How many are there? I couldn’t tell… six? five?


17 thoughts on “Litter-ed

  1. The saddest part about this “story” and many others like it is that we dont know how it ends. We dont know whether any of those puppies will make it into adulthood. I had written a post a year ago on a similar thought ( I still dont know what the solution to it all is. It made me really sad to see the photos nonetheless. For a while now, I’ve been talking of volunteering at a local animal shelter…perhaps this is a sign that I should stop talking and just go ahead do it.

    Rolling: read ur post, cd relate to ur anxiety and actions wholly. I really believe ur Lucky is safe somwhere. If thr is smthng tht can b done nd u do hve an opportunity, pl do it on behalf of those who care. Support u in thought all the way, since can’t in action, directly, rt now. Thx.

  2. The caption makes this a fantastic concept photo- you should send it in to competitions!

    Yes, the situation is sad .. I request everyone to contact your local animal shelter and sponsor the sterilization of the strays in your locality. I recommend the local chapter of People for Animals (I’m involved with the Kolkata chapter, and I know they do very good work)

    Rolling 🙂 thx, glad u noticed my puppies. now I know a little more abt you, thx for that link, lets hope for the best 😦

  3. ^
    Nature already does its part in making it difficult for all but the fittest to survive. What is truly pathetic is when humans go and add to the mix and put an even bigger selection pressure on survival.

  4. Vagabond,

    In my view, ‘Humans’ aren’t separate from Nature. We are what we are because we turned out to be that way: the fittest. And by huge degrees. Kinda like an exponential increases in the criteria for fitness.

    So if we do put a selection pressure on survival, it’s not something which we do intentionally, we happened that way.

    However, it is time we clearly distinguish between the two : Comfort or Survival.

  5. @ Alok:

    Is all of nature without altruism?

    Yes, we are the fittest. The head honchos in the hierarchy. And perhaps being at the top of the hierarchy gives us access to do the right thing – to preserve members at the lower end of the hierarchy. Maybe we dont always have to put negative selection pressure on these individuals, maybe we are in a position to actually conserve and preserve. Perhaps our own struggle for survival has taught us a thing or two about altruistically helping other members of a different species survive their own struggle.

    We can choose to do nothing and let the dogs die on the streets. Or we can choose to step in and provide them the opportunity to live. As the “fittest” of the lot, the onus lies on us.

  6. Vagabond,

    Well, whatever I want to say to you in reply is best said in this comic. 😀

    P.S. I am not trying to dictate any protocol for human behaviour here. I just stated what I believe in. I don’t want to get involved in another “Truth war”. If you disagree with my views, you’re welcome!

  7. @ Alok:
    This is hardly a war. People form different opinions based on different backgrounds. I have reasons for forming my opinions, and you have reasons behind yours. You presented your opinion and I presented mine. I dont necessarily expect you to conform to my opinion, and I definitely wasnt trying to engage in a war. To each their own.

  8. Alok, indeed, truth is relative and opinions are varied.

    However, War is, when you refuse to debate.
    Debate is when people choose to consider the value of each other’s truths – with the view to seek – resolution 🙂

    Vee, I do think some are “fittest” as Alok says, but as you say, “the onus lies with the fittest” 🙂

    “To each their own” sounds defeating about an issue of nurture and contradictory to what you had said earlier.

  9. Vagabond,

    I have had a few negative experiences on the Blogosphere regarding discussions and opinions. And I didn’t like them at all. Hence before I gave a proper reply to you, I wanted to make sure this doesn’t turn into something negative.

    Now, you say that since we are the fittest, the onus lies on us to altruistically help the species less apt at surviving than us. Going by this reasoning, why focus on dogs alone?

    What about squirrels, and cats, and mice and lions and tigers and elephants? They seem to be suffering from the negative selection pressure due to us too.

    But then, there is a problem here. If, for example, I choose to protect and help deers to survive, I am interfering with the survival of lions. If I want to support the survival of lions, the deers would suffer.

    But then, we notice that many species are indeed on the verge of extinction and without damage control, they would be lost forever. So what is the solution?

    I believe that the solution lies in respecting nature and nature’s laws. It lies in realising that we too, are products of nature, and that our own survival is at stake if we continue to bend nature for our comfort.

