MIDWAY : My special friends

Tulaja Rayamajhi

I am frequently pushed to reconsider my ‘animal lover’ tag these days by a pup always sitting by the gate of my college. A nice breed, it seems; the first time I saw it, I thought it must have accidentally ventured out of it’s owner’s compound and lost its way. Much bigger dogs were eying the poor soul from the neighbouring houses, like they were about to devour it any minute. The pup looked scared. On closer inspection, I found half its body was paralysed.

Sometimes I ask myself why people keep pets. Because of love, I suppose. But after witnessing the plight of the little mutt, I have been forced to change my views, that all pet owners are animal lovers. Instead, I have increasingly come to believe that most people keep animals for their own vested interest — for amusement. Others, only to flaunt their highbrow taste for animals of good breeds. Some years ago, on a chilly winter day, when the street dog my cousins brought home got sick after being left out in the cold for the whole night, they tethered it to a pylon by the road, till it starved to death.

And now, the family own a couple of high breed dogs, and they cannot stop talking about the duo wherever they go: how the smaller one is allowed on beds at night, or how the dogs are powdered after cleaning their dirty rumps. The self-professed ‘animal lovers’ shirked away from even coming close to a supposedly ‘low breed’ dog our family owned. Unfortunately, after 13 years of its existence with us, we had to put ‘Midget’ to sleep after it contracted an incurable disease. Since I do not discriminate between breeds and classes, I believe I am a true lover of all animals.

Even while my friends are on the lookout for the cool guys when we hang out, my eyes always fall on pathetic street dogs. I have forever wanted to keep low breed street dogs, mostly the ugly looking ones, since the higher breeds easily find new homes. If I get lucky and manage to earn enough, I plan to open a shelter for these hapless creatures. But the half-paralysed dog outside my campus makes me question my love for animals-particularly, the stray dogs. I myself feel helpless whenever I see it lying around helplessly, almost praying

me to take it home. But after the unfortunate episode with Midget, my parents will not allow any animal in. A feeling of intense guilt grips me whenever I pass by the little pup, secretly praying for a miracle to end its misery, once and for all.