That’s right, you read ‘stray’ dog. Not your prized pedigree dog breeds that would make excellent pets for those prejudiced against the lovely breed that Indian pariahs are. Stray dogs are just as smart, intelligent and good-looking as any other dog breed. However, there is such prejudice in our society that cases of animal abuse against them are on the rise. These dogs will love you like you are a part of their pack, the only thing you need is a little bit of empathy, patience and love.
Here are 15 reasons why you should befriend a stray dogs:
1. Make a new friend
It is quite possible that a stray dog may come off as hostile on your first interaction, but just like humans, the dog is meeting a stranger who is perhaps being kind to it for the first time in a very, very long time. Have patience and you will be showered with love in no time.
2. Giving back
If you’re passionate about animals and don’t know where to start or if your area doesn’t have the facility of an animal shelter, you can start right at the streets. Find a dog, get him some marie biscuits and water and you’ve already started giving back to the world.
3. Protect the strays
Not everyone is kind to them. As mentioned before, cases of animal abuse are on the rise. One such example is of a stray named Lucky who was beat up in a residential complex in Worli this year and he eventually died. When you start taking care of a stray in your area, you are providing them with a safe space to live.
4. Tagging them
Once the dog is comfortable with you, make sure you tag them with a collar and name tag. This sends a clear message to people around that the dog is friendly and is being taken care of by someone. This reduces their chances of getting beat up drastically.
5. Reduction of Road Mishaps
All dogs are natural territorial animals. Once they come to an area, they mark it as their own. Now when you befriend a stray, it is ingrained in their mind that this locality is a safe house for them and they can always expect food here. Naturally, they decide to stay. The bonus is that if the area is not a many road, a large number of hit-and-run cases involving stray dog deaths can be easily avoided.
Just like our pets, stray dogs contract diseases. They may have a stronger immune system from living on the streets so long but that doesn’t prevent them from contracting disease. When someone like you takes care of them, it becomes easier to notice that something is wrong and immediate medical action can be taken.
This is one of the most important points that should always be considered when you befriend a stray. No matter the age of the dog, always ensure the dog is vaccinated against the many deadly diseases that they could contract– parvo virus and rabies being the worst of them. By vaccinating and deworming them, you are extending their life by many years.
The reason why there are so many strays in our country is because their population has never been effectively and humanely controlled. Another reason to befriend a stray is to also get them sterilized or neutered. This prevents them from having litters after litters of puppies whose fate on the streets is pretty much unknown.
9. Give a home
Think of a rainy day where everything is damp, cold and wet. You have a home to protect you from all that water and cold, the strays do not. Because of this, they often get drenched in the rain and it is not difficult to predict their chances of catching leptospirosis. You can help them out by easily letting them take shelter at the entrance of your building or your home.
10. Feel your heart warm up
Just like the previous point, finding food on a rainy day is also difficult for a stray. If you decide to take care of one, your heart will definitely go all warm and fuzzy as you see the dog enjoying a hot meal of rice and eggs as it pours down. At least today, he/she won’t go to sleep on an empty stomach.
11. Food is cheap
If money is what is keeping you from taking care of a stray, here’s something that can help. One packet of Marie biscuits (Parle-G is known to cause obesity in dogs) costs just 10 rupees. You can alternatively also buy dog biscuits on Amazon. Plus all that milk and roti you have leftover in your house? Mix the two together and you’ve made someone’s meal already. Other items include, egg, bread or even leftover chicken broth.
12. Teach them tricks!
No, strays are not dumb. Yes, they are as smart as any other golden retriever or labrador you’ve come across. Teaching tricks like handshakes or better yet, a simple ‘sit’ will keep their minds working and at the same time, ensuring that they are well-behaved.
13. Live in harmony
Just like people, the area where the strays are living is also their home. Being aggressive towards them will not drive them away but instead make matters worse causing incidents like dog bites. Remember that no dog will harm a human unless provoked so always find out the complete story behind a dog bite. When people see you taking care of the stray dog, they will back off and perhaps even encourage you to continue doing what you do.
14. If you don’t have a pet
Do your parents refuse to let you adopt a pet? Or does your grandma intensely dislike their smell? Or is someone at your home allergic to fur? Whatever the reason maybe, if you’re sad that you can’t get a dog home, you find one right in your streets. That would make two less lonely individuals in the world.
Lastly, if you ever consider getting a dog at home, always adopt, please, don’t shop. There’s a list of reasons why you should never buy a pet. Plus, if you’ve already befriended a stray by now, why not consider sharing your home with them?
There are many more reasons why you should befriend a stray, but we hope these top 15 made you consider your opinion on strays and perhaps befriend one stat!