in identify the personality traits. We can't guarantee whether the pup will be 100 % pure breed. Would you abandon it after your friend or some stranger remarks that Labs ears/tail need to be like this or like that and your lab has otherwise? Would you cram the big dog in your matchbox sizes houses in the city? Would you let the dog suffer for your useless /worthless pride? Above all, Do you still want a Lab?