Be kind to stray animals

Published October 10, 2020
Photo by the writer
Photo by the writer

In our busy lives, we never give a second thought to the little creatures, such as cats and dogs, wandering around our neighbourhood. We consider it routine and nothing of significance.

Sometimes, it is the bark of a dog or a chilling cry of a cat that grabs our attention but because it doesn’t make any difference to our lives, we forget about it the next moment. What we forget is that, we, as humans, have a responsibility to help, care and pay attention to the needy and helpless creatures who depend on us. As an adult, I feel it is my responsibility to remind my little readers of how and why it is important to take care of these stray animals as much

as possible. Good habits begin from childhood and remain instilled in people for their whole life. Therefore, caring for animals when you are young will not only be a great learning experience, but will also teach you responsibility, gentleness and respect for other living beings.

Here are some main aspects for you to consider and bring about chan­ges in your attitude accordingly.

Difference between stray and domestic animals

It is important to remember that there is a difference between animals you have as pets at home and those roaming outside your house. Stray dogs and cats live in harsh conditions, so they carry germs and diseases as they eat out of garbage and things lying on the floor, which domesticated/pets do not. Therefore, the ones at home are pretty clean and with fewer germs and the ones outside have a lot of germs infesting on them.

So, if you decide to help and care for any stray animal, make sure you are at a safe distance. I’m writing this out of my own experience because I had been the owner of a dog and some cats over the years. I have tamed the stray ones as well as have kept a pure breed German shepherd.

Photo by the writer
Photo by the writer

Things to consider before caring for strays

Stray animals usually get bad treatment from people around them, they get hostile and sometimes attack. Why? Because they have hardly seen love and care; all they have come across is human cruelty, hatred and torture, hence their defensive and harsh attitude towards humans.

So, don’t get close to stray animals immediately. It takes time for them to realise that some humans are caring and are showering their love on them.

Photo by the writer
Photo by the writer

How weather affects them

Weather affects everyone and everything, even non-living things are not spared. For instance, if you leave plastic, iron or any material out in the sun, or unattended for a while, you will notice the change in colour and texture of the material. Imagine the plight of those who have no shelter and are victims to the intensity of weather.

Whether it is rain or scorching sun or even the chilling breeze in winter, stray animals suffer because they have no choice. Being helpless, they try to cope and search for shelter under the vehicles or anywhere they feel secure. You may have seen many such animals?

Photo by the writer
Photo by the writer

How can you help?

Kids, most of you get cartons with the groceries that come in your house, these cartons are thrown away usually. Don’t throw them now, put some old cloth in the carton, (with the permission of your parents) place it somewhere shady outside your house, porch or building, tell the sweeper or the watchmen that you have put the carton for such a reason, therefore, he should not move or throw it. Perhaps a cat or a dog find it and take shelter in it.

Photo by the writer
Photo by the writer

Feeding to get divine reward

I have seen people feeding birds on the pavement, on the rooftops, balcony or anywhere they find it feasible to feed birds, mainly pigeons. Perhaps the reason is to get divine reward.

I wonder why people don’t think the same for cats and dogs. Are dogs and cats not innocent souls that need help from humans too? I personally asked someone the very question and got this answer: “Cats and dogs are filthy, full of germs and diseases! I don’t want to have anything to do with them.”

There is no denying the fact that there are germs in the stray animals, but do you know that birds also have germs? If you get hold of any bird, like pigeon, parrot, or even sparrow, all of them have germs and small fleas in their feathers, posing skin rash, irritation and in some cases swelling. You give them food or water while staying at a safe distance without the need to get close to them.

What you can do?

Like cartons, you can easily find any useless plastic container in your house. Place it outside your building or house so that cats and dogs can also have some water, just like water is placed for birds by people. Provide them your leftover food by not throwing out it with the garbage, but make a separate bag of the leftover food and put it aside to dispose off some place where these stray animals are likely to find them.

Educate yourself and your parents

Parents play a major role in making their kids learn good or bad habits in their early years. Telling kids to stay away from stray cats and dogs is not wrong and so is telling kids to hurl something towards these animals. Why do we have to shoo away stray animals by hurling something, especially if the dog or cat is at a safe distance? This leads us to develop a dislike for stray animals and treat them harshly without even being sorry for their helplessness. It is something we see elders (the ones we trust) doing and it is what we also do. I have seen people throw stones, sticks or anything they get hold of, and become delighted when the animal runs in fear of being hurt.

Instead of doing such acts and telling youngsters to follow suit, elders should tell the kids that these animals depend on humans, as they are living on the street or road, which is not their fault. They are born there, so if they are approaching a person, they must be hungry or in need of attention.

Remember kids, you can benefit from the companionship, affection and relationships with these innocent animals throughout your life.If you are a caring person and your friend is not, tell them that if they can’t be good, caring or helpful, they don’t have to be cruel or unconcerned either.

Misconception

  1. Stray animals attack!

Wrong: Stray animal attack if they feel they or their babies are threatened by humans or other animals. When they have young ones, they are too sensitive to even notice who is caring and who is not. The other reasons for an attack can be extreme hunger, and/or if they feel the person is an outsider, stranger and so they take the person as a threat.

  1. They get a lot to eat

Wrong: Stray animals do not get enough food. In garbage, there is just a lot of everything. Considering the number of cats, dogs, rats, birds and all kinds of other living things who scavenge on the dump, nothing or no one gets a mouthful.

  1. Pain or injury, they’ll get over with it

Wrong! It all depends on the injury inflicted to these animals. If it is minor, it could be healed, however, if it doesn’t go away, it’s not minor. Thus, these animals suffer, and sometimes a prolonged painful death.

  1. They have shelter

Wrong! Animals don’t have shelters. Every day is a battle to them and among them. It is their survival skills that make them live long, so only those who are fit and strong manage to have shelter and scraps of food.

Things to remember:

  1. As living beings, they also feel pain!

  2. They also need water and food!

  3. They want to hide themselves in shelter.

  4. If not love, kindness they all need.

Don’t ignore these innocent creatures because your ignorance makes them victims of starvation, disease and human cruelty.

Published in Dawn, Young World, October 10th, 2020

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