Today a few of us went to People for Animals, a shelter on the edge of town. (I say edge of town because I have no idea where we were, but it required a rickshaw or car to get there.)
As soon as we went through the gate, we were swarmed by dogs. Indian dogs are from an ancient race of dogs — similar to dingoes or other indigenous dogs. They’re called, interestingly enough, pariah dogs. They’re a product of natural selection, so perfectly suited to their environment — smart, savvy, independent, athletic. But as I witnessed last week, cars and the thoughtlessness of humans takes a toll on them.
I expected the dogs to be aloof, seeing as they aren’t domesticated like lap dogs. But as soon as they saw us, the jostling for pats and love commenced. Old dogs got up to come over, crippled ones hopped or dragged themselves over, puppies toddled our way. All they wanted was for us to pat them forever. I picked up a tiny black puppy who immediately proceeded to go to sleep in my hands.
The shelter has many dogs — a very high number of them are missing a leg or have deformities from accidents. Honestly, I felt a little heartened to see that they could survive a horrible accident. It makes me feel like perhaps the fellow I saw hit on Sunday might still pull through. I will keep looking for him. If he did manage to survive, a protected environment would be a good idea.
Most of the dogs at the shelter are mangy, bald, dirty, crippled, deformed, whatever. But they are full of love. We went around and held and patted and cooed for a good long while. Then we just sat with them — it was noontime by then and the sun was hot. The dogs lay around us and enjoyed some company. It seems like such a little thing to do, but it was also wonderful, because they were so happy to spend time with us.
The shelter also has turkeys, monkeys, hawks, cows, cats, and a pig. But it was really about the dogs for me. Even a dog that’s evolved to be highly independent still loves humans. Even a dog that’s been mistreated or grievously injured. The shelter isn’t much, but at least it affords them some protection. I don’t know how to end this; I wish I could help them all.