I’m sick of my puppy, you take it

Published: October 20, 2010

People often treat their pets as temporary amusements, but fail to take responsibility for them.

Outside my office, on the bulletin board, hung a distressing poster. A boy was selling his 2-year-old dog for Rs50,000. The ad stated that he hoped to find Spike a ‘good home’. I almost turned around and walked back into my office, when I knelt down to read the boy’s contact number, and punched the digits into my cell phone.

I was going to call him.

After a few rings, the boy picked up, his voice thick with sleep. I told him that selling off his pet dog to the highest bidder wouldn’t guarantee a good home. I suggested that he re-think Spike’s “price tag” as I looked at the dog’s endearing photos on the poster.

My heart almost broke. The boy, sounding a little defensive now, said that whoever can shell out 50 grand is bound to take good care of Spike–given the amount of money spent on the dog.

Suggesting a few other alternatives, I let it go, considering the irritation that was beginning to creep into the tone on the other end of the line.

Hanging up, I sat back on my swivel chair and remembered the time, a few years ago, when I drove past a massive, opulent house in Gulberg (in Lahore) that had two adult cocker spaniels huddled close together on a patch of grass outside the house’s main gate.

That day, I found out via the security guard (who worked at the house), that the dogs had been recently chucked out of the house. “But why?” I’d asked, baffled. “Because sahib can’t take care of them anymore,” the guard had said, equally puzzled, while shrugging his shoulders.

The Spaniels, both male and female, had deep, chocolate brown coats which glinted with hints of maroon in the sunlight. They were flea-ridden and under-nourished.

Over the years, I’ve encountered many educated, well-to-do families who’ve gotten rid of their pets after adopting them for a year or so. It enrages me to no end. Why do people keep pets if they’re eventually going to dump their animals on the side of the road, to fend for themselves? Why?

And then, there are those who keep pets, but after the novelty of the pet’s cuteness has run out, they begin to mistreat and neglect the animal. Soon enough, the dog or cat winds up with a fatal disease, flees from the house and is eventually run over by a speeding vehicle.

That’s the trouble with us – we think of breed dogs and cats as status symbols. To flaunt. To complement the furniture. We forget that once we adopt an animal, it becomes our responsibility. As long as the pet doesn’t defecate, fall sick and shed fur – we’re happy.

And we think, if someone is willing to spend 50,000 bucks on a pet, the buyer must certainly be responsible and “good”.

Because, after all, everything comes with a price. I really hope Spike finds a good home.


Sonya Rehman

A graduate from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism who works as a freelance journalist for The Express Tribune and various publications in Lahore.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.