Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Kanis


He maybe a vagabond, a rascal but he is a true gentleman and his name is Kanis.

That was the first time I heard this name and FIL explained that Kanis is a long forgotten football player and one of his favourite. (Maybe the Australian player?)

Kanis wandered home one day when he must have been a few months old and the dog lover inside FIL refused to shoo him away. Kanis is of a mixed breed; black and white in color unlike the brown variety one finds in Kerala. MIL, a pet hater had another reason to dissuade FIL. Cats embracing your home is good while a dog will only bring bad luck. (I succumbed to this old wife’s tale too and removed out of fear, one such dog which had wandered in, from my parent’s place.  While returning from Mavelikara to Tiruvella, we dropped this poor dog somewhere in between. My children and Hubby continue to make me guilty over the same while I hope he found another home)
But Kanis stayed and was well trained by FIL. Give him food and he will stay clear of it for a few minutes. I have never seen him gobble even when he was very hungry. Unlike Jim, our Labrador whose mother the shopkeeper claimed has a pedigree certificate which one never got to see. Show Jim food and he will push you down and will not look up until everything is over. Kanis was also a fierce watchdog unlike Jim. But one cannot blame a Labrador since they are a friendly lot and are seldom used as a watchdog, unless people are deceived by their size.
Poor Kanis can be blamed since when Kanis was around a year or so,  FIL was struck down with a series of illness and finally cancer took him away. But then he was 83 years old, hale and fit until the cancer made him stay put for a while. For 3 whole days, Kani did not eat but lay down whimpering outside FIL’s room. He was also seen visiting FIL's graveyard. MIL did try feeding him but somehow the fellow just wandered off. He became an occasional visitor as though to check up on MIL who was staying alone. Recently when our son landed in Kerala, Kanis paid a visit; stayed around for a few days and left again. When I and Hubby landed in Kerala, I waited for Kanis to show up and feared he was killed. Lo and behold there he was! Wagging his tail vigorously and whimpering in his signature style. But he was very thin and looked very old too. He had cuts and bruises on him. I fed him and once more observed how mannerly he was. I hoped he would stay for a while and he must have hoped we would too. But the fellow mistook our going out for another year long absence (saw his tail go way below when we all climbed into the car) and disappeared once again. He knows our car well and this was proved when we visited a cousin many kilometres away and found Kanis on the way. He ran behind the car for a while and then made another customary visit soon.

Kerala always had street dogs and if I remember right, there was regular culling years ago. Everyone fears them. Our maid told me that she has only two fears in her life: robbers and dogs. She has a long walk to our place and is constantly troubled by them. She also lost her nephew to rabies.

Dogs do not deserve our fear and ignorance. They are the most loving and faithful companion that a human being can ever hope for. But rabies is real. We have tried injecting Kanis along with Jim but the task has never been easy. Somehow the fellow always knew something was up and disappeared when the doctor came over to inject!

Kerala government has finally opened its eyes after numerous petitions and precious lives that were lost to rabies. Unlike what is being circulated elsewhere in the country and internationally, they are not being culled but caught and administered anti rabies vaccine. The government is following the ABC scheme, ie Animal Birth Control scheme. My hometown Mavelikara is the first town to go into action I am told. All dogs were rounded up by volunteers and injected. They were let loose later is what I heard.  I think the International Animal Rescue team has been working in Kerala since many years and the following is from year 2003.
In additon to our meeting with the Mayor, we have also written letters to the editors of major newspapers regarding our position on the killing of stray dogs and have sent a copies to reporters whom we’ve had dealings with in the past and who have been sympathetic to our cause.

IAR believe that killing stray dogs is not a solution. The only approach which will yield long term results is a sterilisation programme (such as the Animal Birth Control scheme, commonly known as ABC, under which we are registered). The purpose of such programmes is to reduce the number of street dogs in a humane manner and to bring down the number of rabies cases. But time and effort have to be put into making sterilisation programmes work. Unfortunately, many local municipalities have failed in implementing the ABC scheme in a consistent manner and have, as a result, resorted to killing the animals which they had already sterilised and vaccinated! It is important to note that over one hundred years of catching and killing stray dogs has not worked in either reducing the canine population nor the incidence of rabies in India (nor anywhere else in the world). We must therefore turn to more humane alternatives, such as the ABC scheme, which have proven to be highly effective if properly implemented.

I sincerely hope the government keep up their act so that dogs do not become a menace to the society. They are man’s best friend but it is not easy to tell those who have to walk on the street to not mind them. There are many who cannot travel in cars and there are children who walk or use their bicycles to go to school. The fear of them need to be removed so that they are loved and taken care of.

Edited to add the following:

The boycott Kerala campaign is still going on and I think it is only right to sign the following petition so that people understand the real matter.

https://www.change.org/p/stop-the-hate-campaign-against-kerala
The #BoycottKerala spiel is a result of misinformation actively spread by AWBI (Animal Welfare Board of India) and misunderstanding of the State Government's stance. The State Government has decided to use Animal Birth Control measures in view of recommendations made by animal rights activists and experts.


 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Screeeeeeeeeeeech!

As a kid or as an adult one may have experienced the exciting feeling during a drive on a giant wheel or a roller coaster or even plain sliding on a smooth floor, until it stops suddenly with a screech or maybe soundlessly. It is only you who experienced it until you join the rest who walks around normally. It is this same feeling that I now experience after both the kids have flown the nest. It was an exciting, never stopping, nerve wracking experience similar to a giant wheel or a roller coaster. You chose it and then something or someone took control of everything. All you could do was either enjoy, scream, laugh or even cry. But now that I am out of it, it is like standing alone and trying to make a sense of it all. You are back on solid ground. But what do you do?

Still trying to figure out what I shall do.. maybe the world will throw me something or maybe I would need to grab something myself.

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