Pets or …….. NOT?

I guess every child has dreamt of having a pet and many made it a reality. There are numerous research on how pets help humans emotionally to overcome grief, illness and other issues. Not to forget the sheer joy we get from having them in our lives. They become part of you and family. Soon you no longer see them as a pet but like any of your family members. 

However, many-a-times, the pet is not as happy as you. I can only say to what I have observed around me. I intend to explore what are we teaching our kids by keeping pets.
To begin, well, we can “buy” a pet from a shop as do we buy the groceries or the cellphone. There is a feeling of pets being looked at as a commodity with a price on it’s head. I think adopting is the more appropriate way when no monetary transaction is involved. Do you buy a family member??

That brings me to the second most important point “INTENT”. I guess every action we do has an intent. Why did you buy the pet? What is your expectations? Here are some quite common and worst factors
- they look cute when they are small!
- It is the most “in thing” to do…. look at our neighbours!
- It will be a good deterrent against robbers and thieves
- It would be a great experience to take part in a pet show!

I have seen a family adopt a street puppy because it was very cute and within one year they closed the grown dog out of their gate. It was no longer cute and looked like the typical stray dog! The puppy had grown dependent on the family so much that it had lost touch with living on the streets. It didn’t have any street survival skills. The dog stuck around the gate for a couple of days and had to run for it’s life with it’s tail between it’s legs, when attacked by the local street dog pack. I never saw it again.

I know people who have bought exotic birds and puppies. There is social pressure to own one. The gold fish is the classic. They are inside a cage or tied up for most of their lives. Not a good situation for the pet. I have seen many such pets being abandoned because it is becoming too expensive to maintain them. Many have some disease and it’s left to die on the road.

Then there is the security dog mostly bought and given to the security guard as a companion on leash. The dog stays under the security cabin on a meter long leash for rest of it’s life. It barks through out the day and night and is fed to the extent of being obese.
So what message are we passing on to our children?

It’s normal to treat animals as commodities and we can do all this just because we can!

We give life imprisonment to human criminals as punishment and still believe it’s ok to keep animals in confinement for our pleasure, It’s ok to keep them on a leash for most part of their lives
Sad smile
What if animals keep us, humans, as pets? I always thought that the movie planet of the apes was THE movie to show to children. Children may get a lesson on the meaning of freedom and respect in true sense.

Animal rights needs to be brought to the fore before pets are adopted. This has to be done right from school with a dedicated chapter on it. As we teach “do not lie”, “do not pollute” we should also teach “do not take away others (humans & animals) freedom”.  Ministry of Education and education boards.. are you listening?



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