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A Dog’s Tale

What is love? How painful is it? Have you experienced it? 

We meet someone in our lives who we love endlessly. We experience different types of love: parent-child love, friendships, and soulmates. Looking for a partner is tough and requires mind, body, and soul. We need to look deep to fall deep in love. 

This is a story about two star-crossed lovers, a match made in heaven. You could see them together all the time. The kind of love, people only dreamed of having. It was beautiful. It was magical. Inseparable yet individuality was their foundation. 

They had a spot where they would meet and hang out. The place was riddled with trees and bushes, it was quiet and serene. Few people around them ensured they were protected by each other. But there was someone in their lives who played the role of friend and guide. They were grateful to have him around. He was there for them in times of need. 

Days turned to months and months to years and their love grew stronger. As it is a tragic love story, there is bound to be a tragedy. One terrible morning, they both were taking a nap under a lush maple tree. The weather was warming up and the sky was cloudless. The wind was gentle. Enters the villain. The group of men came in their uniforms with their vials of potions in hands. They were not scared because their friend was of the same kind. But it was something about them. Their eyes were cold and soulless. 

The girl did not trust them. The men put forward trays of food in front of them. She pretended to eat, but the boy ate it. The men left, satisfied. She waited but her heart was dropping as she knew something bad was about to happen. She turned and found him on the ground, immobile. She tried to wake him up, but he would not budge. She tried calling his name, but he was soundless. The call turned into a scream, and the scream became howls. He was dead. 

When she woke up again, he was gone. She was broken. She went inside the jungle and stayed there alone. Little did she know that she was carrying his children. 

This is a story about beasts as we so like to call. But they are the most loyal and loving animals. Yes, they are dogs, and it is a true story. It is a common practice in Pakistan to curb the population of animals increasing beyond a certain level. These government-authorized centers run large trucks, with poisoned food to stray animals. On top of that, targeted animals are also shot on sight. From June to September 2021, in the province of Sindh, Pakistan, more than 25000 dogs were killed. This raised a country-wide protest against animal cruelty. 

In Pakistan, the population of dogs is increasing, due to low of shelter accesibilities. the officials in 2020 decided to mass vaccinate the dogs. The policy is yet to be seen in action that gave rise to a high number of dog bites and rabies cases, making headlines daily on TVs and news. To curtail such incidents, effective policies need to be imposed. Killing is not the solution. 

Animal population has been increasing faster than that of human. The reproduction process is shorter, but the mortality rate of stray animals is quite high. Recently, in my neighborhood, two female cats gave birth to a litter of eight. But the kittens died overnight due to either harsh winter or lack of food. 

The animals are not problematic, rather we humans are. When stray dogs bite people, it is because humans are aggressive towards them. Otherwise, it is because of starvation, which is partially stemming from our lack of care. Food is scarce for them. Humanity is lost. Most of us do not bother to help the animals rather we are cruel towards them. Beating them with sticks so they run away or approaching a more inhumane way to get rid of them. 

One of the options to help the animals is to give them shelter. Pakistan spent $28.52 million on live animal imports. The exotic breeds of cats, dogs, and parrots have been a fascination for many wealthy families in Pakistan. If only stray cats and dogs are adopted by such families or if the rich contribute some to the shelters, it would be of tremendous help. 

The government needs to allocate a proper amount of funds to foster animal shelters, clinics, and centers. The sick needs to be treated and the traumatized need to be adopted by loving families. While there are many NGOs for animal welfare in Pakistan, the government also needs to play an active role in providing welfare. Effective laws and regulations are needs to be imposed on animal cruelty. The poison is not to be sold openly and neither should it be legal. The murderer needs to be held accountable and punished accordingly. When punishments are made public, it is a message for others.

Upholding responsibility at a personal level is vital when it comes to animal protection. Everyone needs to be aware of animal rights. People need to educate themselves. Educational institutions should have separate courses defining animal rights and education them on how to  treat them gently. Such acts should be embedded in a young mind, so they grow up to be a responsible citizen. Here in rural areas of Pakistan, the children see their elders treating animals with a sense of superiority. sending  them away, hitting them with rocks and sticks, and even shooting at them. Such behaviors are picked up by the younger generation and carried forward. Therefore, educate yourselves and the children. 

My concluding remarks would be to not just be kind to animals, but love them. Treat them better than you would treat yourselves. They do not have resources to live as we do.They do not have the tongue to speak like we do so be emphatic. Experience love because the connections formed with animals turn out to be more profound. And most of all, love them. 

Esha Shahid

February 17, 2023 

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Tags: #animalrights #love #animals #animalcruelty


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