When we talk of adoption of stray dogs, sadly, our myopic vision remains restricted to pups. They are not toys or commodities who need to be marketed based on their cuteness. They are precious lives. The age of a dog is no bar for their homing, so, a senior dog or a middle aged dog, a blind dog or an invalid dog is as much worthy of a home as a pup is. It is time we move beyond the factor of cuteness and understand that it is a matter of lifetime commitment, equivalent to raising a human child, where only mutual unconditional love matters.

Then, the grim reality, these pups have come into existence at the cost of unsterilized stray mother dogs. It is an endless cycle of emotional, nutritional and physical drain for such mother dogs. Unfortunately, some even cash on the opportunity to use these stray mother dogs as breeding machines for a steady and non-stop supply of pups. Non-stop proliferation only contributes to further homelessness. A lot of effort goes into finding a good home for one dog itself, someone who would be as loyal to the dog to take care of him/her for their entire lifetime. So, by adding onto the stray dog population, we are not increasing their odds of homing. Rather, we are only increasing the number of un-homed dogs by letting them multiply. If so many dogs were to get a home, there would not be countless un-homed dogs on the streets and others languishing in shelters today. Adoption of stray dogs is to be promoted not at the cost of bringing more lives into a questionable existence, but by focussing on homing those who are already there and have been waiting to feel the warmth of a deserving home for ages.

Just a handful of stray dogs get to see old age, given the fact that most of them have their life cut short due to challenges of living a life on the streets. When their face frosts, warts develop, joints stiffen, back arched, eyes glaze, they are often parcelled off to a shelter when they need love, care and attention the most, in their twilight period. The same stands true for blind stray dogs, paralysed dogs who are sent to a shelter and seldom get the warmth of a home. A lesser known truth about these marginalised segment of stray dogs is the fact that they make wonderful companion animals.

The next time you consider adopting a dog, do have a look at the ones no one looks at. It will be the most soul rewarding period of your and his/her life. Watch their personalities flower with home-coming.

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