We all take good care of our pets. Even if we are not very fond of them, we will be careful when dealing with other’s pets as well. But when it comes to strays, something changes. We like to live in blissful ignorance of their plight. That whimpering sound on the side of the road is as good as non-existent. Whether it is a grown dog or a sad little puppy we continue to keep walking, thinking that it is none of our business. In a selfish world, of course it is none of our business. In such a world we wouldn’t care for our kind on the side of the road. But humans unlike strays are not entirely helpless. They can call out for help. They can elucidate exactly what it is that is troubling them. But these poor creatures hold no such power. They just lie there whimpering, as they dint have enough strength to bark or ask its own kind for any assistance. And even if they do, the peers too don’t have a lot of help to offer, a few kind whimpers and licks, a tug and a nudge are all that they can do. As the better brighter species, is it not our responsibility to take good care of all living beings?
Let us start small. How easy it is to randomly kick a sleeping dog, or to throw a pebble at any stray. It probably is much easier to not do it. There is no justifiable reason for treating them that way. They are not in your way, nor are they hurting you. And then one complains if bitten or barked or growled at. It is nothing different than what any human would do if someone tries to invade on their territory or tries to hurt them for no apparent rationale. If you see anyone trying to act like they can treat a dog in an unfavorable manner and get away with it, they need to be proven wrong. This can happen by the dog’s reaction or on your accord. Chiding such ill-mannered people can sometimes help.
You see a dog trying to cross the road. What do you do? You speedup, trying to scare it off, so that it is out of your way and into someone else’s. Such a relief, that it’s not your fault it’s hurt or worse dead. That is an incorrect assumption, because in reality it is your ego that caused it. A responsible citizen would have slowed down, so as to let the dog cross comfortably while at the same time not causing any traffic snarls.
In cases where a stray was found already dead on the road, nobody bothers to bring it to the side of the road, to save their own precious time. Its peers too can’t properly mourn the loss without putting their own lives at sake due to the rushing traffic. If you don’t want to do it yourself one can at least call and inform animal services, who will take care of it. But what we do is carefully maneuver our vehicles around or just conveniently drive over, and that poor stray is just another bump in the road. We never treat our counterparts that way; similarly strays don’t deserve such gruesome behavior either.
Feeding a stray every once in a while, has several benefits. You gain a true loyal unexpected friend in a stray. You save a life. That eventually transforms to goodwill, which according to all faiths and religions comes back around to you many fold in the least expected of places and when you most need it. It is also a fair utilization of food that would otherwise be going waste, but at the same time one must avoid feeding the stray excessively stale food, because that worsens their health.
When someday you decide to enlist the good and bad decisions you made in life, adopting a stray would certainly find its place as one of the best decisions of your life. A stray comes with all the benefits of any regular pet, the companionship, the love, et al. But with strays the love and loyalty one receives is way more than one would think is possible. This is its way of showing gratitude towards you for saving its life. It will always be by your side, guard you with its life, one might even call it being possessive, but you won’t mind. This also raises your stature not only in the eyes of your peers, but also God.
As a society what seems to be the need of the hour is to raise awareness among the masses. Establishing knowledge centers that give out information and also make provisions for adopting stray and abandoned pets is required. Strays will find a better place in the society, if there are enough resources to give them required medical attention, places where they can be taken care of. Also, people should refrain from the practice of abandoning pets for any reason, as this only makes them vulnerable to abuse.