Monday, December 3, 2012

Adopting Strays as Community Dogs

Here is a little project in India encouraging people to adopt stray dogs. Nothing unusual in that except that this group wants people to adopt strays as community dogs and leave them on the street. They use a particular stray dog called Popkorn who was adopted by market stallholders where it lives as an example and mascot.

Basically, the idea is that members of a community take responsibility for the dog(s) by providing both food and healthcare whilst in return the dog offers some companionship, waste disposal and a communal security alert. The dog also retains the freedom to decide its own movements, activities and choose with whom it interacts.

Throughout rural areas in many tropical and subtropical countries this is in effect what already happens with traditional village dogs but the relationship has largely been lost in urban areas. Perhaps formalising it and giving it a new name is the best way for it to work in cities where many people have unfortunately adopted the western attitude that unowned dogs are out of place.

One project member summed up the approach with, “get them treated if they are injured, get them immunised and then leave them in freedom. Adopt them as a community.”

I certainly hope that this approach continues to gain ground in urban areas wherever the local history has involved free-roaming dogs and people living happily together.

Learn more about the lives and issue of unowned dogs in my e-book ”A Stray View” available from Bangkok Books (readable as .pdf on any computer)

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