22 Apr Dog Eat Dog the Struggle is Real, a dogs life in Pushkar
Fido or Spot may be mans best friend in the USA but in India it is the lowest caste in the animal world. Dogs are considered dirty. This is more than ironic considering that India itself is far from clean. A country where men openly urinate, spit, blow their nose (farmers blow) and garbage is littered (I’m not sure the term litter exists) everywhere. Cow (and other animal feces but cow bing the biggest and most prevalent as they roam free) shit, piss and snot can be found everywhere. Local people will still claim DOGS are dirty. There are some exceptions. Some indian families have dogs as pets but it isn’t the standard or norm. Even when simply petting or attempting to pet the pups, as some of them are so scared of people they cower or run away, locals will give you looks of disdain.
Pushkar: Background and History
The energy in Pushkar is palpable and has a magnetism all its own. It is one of the oldest existing cities in India. The legend is that Lord Brahma himself created the lake. Very few temples to Lord Brahma exist anywhere in the world. 52 ghats (a series of stone steps leading to the lake) encircle the divine body of water. A dip in the sacred lake is believed to cleanse sins and makes this a prime pilgrimage spot.
There is really nothing like it anywhere else I have been, which is one of the reasons I am so drawn to the amazing town. Beginning the day meditating next to the holy lake, watching the sun rise is the perfect way to start the day. It was doing this I met the Varah ghat dogs. While the dogs may be hungry they are simply starved for love.
Dogs are territorial and usually stay in their space. Many dogs live around the lake. You wouldn’t think this would be problematic. Enter Hindu Mythology: In Hindu mythology, the dog is the most inauspicious (unfavored or ill-omened) of all animals, to be kept away from wedding altars and holy sites. Really?!?
Imagine how a dog would be treated in a quote unquote holy city. A howling dog becomes a harbinger of bad luck. Imagine having to leave your territory thus entering into other dogs territories because you are starving. In desperate need of food when there is no food to be found in your area. How do dogs communicate?!? By barking. Packs of dogs roaming about the street is sure to cause some communication in the form of howling.
It is common to hear dogs barking and howling at night but what can you do. It would be like getting mad at birds for chirping. In fact, even the sight of a dog is considered to bring bad luck.
Imagine Being a Dog in Pushkar, India. You are Basically Fucked!
PUSHKAR Dogs Specifically
Pushkar is a holy city with over 500 temples. Non vegetarian food (meat and eggs) is prohibited. This means the dogs are inadvertently vegetarian as well. What do you feed vegetarian dogs?!? Some good hearted, well intentioned locals share biscuits or cookies. Parle G is a popular cookie brand that has some milk in it. A short term solution to hunger however cookies don’t provide the proper nutrients to sustain, humans or dogs. Milk was the most nutritious thing I found to give the dogs initially. This requires a bowl, depending on how many dogs you are attempting to feed. Multiple bowls may be required to keep the peace as you feed the mutts. Feeding can be challenging as usually the weaker, skinnier dogs that need the food the most can get left or pushed out by the stronger more aggressive dogs.
This is assuming that you have a place to feed them. It is better to be a bit out of the way. This is a funny statement to make anywhere in India. Many times I have fed dogs without taking much care or notice as to where I am feeding them only to be yelled at, grunted at or swooshed away. Some people don’t want dogs close to them, at all, even if it is briefly and for them to be fed.
DOG FOOD IN PUSHKAR
Marwar bus station is down from Shri medical on the backside of the main road (Not the bus station close to the Sikh temple). Madhu Medical is a pharmacy that carries a variety of animal products. This is the only place to go for dog food. You can buy Pedigree dog food and they have an assortment of treats as well. You can also grab medication if you know what you are looking for. Neomec, Ivermectin and Mectin were the medications that were recommended to me by Elena an angel that was passing through Pushkar who worked with dogs with skin disease.
I was elated by this information and the ability to acquire the proper medication from Madhu medical. At the time I was trying a variety of home remedies to help new puppies suffering from mange. This is a skin disorder caused by tiny parasites that is quite common in dogs and even more common in street dogs. The infestation of the mites cause itching, lowered immunity, baldness and sores on a dogs body. Heartbreaking to see which is why I was attempting to use a spray bottle misting them with listerine, hydrogen peroxide diluted in water and borax seemed like too much for the babies so I was covering them in neem oil. This went on for three days. I wasn’t sure if it was even helping but these were the internet solutions that were given. Of course everything I read said immediately take the dog to a vet but when there is no vet around, you do what you can.
Mange causing mites CANNOT survive on human skin. However, they may get transferred on to your skin and can cause a short lived slightly itchy rash. Extend help without hesitation but be cautious in approaching the dogs. Move slowly, offer food if you have some, calm gentle words will hopefully get you closer to a new friend and able to assist or at least give some love which is also healing.