    We have the amazing ability to change ourselves and adapt to circumstances and survive. However, the increasing amount of comfort we have in our lives (due to technology and development) makes this ability almost useless (which is, I believe, the primary reason for discontentment among people).

    The struggle for survival is precisely what defines our lives. If that is absent, life becomes a stretch. That is the reason we create adventure for ourselves: in hierarchies, in social positions, in fame. That becomes our struggle, and hence a reason for our lives: to struggle and achieve something.

    However, we still feel something missing, and under the shelter of Nature I’ve felt that ‘something missing’ to complete itself, and feel myself to be truly alive.

    So, the solution, according to me, is to sacrifice comfort for Nature. Maybe a day will come when we will willingly stay without electric power for a few hours everyday. When we will sacrifice more comforts and support forests instead. I believe we will feel much more satisfied and complete living a life of struggle in the shelter of nature than sitting on a couch all day and watching TV.

    So, having blathered all over, here’s where the dogs in the picture come in. If I protect them, I will be denying them their struggle to survive. They will become dependent, and I am hence denying them their right to life.

  10. The problem arises when we try to simply conservation, and make it sound like we are all out there on a mission to populate the world with animals of all species. Nobody ever said conservation of species was a simple issue. Conservation of wildlife has always been and will always remain a complex issue. Yes, by conserving deer, you will naturally result in an increase in population of lions, which will further result in a decline in population of deer etc. But note that these kinds of wildlife cycles do already exist in nature. Wildlife populations in nature, even without the interference of man, go through cycles of boom and bust. What a good conservation program attempts to do is simply to keep the cycle going i.e. you do not want the deer population to hit zero such that the lion population too ends up at zero etc, at the same time you do not want to reintroduce too many deer into the population such that there is an overpopulation of lions. A good conservation program tries to recreate the thin line of balance that nature walks on its own. In the case of some species this is easier said than done, and I do admit that in some cases it is almost better to let the species go extinct than to spend millions of dollars in attempts to recreate the balance. The conservation of each individual species merits a discussion of its own and requires its own customized conservation plan.

    Now coming back to dogs and the issue of “conservation” of dogs. You have got to admit that the domesticated dogs we see both in homes and even on the streets are quite unlike true wild dogs, and have already lost a large part of their survival instinct and are already dependent on man. They already have evolved to being dependent on man to a certain extent for their survival. It’s sad but it is what it is. The domesticated dogs that you see on the streets do not go out into the wild in packs hunting other wild animals for food. They have instead evolved to being dependent on man and survive by scavenging through man’s garbage cans. Look at where these dogs live. They live smack in the middle of the city. Their survival directly depends on man and his activities and not on other wildlife as would be the case with true wild dogs. Given that they are already dependent on man for survival, we have two options at this point – to ignore their dependence and let them fight for survival (which will result in feral dogs vicious enough to fight and bite humans for a morsel of food…think survival of the fittest..the fittest dog in such a scenario would be the one that has learnt to defend itself and fight humans for food in the city) or we can acknowledge their dependence and help them in the fight for survival (which will yes, result in even more dependence on humans…but then again, by virtue of domestication they already are dependent on humans).

    Now, with regard to your survival versus comfort discussion. Our definitions of the two terms may have evolved over the years with advances in technology and development, but I hardly think we’ve reached a point in our own evolution where life is comfortable and without a need for struggle. Our definition of struggle may have changed and true, what was once considered a struggle is today defined as comfort, but despite these comforts, there are still new struggles out there for us to fight.

    I do agree with you about respect for nature and its laws. But we are a part of nature too and to some extent we do help create those laws. We cannot alienate ourselves, take a bystanders perspective and say, “go on nature, do your thing” while we stand by the sidelines and simply watch.

    PS. Alok, I’m not arguing for the sake of argument. I have always loved animals (perhaps more than I love humans) and conserving wildlife is something I feel passionate about. I am certainly not an expert on the subject but a healthy discussion such as this one helps me too to put the thoughts in my head in perspective and give more thought to what it is that I believe in.

