THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With an increasing demand for pets by children cooped up within their houses, animal breeders have reaped rich dividends during this lockdown. As demand increased, prices of puppies have also skyrocketed. The high requirement has also resulted in a shortage of puppies.Krithika Abhilash and Anamika Abhilash, Class IX and Class V students at Christ Nagar Senior Higher Secondary School at Thiruvallam, respectively, had been bothering their uncle, Krishnan Mohanlal, an IT employee, for a labrador during the nationwide lockdown. Even though the breeder advised him to wait, the children were in no mood to relent. Eventually, they bought ‘Pepper’, a 25-day-old black labrador for `7,500.
“Earlier, we idled our time away during the weekends. But now Pepper has made our lives meaningful,” said Krithika and Anamika.Now, a labrador puppy is not available for the same rate. Veterinary surgeon,
Dr L J Lowrance said that currently, a labrador costs anything between `12,000 and `15,000. “While prices have spiked, there is also a shortage of pups. Everyday I get calls from parents. They are not concerned about the cost. They want their children to stop the tantrums,” said Dr Lowrance.
For Rupa D’Souza Mathew, her daughter Ritvika Reji Mathew, an ardent pet lover and a Class VII student Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pangode, did not create a hole in her purse. While Ritvika already has a dozen stray cats at home, Rupa had to buy only a pair of hamsters, Louis and Fifi, at `1,200 for a pair.
Snatched young, low tolerance for diseases
Veterinarians are unhappy with the turn of events as they are having a hard time treating puppies. Usually, puppies are taken away from their lactating mothers after 45 days. But with children firm in getting puppies within a few days of their birth, their disease tolerance has gone down. “If vets had to take care of a dozen pets everyday earlier, now the number has increased to a whopping 100 plus on average per day. Having a pet dog is an investment for anything between 10 and 17 years”, said Dr Jacob Alexander, a senior vet.