Feral? Who? Daisy?

Media only seems to talk about street dogs when they gravely hurt humans and then the media paints an elaborately sensational narrative of the "feral dogs of India" being "let loose on the people". Of course, no one can deny that as resources shrink, man-animal conflict only goes up and that is true of dogs too. But the overwhelming reality of life of street dogs is not all of us running away from feral dogs, but simple straight from the heart friendships between human and dog, as evolved over tens, if not hundreds of thousands of years. We were just meant to be friends, as demonstrated by this story, by Radha Thomas, a popular jazz singer from Bangalore.

The story speaks of an apartment full of people being won over by a dog. Seems like it does not really take one to be a "dog person" or have adequate training of sorts to be able to so easily interact with a dog. That's not so true of most other animals. Most of us would not be able to easily go from being a non-pigeon person to a totally- pigeon person overnight. Dogs and humans - we're just meant to be friends and it comes very naturally to both of us.

"..Back then...No one smiled at anyone. I didn’t know the names of my neighbours and they didn’t know mine. We lived inside our lives and didn’t let anyone in.

Then one morning, a little dog, all of three weeks, arrived at our front gate, a stray from nowhere. Black, white, brown and feisty. She yelped and howled and nipped at the heels of everyone entering and leaving the building. She was so tiny.

We fed her some scraps. The folks in 202 fed her some scraps which prompted the people in 303 to feed her some scraps. Pretty soon, she became a scrappy little thing, protecting everyone in the building. The watchmen took turns keeping an eye on her so she would not be hauled off by dog-catchers.

She was so adorable that the people in 303 couldn’t bear to let her sleep out on the streets, exposed to the nasties at night. They bought her a beautiful basket, layered in the softest goose down covered in colour-coordinated satin sheet-and-pillows. They adopted her and she became their princess.

Very quickly Daisy (what else would you call a dog?) had the residents of 201 talking with the ones in 203. “Have you seen Daisy?” they would ask. “We had pork chops for dinner and she loves bones.”

Today, all of us know each other’s names. Daisy has learned to scratch on the front door of the apartment she’s interested in (depending on what’s cooking of course) and eats at least six meals a day, which I hear is better for you than just the traditional three.

She gets exercise in the park across the street (although dogs aren’t allowed in there) and everyone in the neighbourhood knows the Princess of Milton Street.

I realised how famous she really is at a recent rehearsal with my jazz band. We were auditioning a new bass player and I had to give him directions to our apartment. I launched into a laborious explanation with landmarks and road signs when suddenly Tony said, “Stop. I know where it is! You live in Daisy’s building, don’t you?”"

Read original article here.


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