  11. I want to keep this discussion alive too (as I too think there needs to be something done here).

    Also, I searched the net and consulted some wildlife sites. According to them, it is not a good idea to release domestic animals into the wild for many reasons.

    However, there are also documented cases for domestic animals escaping and surviving in the wild.

    As for these pups, unless each of them is willingly adopted by people (which seems less likely), they will turn into strays which will only help spread disease…

    And well,dog pounds or animal shelters… they aren’t kept that well.

    I’ve seen on Animal Planet people taking care of left alone animal children and then releasing them into the wild… maybe that could work here.

  12. Alok, Vee, Just being conscious of the fact that these became stray probably due to our actions, and therefore, do what is possible, in little ways to make life a little easier would be quite sensible and a starting point.

    Like back in Kolkata, some neighbourhoods actually nurture them together. Every family saves a morsel, for these animals and instead of dumping leftovers in the drain or in a dirty place, they lay it out where they can feed on it. Also, during bad weather empty spaces like garages, verandahs are allowed to become shelter for them.

    It is a way of life. Over here I find people regularly feed birds. Why not keep the dogs in mind too? Ahmdbd has whole islands in the middle of busy thoroughfares, that act as bird perch and feeding ground. With dogs, I find it’s a stick and kicks at random! It’s puzzling. When one can be kind to one of Krishna’s creations, what about the other – equally helpless one?

    I work at one of the ‘best’ schools in Ahmdbd, where children ARE NOT even taught how to be kind! There is NO provision for moral and ethical training or Value Education altho Kothari Commission was very categorically insistent that it should form a compulsory element of the curriculum.

    We could
    1) help spread awareness,
    2) leave a little food on our plate everytime
    3) specifically instruct the canteen boy to feed it to the dogs outside
    4) keep an eye that he does and
    5) explain why
    6) protest when we see people are kicking out at these creatures.
    People learn after a while.

    Releasing them in the wild is no longer an option. Besides, India is too poor to run dog shelters when it can’t even feed it’s human babies.

    It is heartening to have you thinking – with a brain like yours in the long run there would be hundreds of ways emerging, only if the idea is allowed to stay in some recess of your fertile mind. Let’s keep them alive in our minds, first.

  13. Sorry havent been in here in a while.
    @Alok: Yup. Introducing domesticated animals into the wild isnt always a good idea…there are too many risks associated with it, one of them being the introduction of diseases from the domesticated population into the wild population. And for many more reasons, this shouldnt be done.
    It would be ideal if the puppies got adopted into families. Or got taken to an animal shelter (where hopefully they would be vaccinated against certain diseases and taken off the streets). At the very least, the biggest solution of all would be to spay or neuter these animals. There are way too many stray animals than shelters can take in, and to curb this problem, spaying and neutering is absolutely necessary.

    While feeding these stray animals as you mentioned might be a temporary fix, the best solution would be to get a local animal clinic and animal care society involved to come and spay/neuter these animals. Feeding the dogs in itself will not be a solution because these dogs will go on to reproduce and soon instead of feeding one dog, you’ll be feeding a dozen others. It is crucial that they are spayed/neutered and prevented from reproducing some more unless someone is determined to care and provide for the puppies too. Spaying and neutering should be done for free by animal care societies if they are serious about curbing this problem.

    And yes, I agree it is very hypocritical to feed pigeons with one hand and raise a stick to a dog with the other hand. And I am glad you are doing your part in making kids in your school aware of the morals behind animal cruelty.

  14. Vagabond,

    That probably is the best alternative we have that works to our advantage.

    However, you see, these animals – they’re deprived of their natural fight to survive. Their very life is a variable under our control. Something within me naturally rebels against it. Hence my first comment.

    I am planning to write on this in detail some day …

  15. Alok, the fact that their lives are a variable under our control is a really sad fact, but it was invariably established at the moment when they were domesticated years and years ago. Had they remained in the wild forever, they never would have roamed the streets of the city in search of handouts from humans. Unfortunately the way things are today, they do rely quite heavily on humans for their survival. I do understand and completely agree with your sentiments against “controlling” their lives for them. But unfortunately, it is the only way for these animals to survive. Something set in motion years and years ago suffers consequences today.

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