BENGALURU: Your dog is gorgeous, where did you adopt him from?”
“Umm..we actually bought him from a breeder,” the retriever’s owner replies. Both faces fall as further conversation languishes. This is the new compassionate city, this is a new age – the mantra is #Adoptdontshop, we don’t buy.
It is increasingly considered infra dig, if not downright cruel, to buy a dog anymore. Educated people don’t do it – just like segregation of garbage, banning plastic, being polite, non-classist is standard behaviour. Today’s families, trying so hard to inculcate the right values in children, do the right thing themselves and focus on being responsible and would not want to be part of a cycle that encourages cruel breeding. Young people and couples too.
Many people say they like a particular breed, so why not buy? That’s true. I myself adore spaniels and Indies, and I do understand the fascination people have for the special characteristics. However, with a huge supply of dogs that have been rescued, abandoned, lost, or even our available Indies, it just doesn’t make sense to go buy when so many wonderful lives are available and desperately waiting to be homed. Globally, most people will go automatically to the nearest shelter when they are ready to expand the family. Buying a dog is simply not the default option.
With the fascination that our country has for pedigrees and the caste system, it is unsurprising that it seems to actually cross species. The younger generation seems focused on adopting a dog. So not only is there a social stigma when you purchase a dog, but you’re also branded as the kind of person who puts personal presence and status over kindness. We see many fancy breeds in our dog park, the chows, the great danes, the mastiffs, and we understand how much the person’s status seems to need to be reflected.
Sometimes these dogs could be adopted too. If not, very often the owners do fall in love with the dog, and as they grow into the understanding of how cruel the breeding industry works, may never buy one again. Adoption seems to be a far more universally accepted option. Look at the number of posts on social media on dogs up for adoption and you will see that people are allowing themselves to fall in love, using their heart and the soul, not necessarily choosing a pet with their mind and their wallets.
Serina Parkin Williams, abandoned in the park as a pup, now has her designer mom Vatsala Bagla wrapped around her paw and managing her Facebook account. I chuckle at lovely Lucy Sundaram’s Instagram posts, ruling the roost with her besotted household, forgetting how this wonderful lab girl was tragically abandoned. Little Chiquita, a black Indie pup run over is now breaking hearts in her new home and convincing her fabulous parents’ friends to be rescuers too.
Love when coupled with kindness is a potent, irresistible force. #AdoptDontShop is a sustainable, sensible way ahead. A shelter or a rescued pet reminds you that you used your heart to get yourself a family: It is also a constant demonstration that when you could do the right thing, you did.
The author is a CXO search consultant, civic evangelist, Bangalore champion, Google-Doodle aspirer and
certified dog slave since 2007