Life is turned upside down and becomes a nightmare for an abandoned dog who can’t trust and survive easily on his own. For us, he might be a part of our life. But for him, it’s his whole life!
Covid has been harsh for humans but worse for the voiceless. Several pets have been either abandoned and left on the streets to fend for themselves or given up to overcrowded animal shelters. While many thought it appropriate to get a pet during the first lockdown, the same went scurrying to get rid of the poor things during the second lockdown. Some very lame and common excuses given are pet owners going back to their hometowns due to unemployment, absence of house help and the fear of Covid infection being carried through the pets. The shelters are receiving more abandoned pets than ever before. It’s time people realise that a dog that has gone through shelter is like a man who has gone through prison. Broken to the core!
Dr. Sandeep Yadav
S.K.R.D. veterinary Hospital
“An abandoned dog is left to beg for food and water all the time. It’s a miserable life for the voiceless, broken hearted dog who is exhausted and just breathing.”
Dr. Anil Gangwar
Dog and Cat Clinic
“Mental state of a deserted dog is somewhat similar to a Covid positive person, who remains inside a room most of the day, misses his friends and family, boredom taking a toll, lonely, depressed, confused, stressed and scared”
Dr. Anirudh Mittal
Pupkitt Per care
The loopholes and loose corners in animal laws allow the pet owners to keep or dump pets as per their wishes. People dump the canine companions without realising that life without owners is a great stress for a dog and it is not the worst problem for the domesticated animals, who suffer thirst, hunger, diseases and are left to fend for themselves.
Nevertheless, it is the stress of being abandoned we are going to talk about in this article, because veterinarians and dog fanciers know a lot about restoring the physical form of an animal, but not much about how to cure its battered psyche. As Dr. Sandeep Yadav of SKRD Vet, Gurugram explains, “Mental state of a deserted dog is somewhat similar to a Covid positive person which is stuck inside a room most of the day, misses his friends and family, boredom taking a toll, lonely, depressed, confused, stressed and scared. In addition to all this a deserted dog is left to beg for food and water all the time. It’s a miserable life you can say. A broken hearted dog is exhausted and just breathing.”
Experts say the minimum period for development of an adult dog’s attachment to its parent is two weeks which lasts a lifetime. It is the strength of the emotional bond that a dog feels more confident and courageous with its parents around. It is more active, looks and sniffs around more often in the presence of its parents. It would approach strangers and other dogs. And like a child would shun food and water if the pet parents are gone for too long.
“Normally pets like to live with their family. If his owner has deserted him then we find so many effects,” says Dr Anil Gangwar. “He will leave his food and water. barking unnecessarily, feeling confused about being left behind . He would suffer from grief, depression, emotional pain, fear, sickness, post-traumatic stress disorder and at times may also die from injuries. Animal welfare laws in many states of the United States have declared it a crime to abandon a pet.”
Dogs are different from all other animals because of their incredible attraction to a person. Once alone in an unfamiliar place, the dog loses its safety net. In such a situation the dog spends much less time exploring the surrounding area, is still for longer periods of time, and is howling or barking most of the time trying to look for his pet parent or attempting to escape from the enclosed space.
Dr Aniruddha Mittal agrees. He says, “Be a pet parent, don’t just be a pet owner. This is the first line that a person needs to understand before getting a pet at home and the responsibilities that come with that little creature. Either treat him as your own kid whom you can never plan to leave, no matter how difficult the circumstances might be or don’t destroy life at all. That fur baby is now used to that unconditional love and care. Life is now turned upside down and becomes a nightmare for him. He can’t trust and survive easily. It might take him days, weeks, or even months to recover from that separation anxiety. Some dogs just don’t recover at all. For us, he might be a part of our life. But for him, it’s his whole life!”
Although most dogs can get attached to a new owner there is a suggestion that the number of attachment bonds is limited – only 3-4 during a lifetime. So what will happen if a dog changes home for the fifth, sixth or seventh time? No specific research has been carried out on this subject. There is certain information on the dogs becoming cowardly, avoidant, and prone to sudden panic attacks. Typically, this behavior of the dog is explained by cruelty of dogs’ previous owners or shelter employees. But such problems occur even if dogs have been treated gently and with patience. Unfortunately, this question has not been answered yet, hopefully it will be clarified in future.
Reasons for abandoning a dog.
In 1998, US researchers conducted the first detailed study of the phenomenon of giving up a dog. The results unraveled 71 reasons for making such a decision. The most common reasons are below:
- Moving to another city or country
- Expensive (medical) dog treatment
- Requirement of the rented accommodation owner
- The dog is being aggressive to owners or strangers
- Cost of maintenance of the animal
- Lack of time
- Too many animals in the house
- Illness or death of the dog’s owner
- Owners’ personal problems
- Overcrowded house or other related inconveniences
- Untidiness of the dog in the house
- The dog damages furniture
- Dog’s enmity towards other animals in the house