Thursday, June 5, 2014


DOG CARE  Part 2
(Link to Dog Care Part 1 is given below this post - you may like to read it after reading this post on Adopting a Dog)


There are 4 ways of “adopting” a dog.

In each case the degree of human-canine relationship varies quite a large extent.

Most importantly, in each case, the degree of attachment to the dog varies greatly.

Let me illustrate this point by giving you some examples.


When I was in Mumbai, every morning at 6 AM, I would start from my home opposite the Oval near Churchgate, walk down to Marine Drive via CCI, and then go for a brisk walk cum jog to Chowpatty.

Then I would turn back, and walk down to “land’s end” at Nariman Point at the southern end of Marine Drive to do some light exercises.

I noticed that every day a woman would come there in a car.

The moment she got out of the car, a large number of stray dogs would come running to greet her.

She would then sit on the parapet by the sea and feed the dogs biscuits which she had carried with her.

The lady would sit for half an hour, “talking” to the dogs, while the dogs frolicked around her, and after that the lady would leave in her car.

This was her routine every morning.

I will call this the “first degree” of dog care (or human-dog relationship).


In the 1970’s, when we were undergoing training near Jamnagar, a female dog gave birth to a litter of 5 pups in the garage of our bachelors’ accommodation.

After a few days, the mother and puppies wandered away, but one puppy remained and could be seen in hanging around the corridor.

We bachelors “adopted” the small puppy.

We fed the dog every day, and soon it started following us around.

We called a vet from town and got the dog inoculated.

In jest, we had named the dog after our hard taskmaster training officer.

The dog started responding to the name.

The dog used to come with us on our jogs, hang around while we played a game, and sit with us in the evenings when we had a drink.

But we never allowed the dog inside our cabins – the dog used to sleep outside in the corridor where we had made a place for him with a blanket and water and food bowls.

When we proceeded to sea for our competency training, we “handed over” the dog to our junior batch, and when we came back a few months later for our second phase of training, the dog was very much there.

We left for sea a few months later and I am sure the dog was looked after by the bachelor officers who came to live in the block after us.

This is the “second degree” of dog care.


We saw that in the first and second degrees of human-dog relationships, the dog is not allowed inside the house.

The dog lives outside, either on the street and or in your compound, and you give it minimal care.

I have seen many persons keep rescued dogs below their buildings, either on the street or in the building compound, and they feed the dogs and keep water for them, and, in some cases, ensure vaccinations and minimal veterinary care too.

In the third and fourth degree of dog care, the dog lives in your house.

Let me give you an example of the “third degree” of dog care.

I had a friend in the army who had a dog.

He had entrusted “dog care” to his batman (also called sahayak).

The sahayak was the de-facto master of the dog.

Yes, the sahayak would look after all requirements of the dog – food, water, grooming, walks, exercise etc.

The officer and his family would play with the dog whenever they got time.

But in the same manner as some parents delegate their parenting duties to a “nanny”, the officer had delegated dog care to his sahayak.

Even when the officer and his family went to their hometown on leave or on a vacation, the dog would stay behind with the sahayak.

Like the army, many other organizations like the police or some civil services provide you with attendants who can look after your dog.

If you can afford it, you can hire servants to look after your dog.

In this “third degree” of dog care, your dog is like a child looked after by a “nanny” where you delegate pet-parenting to someone else.


This is the highest form of dog care where the owner treats the dog like his own child.

You look after your dog personally.

You treat your dog as a member of your family, just like your human children, and you do everything possible for your dog like you do for your human children.

You are ready to make sacrifices in your career and personal life for the sake of your dog.

You forgo travel, vacations and holidays, and you cheerfully curtail your social life and make lifestyle changes for the sake of your dog.

You are deeply attached to your dog because you love your dog very much.

This highest “fourth degree” of dog care is very demanding and you should be prepared for a long term lifelong commitment of full time parenting.

Remember, your human children will grow up and go away but your dog will remain a perpetual child.

Your dog will be with you forever for his entire life till his death.

You will have to care for your dog through his entire lifecycle of 10-15 years, including caring for your dog in his old age and you will have to undergo the agony of seeing your dog die before your eyes.

You will have to bear your dog’s medical expenses, which can be quite substantial since veterinary care is costly.

Most importantly, you will get emotionally attached to your dog and your dog will become a very important part of your life.

Are you ready for this highest “fourth degree” of human-canine relationship?

Do you have the time, commitment, temperament and resources to look after your dog?

This highest form of dog care is very demanding – you can take my word for it.


If you want to adopt a dog, especially a rescued dog, by all means do so.

But please be very clear about the type of dog care you will be able to provide to your dog.

The worst thing you can do is to get your dog used to the “fourth degree” of dog care where the dog gets deeply attached to you and becomes totally dependent on you, and then you “abandon” the dog because you realize that you cannot bear the commitment and responsibilities of looking after your dog or you are reluctant to make sacrifices in your career and lifestyle for the sake of your dog.

So, think properly before you adopt a dog – make sure you don’t land up in a situation where you adopt a dog in haste and make the dog suffer later.

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1. This are my personal views based on my personal experience. It may or may not work for you. So please do your own due diligence before considering these pet parenting tips.

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