Evil Brahmin Dog Story
The most shocking incident was when a so called Brahmin (holy man) came running (trying to run was more like it) with a large stick screaming at the dogs as I was about to feed them. Yelling that the lake was holy, a holy place and not for dogs. The dogs in question lived at the ghats. Which I calmly stated to the angry man who wrecked of alcohol. The lake was for the brahmins he boasted. I laughed out loud at the absurdity of the statement which only angered him more. How could I be so confused?!? The holy lake was of course there for the holy men the Brahimns. How could I think that the holy lake embodied and personified the energy and beauty of life itself of which the dogs are an integral part?!?
I learned that you cant argue with ignorance. Small minds cant comprehend anything outside of what they know, and what they know is absolutely right. Many of these small minds take great pride (EGO) that they can dominate over helpless creatures especially if given a free pass to do so via an odd loophole in their religion. The aforementioned man enlisted a bank security guard who I had only previously seen sleeping or taking up space, literally to scare the dogs away with a large stick. Personally I think these men are trying to compensate or prove something waving their sticks around claiming that this Holy Lake is here for them.
The Generations that Follow
What about the kids who love to play with dogs?!? Sure there some. But for the most part they aren’t treated kindly with love. I have seen kids hitting and throwing rocks at dogs countless times. What is even more disgusting is that sometimes they do this, thus provoking the dogs to chase or act aggressively. Then they run screaming or crying usually to tourists for sympathy from the “mean bad” dogs. Unfortunately I have seen the dogs be aggressive towards kids (not throwing rocks). I know their story. What would you do if you were constantly being attacked by kids and people. It breaks my heart and literally leaves me with tears streaming down my face. There is a need to educate these people about dog-behaviour. Evidently, the attitude towards street slash ghat dogs is largely of no or low tolerance, domination, abuse or as a pawn to gain sympathy and or attention.
Little things can make a big difference. A younger boy gave me a bag of milk contributing to feeding the dogs. This was touching. No one ever had less by giving.
A big hearted Brahmin put a tilak or kumkum- red powder dot on the forehead of the a couple of the dogs. I thought this was genius as it is typically used as a social or religious marking. Thus humanising the dogs or perhaps allowing others to see them in a new light. That was how I took it. I purchased some to replicate the action. Unfortunately with their fur it comes off relatively fast.
TOLFA: Tree of Life for Animals is an animal hospital and rescue centre 6 km outside of Pushkar. Bruno (Beiru) one of the Varah Ghat dogs had a very serious condition. My friend and amazing Brahmin Lala called Tolfa for me and a week later took me to visit him. It was hard to see so many dogs, around 400, in various tragic conditions. Some without use of their limbs from accidents where they were run over, many curled up suffering from various injuries. Everyone at Tolfa was very kind as I was pretty choked up at the states of these poor creatures. After visiting with Bruno and hanging out to give love to anyone else that was open to it, I donated to the centre. Feeling very grateful that at least they were being treated and taken care of. If you feel called to do so you can also donate. This helps the center and the many animals that it helps at: http://tolfa.org.uk/donate/
India has such a rich culture with a long tradition where people greet each other with Namaste. Literally the recognition that the other person is you, that WE ARE ONE. Why and where is the distinction that dogs are not part of the universal unity. Dogs are loyal, loveable, obedient and affectionate creatures and should be seen as a symbol of devotion and unconditional love.
In India a little bit can go a long way so if you are moved by this please please donate to TOLFA at the above link.
Thank you for taking the time to appreciate the difference of a life of another being in a different culture. We are truly blessed in so many ways and our “best friends” and relationships with them should be seen as the unconditional love it is.
If you have any suggestions, questions or comments please let me know. I am open to any and all ideas on how to help these guys. My latest and of course in my opinion genius idea would be this:
This Recycling Bin Feeds Stray Dogs In Exchange For Bottles
Posted by David Wolfe on Saturday, April 8, 2017
While doing research about dogs in India I came across this and wanted to share. To bring more awareness to the limited consciousness and environment that these beings are being subjected to check out this craziness going on in southern India.
“Apparently, increasing number of stray dogs and increasing human population in urban places has resulted in a war for space and food. Amid depleting rural atmosphere where dogs shared a healthy relationship with humans, the dogs now find themselves trapped within concrete structures and they have adapted to urbanization quite undesirably. If humans are clearing forests to expand cities, they must ponder over the fate of stray animals.
The government and local bodies could have taken appropriate measures to check increasing population, but they didn’t. Now, common men have taken the matter into their own hands, killing dogs in any which way they can.
In Shimla, more than dogs, monkeys have become a menace for people. The state is appealing to the center government to declare monkeys vermin, so that they could be culled or sold in international market for medical experiments or for testing of cosmetics. The government cares less about ethical issues, and is ready to embrace cruelty without hesitation”.
Written by MADAN featured in NATURE & WILD LIFE