Tuesday, July 28, 2015


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.

Kanis spotted recently by son..you can see his wagging tail..and that must be a smile :)

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.

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.



  1. That was a sweet dog tale.
    IT is easy to say that street dogs be rounded and vaccinated and sterlised. Firstly that needs a dedicated and professional approach. These bastards who sit over us as ministers and legislators have no such quality and they care a hoot if it is a dogs life or a human being.
    Now, sterilisation and vaccination is fine. Let us suppose that is done and the dogs are either left back in their territory or taken to shelters. The second plan calls for a continuous monitoring and action. When hospices and district hospitals are run in pathetic fashion how can we expect dog shelters to be well?
    Coming to vaccination- that has to be repeated each year and how are these folks going to track dogs? They will have to radio collar them and track them. Yes thst is a way but will we show the large heart to get going?
    As for rabid dogs, they must be put down.

    Finally one suggestion or even call it demand. Isolate that woman Ranjani Haridas and either vaccinate her or take her to some shelter where she can ramble what she wants. She is I'm afraid the pits of the world.


  2. Yes you are right.. it needs a systematic approach and not a jerky reaction. Jaipur can be a role model for Kerala. I think every village in Kerala has an animal clinic and hence this job can be done.

    As for Ranjani, I am not a great fan of hers.. she can love dogs..we all do.. but let her work to find a solution to loving them without fear first.

  3. hi hk..
    i am not too sure about all this, you will feel differently when you are in a lane and you see a swarm of 5-6 baying strays in front of you, like we see in the lane in front of our house at calicut. while that was in calicut, we had another event at palghat when a rabid stray bit a healthy calf and it died..People there wont think of benevolence in such situations..
    home kept pets are wonderful, but otherwise, it is a more complex issue and if they are wandering around harming people, they are bound to react differently.

  4. Yes Maddy.. that is the sad truth in Kerala. Somewhere things have gone out of control and now it will take some time. In developed countries, dogs are not allowed to roam free? And dog lovers that my children are, I always caution them not to approach a street dog since they love dogs and think all dogs are sweet.

  5. I am not really a dog person, but some of my friends have dogs. here they have to be collared and id'd and under supervision while on the roam mode. You hardly see one un-tethered, unless it is a hiking trail and the dog is totally human friendly..
    I think in remote places there are strays, but I am not sure what rule applies in those case.

    1. Yes..developed countries have rules for everything.

  6. I am also very scared of dogs, because I have seen them biting even the owner..and when i walk in a lane, stray dogs make it miserable for me.running behind me sometimes..so in a country where even all humans dont get care and food, its very difficult to be nice to stray dogs.

    1. Can totally understand your fears, in fact whenever I meet people who hate dogs or cats I understand it is mostly out of their fear for these animals. I try my best to make them shed their fear, specially children by making them touch or cuddle. But it is not easy with elders since all of them have unpleasant experience to relate.
      As for poverty, I think for most poor their only friend could be a dog or a cat and they will do anything to spare food for them.

  7. That is such a nice thing done at your place. Hope others who haven't follow in suite.

    1. A warm welcome to my blog..
      Now the commotion has died..as usual :)

  8. animal birth control is a good idea


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