Sunday, July 17, 2011

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?

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