Adopt your best friend, don’t shop
It’s an absolutely wonderful feeling to have a ball of fur of your own. If you are a dog lover, the idea of having your own pet dog will definitely come to you at some point of time. Adopting a furry friend is now cooler and always nicer than buying from puppy mills or unlicensed pet shops. Adopting our very own free-ranging dogs — also called Indies — and giving them a happy and healthy life is a great option too. Let me sum up some of the wonderful pros of choosing an Indie dog.
Be Desi, Be Indian
Make in India is the trend now in all spheres of life. Choosing everything that belongs to us, that belongs to our motherland, is always the best option. Then why not keeping it in mind while bringing a pet home too. After all, Indies are the naturally selected breed for the Indian subcontinent and will be best conditioned for our climate unlike most exotic breeds of dog.
High immunity, low maintenance
The secret of the incredible immunity of Indies lies in their genes. They are naturally evolved breeds and that is the cause of their hardiness. They have fewer health concerns compared to foreign breeds that have many genetic issues as a result of haphazard breeding procedure. Actually, their vast gene-pool makes them one of the healthiest dogs. Also since Indies are naturally acclimatised to India’s tropical climate, being our native breed, the chances of allergies and infections are low. If given proper diet, exercise and immunisation on time, they fall ill rarely, which means less vet visits and less expenses.
Less grooming needs
They are medium to small-sized creatures with short but dense coats and dermal structure perfectly suitable for Indian tropical and wet climate unlike some exotic foreign breeds who possess thick coats that are designed to keep them warm and is not suitable for Indian hot and humid climate. Indies shed very less and thus too much effort and money don’t go into ‘doggy salons’ for grooming or for cleaning the household. Indies naturally have almost zero body odour or drooling problem and their all-weather coat protects them from skin issues and infection with a proper diet and basic hygiene maintenance. They are moderate eaters and have a strong digestive system. Their healthy metabolism helps them digest a variety of diets as their body is designed to make the best out of the food they receive. Overfeeding should, however, be avoided to prevent behavioural issues.
Untrainability of Indies is a myth. Indies are highly sensitive and cautious. Also, contrary to the common belief, they are quick learners too. They are intelligent and alert, a trait they have got from thousands of years of surviving on the streets. They are keen to work with their owners to accomplish tasks. However, they get bored early and constantly need mental stimuli. So persistent communication is needed. Their long and straight forelimbs and slightly curved hindlimbs allow them to run very fast. They have an energetic body and active mind; they can understand and memorise new commands in 15-25 repetitions. They can easily find out association between commands and action. For all these abilities, now our police force is also appointing Indie dogs for their canine units. Indian dogs adapt very well to lifestyle changes and basically all living environments. They don’t mind moving from one place to another with their family. All they need to thrive is the right amount of nutrition and daily dose of cuddles.
Indie dogs have a long history of human companionship. Our mythological stories describe their faithful and devoted nature. Indie dogs are very social animals, love to live in packs and are extremely good with children, forming a loving bond almost instantly. They stay calm and quiet indoors mostly. They are also super gentle around toddlers and can be perfect jogging partner for other family members because of their energetic nature. They can get along with the mood of everyone in the house, which makes them a good family dog. They enjoy quality time with their human family and are considered good therapy dogs for those who are in need as they are receptive to their owners’ emotions. People often misunderstand them as being aggressive but how a dog grows up depends a lot on the family they belong to. They can pick up commands really fast and are obedient by nature . Though all dogs are great buddies but while choosing a dog for senior citizens, breeds that are dominant, require constant attention or care are not suitable. Indies are one of the best options for them as well because they are independent, friendly, moderately active and mostly stay healthy without constant care.
Indies are very protective of their humans; they can go to any extent to ensure they are safe. Their evolution, often close to the wild where various threats were common, have made them extremely cautious and careful of their surroundings. They bark at the slightest of doubts and this alertness, intelligence and sturdiness make them super watchdogs. Their main job is to observe and they are very consistent in their effort. They have great vocal cords and sense of hearing. You can see them at villages guarding livestock of local people efficiently. Indies naturally do not tire easily, which gives them great advantage over any other breed. Usually they are territorial and protective about their property so they will alert if they sense something amiss.
Adopting discourage backdoor breeders
The secret of puppy mills and backyard breeding is no longer a hidden thing; the haphazard process of breeding specifically results in a lot of health issues in dogs. There are many diseases that solely occur due to artificial or inbreeding. As the need for legal registration to breed dogs is often bypassed, some owners are not even aware of rules and registration. By choosing to adopt an abandoned Indie pup (say, one without mother) you are not only saving a dog but also discouraging illegal breeding and abuse of man’s best friend.
Passive adoption gives you the chance to be a guardian of dogs housed in a dog shelter. If you are an avid dog lover but have issues like allergies, job timings, space crunch or already have pets at home but still want to shower unconditional love on a dog, you can choose to passively adopt a shelter dog. Passive adoption will give you the opportunity to have a shelter resident animal as your pet against some monthly charges to pay for their food, medication and other necessities. In return, the shelter will keep you updated on your pet by sending regular pictures and news. You can even visit and spend some time with them whenever you want. You can go for passive adoption from any local or even international shelter.
Bringing home a pet should always be a practical and well thought-out decision, not an impulsive or emotional one as it’s a commitment for 12-15 years and once you have decided to adopt, we hope that with this article on Indies will come into your consideration. Several Bollywood and Tollywood celebrities, eminent sports personalities and other renowned persons have adopted Indie dogs and are urging their followers to adopt instead of buying. After all, money can’t make a dog’s tail wag so adopt your best friend, don’t shop.
The author runs Animal Rescue and Care Kolkata (ARC Kolkata), who have a dog shelter in Thakurpukur. Check them out at www.arcKolkata.org