Love, it is said is unconditional. Shakespeare dubbed it blind and enough has been said about the purity of emotions that are experienced in a loving relationship with any person, animal or thing. In case of dogs and the much-celebrated love between owner and pet, can we say the same principles apply? Especially in the context of desi, ‘stray’ dogs?
Tanya Palta thinks so. The Delhi-based writer and editor is a self-proclaimed (and rightly so!) expert of desi canine breeds, having raised ten dogs in her home. As she happily rattles off the names of her brood (from the oldest, 14-years old Cheeta to the 3-years old Hero and Poli), Tanya also shares how she developed a strong bond with the stray dogs around her house after their first pet, a golden Labrador came into their lives. She became a die-hard dog lover and that involved feeding dogs in the vicinity of her house and eventually adopting dogs that she particularly bonded with or who were abandoned/hurt.

Poli, Tanya’s Handsome Indian beauty
Siddharth and Shagun, a young couple based in Dehradun also share similar experiences, having taken in eight, of which one passed away but the others are now over a year old. Siddharth and Shagun were returning home on New Year’s Eve in 2010 when they rescued the little fur balls who were about 2-3 weeks old. Winters in Dehradun are freezing and that night was unforgiving as rain lashed down, slowly filling the dry gutter where the pups lived.

Tanya, Siddharth, Shagun and many other people who have raised desi dogs understand that the discrimination against the Indian breeds is just another reflection of a society that is obsessed with status, money and class. Siddarth and Shagun share that the Indian breeds have stronger immunity than pedigrees while Tanya talks about how her brood is incredibly adaptable, very responsive to housetraining, gentle and responsive. Much more, she affirms than the pedigree dogs.
While it remains true that the important place pets hold in the lives of us folks should not be measured on parameters such as status or class, another contrasting truth that must be probed is whether our affection, as pet-lovers extends only to the fancy breeds, or do we love all dogs- desi or pedigree- for the wonderful blessing they are…