For the past few days, a rather disturbing ad has been appearing on my facebook timeline. The picture of two cute little puppies instantly caught my eye. When I read the accompanying text however, I thought I had perhaps misunderstood. I read it again. And again, with growing consternation. The ad read: “Get a new buddy” with “Assured next day delivery”. I immediately wrote a comment advising the site to stick to selling pet accessories and not pets themselves in this most flippant and careless way. My comment was soon removed. I tried again. Again, my comment was deleted. A couple of days later, I saw a similar comment by someone else, asking why this site was selling dogs when so many are in need of homes, to which the wholly unconvincing reply was that some of the dogs they sell are shelter dogs. Yeah right.
Where do I even begin on why this sale of pets online is so totally, totally wrong?
On any given day, there are innumerable adoption appeals for dogs (both pedigree and non-pedigree), who are either homeless, abandoned, injured or abused. Excuses for abandoning dogs, some of whom are old and have lived with their family for years, range from “Our son has just got married and our daughter-in-law doesn’t want the dog in the house”, to “the dog has grown too big” to “the dog smells”. Each more deserving than the other of getting the owner one tight smack. Clearly, these kind of people have never understood the true meaning of having a pet- of the pet being an inherent part of the family or of their responsibility and commitment towards the animal. Perhaps they bought their pets online…
Perhaps not. But such things are happening. Every day. And it’s heart-breaking for the animal of course and for anyone else who has half a heart and a little empathy. Sites like the one in question- www.mypetshop.in or the infamous OLX, who voluntarily offer animals for sale online, show a complete lack of understanding themselves of the meaning of owning a pet. Aside from obviously working hand in glove with breeders who are notorious for the torturous conditions under which they confine animals and breed them until their bodies give way; in-breeding which is responsible for increasing health issues in so-called ‘highly-pedigreed’ dogs and for seperating pups from their mothers long before they should, such websites encourage the spontaneous, thoughtless, unprepared acquisition of a pet which, more often than not, is likely to end badly. It is callous, irresponsible and immoral to say the least and such websites should be boycotted if not banned altogether.
As for prospective buyers from such sites, one cannot help but wonder if they truly understand the enormity of bringing home a new family member or if they even realise that that is what having a pet is supposed to be all about. And if they can’t take the trouble to go and see the puppy or kitten and have a few moments of bonding with them before bringing them home, can they really be expected to love them and care for them well for the rest of their lives?
I also fail to understand how people who claim to be animal lovers can, at the time of taking on a pet, become so very selective of whom they shower that love upon. While day after day, street dogs, (new-born, young and old), or abandoned pedigree dogs (new-born, young and old), all with a special story of their own, fail to strike a cord with such people, a puppy with some certificate (most of which are fake by the way!), finds a home all too easily, often till it ceases to be a pup and then guess what? It joins the many in the abandoned list.
If you really do care for animals, if you really do want a pet, please consider joining one of the many adoption groups on social media or through well-known NGO’s such as Friendicoes, Sai Ashram, Red Paws Rescue, etc. Allow them to ask you questions and judge whether your home is fit for a pet. If you really, really do care, listen to them. Make your home the right home. It is in the interest of the pet you supposedly care for and in yours. And if you don’t have the patience to check out your pet or be checked out yourself, then please save your money, spare the animal the trauma and buy yourself a nice, cute, furry little stuffed toy online. Because that would probably be more your thing.