If you have ever loved and lost someone, you know just how painful it can be, even more, when you are the one that’s lost. One tends to lose hope and the sense of purpose. One would imagine that it probably is a lot harder for your dear pet. Many a times, one might see a lost animal that has been abandoned by their owners. The validity of the reasons for such an act is unfathomable. Some might give economic instability. Even though that might seem fair, but one must not gamble on the life of an adorable living being with everything to lose, who will love you unconditionally, no matter what. Some of the more unreasonable excuses include the loss of interest in the idea of owning a pet.
Sometimes, it so happens that some elements of the society with less than noble intentions, deliberately try to hurt your pet or in certain cases even steal them. This is probably in response to some tussle between the victim’s family and the person in question, or to try and sell the pet as a source of secondary income, or in worst case scenarios as a victim of animal cruelty. Apart from attempts at moral policing and improving the safety and security of our pets, sadly, there is not a lot that can be done.
Or when a pet has sufficiently fulfilled the original purpose of their presence, the owner decides to abandon them. Such as the extremely disciplined dogs used the police department used as sniffer dogs or those in welfare homes, used as guide dogs or for companionship, once old or disabled even if temporarily, are struck off service, often conveniently termed as ‘retirement’. Such animals have nowhere to be, and are disturbingly found fending for themselves.
Another situation is when the pet itself feels uncared for. Physical abuse although unacceptable, is fairly common in many homes. Using violence as a form of training, especially, is common among many a pet owners. Sometimes, the pet is yet another accessory for an owner, present in the household just to satisfy a temporary whim. Pets usually tend to adjust to the various kinds of people they are with, but sometimes when things get beyond their capability to bear, they try to break free and run away in the hope of finding a better life, which may or not be an eventuality.
Popular media including books and movies, including the highly successful series of ‘Homeward Bound’ are based on instances when a dearly beloved pet of some family is lost. Such pets could be dogs or cats or any other animal. The movies give relatable accounts of what happens when the pet has been left behind accidentally or deliberately. The pet somehow successfully finds its way back home and into the hearts of those responsible for their being missing. The animated movie ‘Bolt’ is a classic depiction of the love and loyalty that the dog has for the little girl who calls it her own. These pets, in the face of the direst of difficulties, refuse to give up.
Not only in the fictional world, but there have been real stories when a pet has returned home, even after years of being separated from their owners. There was a recent story when a cat came back to its owner after over 10 years, willingly and voluntarily. This was a shock and a surprise not only for the owner, but also those people who believe that cats are selfish and are unattached to their owners emotionally. Dogs that were abandoned or stolen have escaped from captivity and come back home safely, much to the elation of their owners and disappointment of their dog-nappers. These animals have travelled across borders just to be with their owners.
Animals have a certain sense of direction, an inherent quality of rarely being actually lost. It is fairly simple for them to return to the place call home. They have their own mechanism to mark their territory, relay out signals amongst their own kind, etc. More often than not, it is the human interference that makes matters complicated. If the owner shifts base, the pet now can no longer rely on finding their marked territory to find their owner. Animals are extremely instinctive too. They can sense when they are not truly loved or wanted. So if treated badly, there’s a high chance, they will not make attempts to return to their owner, and would prefer staying on the streets.
As a fellow pet lover, one must always be on the look-out to help owners to find their pets. These pets are just as close to them as a family member, and the pain of losing one is as bad as a missing child. It is admittedly easier to recognize a lost dog from their collar. Cats usually don’t have collars, yet the air about a pet cat is fairly different from that of a street cat, as one might call it. Birds are the hardest to find due to their love of the open skies. Yet, one can always try to bring two loved ones back together.