Meet Jacky, the adorable pariah mix. He lives with my in-laws and has an envious life.(according to me and Phoebe;) )
He was picked up from a litter of a nearby community dog. He has a full time job as a watch dog. He alerts the family whenever someone even touches the gate. Barks until someone from the family attends to the guest. Once they come in he greets them and goes back to his duty. He chases away all the birds, cats, other dogs and squirrels who come to peck on the fruits on the trees or check out the garbage. In spite of this extreme territorial nature he is not aggressive. No matter how many times I witness this behaviour in our Indian dogs, I find it extremely fascinating. With proper introduction he even allowed Phoebe to share his home , family and even food .This is what dogs were domesticated for in the first place. He has a breed specific job and lives such a fulfilled life.
His food comprises of what the family eats on a daily basis (yum yum slurp slurp) and all his vaccinations and deworming is up-to-date. No treats. Nada. nothing. He is a super cuddle bug and an amazing problem solver. Communicates so so so beautifully and is extremely biddable. I am having so much fun playing with him everyday.
Now I can’t help but compare his life to Phoebe’s. Phoebe gets three walks in the same boring neighbourhood on a leash everyday and we compensate by taking her swimming or to the park a few times a week. I play a lot with her but I don’t think it will ever equate to her rolling in chicken poop(yes finally I saw her do something “dog” !) In addition to that she cannot bark whenever she can or run free or chase birds. In fact I have consistently taught her not to chase birds. I am very sure she despises all that and loves it here more than our apartment in Bangalore.
A lot of us buy or get dogs home for our sake. For that one hour of happy wags and a walk around the block. Not many of us think about what these poor dogs want for the remaining 23 hours. Most of our Indian dogs in apartments crave a life like Jacky’s and our pedigree dogs are leading such sad sedentary lives without a job or even the slightest opportunity to do anything specific to their breed nature. Huskies don’t sled, Rottweilers and Shepherds don’t herd, most Retrievers don’t even see water bodies. Don’t even get me started on Saint Bernards.
As I spend more time with Jacky it makes me wonder if pet dogs will one day go extinct in the cities. Because all I see and work with these days are regretful pet parents who realise what a big mistake it was to invest in a puppy. Or those who are happy and in love with their dogs but feel extremely guilty of not providing a full rounded life for their beloved pets and often tell me that they won’t replace their dog once they pass on and will wait to get a farm before getting another dog. Only time will tell.