It was a call to go swadeshi with a twist. Earlier this month, an adoption camp held at a Lucknow mall to promote the adoption of local breeds saw 11 out of the 20 pups present, and all seven kittens, finding homes.
People from all walks of life including politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats attended the camp in which visitors were also briefed about the plight of street dogs, and how desi breeds are hardier than their pedigree counterparts.
In all 20 orphaned dogs and seven kittens were available for adoption. They included puppies whose mothers had been poisoned and a disabled adult dog.
Families in India tend to keep pedigree breeds as pet dogs. Street dogs usually comprise local- or mixed-breed dogs, and a smattering of abandoned pedigree breeds. These dogs forage for food on the streets, where they face threats to life and limb from traffic and humans.
However, local or mixed-breed dogs are hardier than pedigree dogs, some of whom are imported from cool climes and find it difficult to adapt to India’s tropical climate.
“Usually we do not take a sense of pride in adopting or keeping an Indian dog as a pet,” said Kamna Pandey, an animal rights activist who organised the camp. “We wanted to create a sense of awareness and are surprised by the terrific response during the event.”
Pandey is the founder member of Lucknow Animal Welfare Forum, a social media group that works for street animals. She added that there was a need to spread awareness about Indian breeds in the country.
“Usually people go for foreign breeds but they are no match to Indian breeds,” said Pandey. “They are best suited for foreign countries where they have evolved. For example, with its long coat of hair and layers of fat, the St Bernard should be in the Alps. A Siberian Husky should be in the -20 degrees Celsius [temperature] of Siberia. Even ACs [air conditioners] do not get close to what they need.”
Finding a home
Those who visited the camp included Prateek Bhushan Singh, the BJP MLA from Gonda, Aparna Yadav, daughter-in-law of Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, Aravind Chaturvedi of the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (Wildlife Crime Control) and BSP MLA Ritesh Pandey.
Singh adopted Raveena, the disabled adult dog, Chaturvedi shared his experiences with Indian dogs at the event, while the BSP’s Pandey adopted a semi-paralysed adult dog.
Aparna Yadav told this reporter that she was in favour of adopting indigenous dogs. “I have two Indian dogs at my house,” she said. “They are better in every aspect and should be preferred. These pups have lost their mothers and are orphans and there is little chance that they will survive alone.”
MBBS student Akansha Raj was one of those who took a dog home. On Facebook, she wrote that the pup she spotted was one of the weaker ones – its mother had been poisoned when it was just 15 days old. “I have found someone who waits for me to have dinner with me,” wrote Raj. “She follows me everywhere and I don’t know who saved whom.”