BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
Just hearing a dog bark these days is scary because it seems like they are out to bite these days instead of just barking. This fear stems from the government data on how many people were bitten by dogs from January 1 to the end of April of this year.
Government statistics show that 11,542 people were bitten by dogs in the time frame mentioned above. It implies that on average there are ninety-six dog bites every day and one dog bite every fifteen minutes.
The dog is but following the law of nature as instincts would dictate. Dogs are territorial animals. When they feel their space is being threatened, they will attack to protect it. The other reason could be retaliatory behavior from being mistreated or abused.
Dogs have been considered man’s best friend for eons now. This is, however, a human perception. To an extent, there is no real way to access the animal’s perception. Although they seem quite content and reciprocal with great faithfulness when they are treated with affection.
Most animals, like humans, are good to those that are kind to them. And no man or animal takes kindly to being divested of one’s comfort zone or having one’s freedom curtailed.
Animals should be free, in their own space, and not be tied or locked away in isolation. That is not how they are naturally meant to be. Man have, nonetheless, over time domesticated dogs, and there are lovers of dogs who offer their pets the best (at least this is what they think) in terms of food, medical care, etc.
In Goa, in the past, when dogs were adopted as pets, they were allowed to roam freely around the house and outside. After a long round of the neighourhood, they would eventually return to eat the food served to them. There may have been cases of dog bites, but they were few and far between.
Slowly, people started tying dogs to make them more ferocious. They thought this would make them better guard dogs. This change of perspective made man’s best friend realise the give and take – care in lieu of freedom. This is not the foundation that friendship is built on.
The population of dogs in Goa has been growing despite the work by numerous NGOs. Animal lovers – natives and tourists, tend to adopt stray dogs not realising that not everybody looks upon dogs as best friends.
Recently, there was a post on social media wherein a foreigner was looking for someone to care for five dogs that she had tended to during her stay in Goa. She even offered to pay for the meals of the dogs during her absence.
As in most cases, someone must have volunteered. But, the life of those dogs will be very different once the lady leaves because the care for the money will take precedence over the care for the dogs, and the animals would end up vulnerable once they were left hungry.
Some people tend to treat and, perhaps, look at dogs as their own. Fine, but would a dog like to be treated as something different from what he has been born to be? Staying in a house, maybe with one or even two keepers but not the ability to run around, play and fight with other dogs, and come back when they are hungry, tired or hurt.
A dog kept inside a home or kept tied and given the best of facilities is akin to a human in prison who gets the best of facilities inside.
Today, there are couples or single individuals who boast of giving their dogs the best. The best is always given when one does as ordered. Stop listening and one will see the best of the worst because that is what we human are.
Dog bites will keep increasing as long as we keep thinking of ourselves and convince ourselves that we are doing to animals what they enjoy, even when they don’t. Give the animal his space and watch how the animal will respect our space.