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.

  • ali

    Kicked out chocolate brown color Spaniels-the guy must by crazy..!! i cud not find spaniels with such color..it is rare.Recommend

  • faraz

    Shouldnt we spend our extra money on HUMANS who are living out in the open? Especially, the millions of people uprooted by recent floods. Recommend

  • http://bakedsunshine.wordpress.com/ Shumaila

    This post is heartrendingly true. It reminds me of a billboard I saw in England ‘A pet is for life, not just for Christmas’. Its horrid how people will just chuck animals out like that, not to mention the many more that keep pets but in miserable conditions. There should be an RSPCA here too to take care of these pets and to apprehend people who mistreat animals in this way.Recommend

  • Shahbaz

    very well written obviously it denotes to represents the status-symbol Although 70% population of the Poor country like Pakistan are in the race to earn the Bread & Butter so,it would be said as it is (Anokha Ladla Khailen ko mange Chand) adoption of Pets & puppies signsof Elite not to the poor.

  • Isfand

    Great article,thanks for highlighting this issue.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/265/haris-masood-zubairi/ Haris Masood Zuberi

    Important issue. It’s heartbreaking how insensitive people can get.
    Few days ago I was dumbfounded to see an online ad for a white adult persian cat for sale. The seller wanted to sell her off urgently because he needed money to buy a new high-end cell phone!
    A picture of the poor cat unaware of her fate made me too sad… Recommend

  • http://grsalam.wordpress.com Ghausia

    How can a pet no longer be cute to the owners? My kittens were so sick they used to crap on me but that didn’t stop me from cuddling them and kissing them, I still miss my babies so much. Oh reading this was just so heartbreaking. Those poor spaniels, those horrible people! I hope someone kicks them out on the street, see how they like it!Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    I hate such people who cant take care of their pets………..:_( they provide us so much of amusement and pure love……That no one would ever find with any human these days……..Recommend

  • Hamood

    Unfortunately in Pakistan there is no such thing as animal or pet rights. I saw the worse abuse of animals on a daily basis when I was living there. It will take a few more decades for us to be as humane to animals as people in the west are. At least animals kept as pets are status symbols and treated comparatively well compared to the strays that are kicked around on a daily basis. Unfortunately we will not be humane to animals unless we become humane to our fellow humans first, examples of our cruelty are on display every day in all newspapers. Recommend

  • Zeeshan

    Persian cat,anyone?Recommend

  • Farhad

    I have a horror story of my own to add. About 10 years ago, I was informed by my parents that our much loved German Shepherd was going to produce a litter of pups but that we could only keep one and would have to give away the rest.

    At 16, I had no motivation for money, but wanted to ensure they would live in a good home. I priced them at 25,000 each a small fortune in 1999. The sad truth was, a potential buyer came in one day with his friend, both of them no older than mid twenties. When I inquired what he did for a living, he thought I was MAD and promptly offered 40,000 a puppy. I threw him out of my house the moment I realized he was evaluating these puppies as dogs for fights against other dogs and even worse BEARS!

    It’s terrifying that dog fighting has become a sport for the rich now apparently which is why we took the decision never to have our dogs mated again. You simply cannot guarantee 8 solid homes for them to go to in Karachi without at least one falling prey to some psycho. It is a pathethic state of affairs, I agree.Recommend

  • Farhad


    I hate to be the one to point this out, but this is a nation that doesn’t give divorced women a second chance at marriage, do you honestly think they will give pets a second chance?

    Sad stuff really.Recommend

  • http://humayuniftikhar.wordpress.com Humayun Iftikhar

    The poor soulRecommend

  • Jehan Naseem

    you are absolutely rightRecommend

  • Saad Najaf Ali Sayed

    I have many pets include my GSD cross wolf, whom we have named “PIE” since he was 6 days old. Now he is almost 10 years old. He isn’t just a pet, he is our life. He is a family member. Our guests who respect us should respect our pets. Our the years he has won are heart undoubtedly and immaculately.

    He is so dear to us that non of us will go for a vacation together until one stays for him willingly. And we feel obliged and not due to any compulsion.

    I couldn’t have agreed more with the above comment that a pet is for life.

    People who consider pets a mere commodity should rather invest in the stock exchange, commodity markets or in colllectables like paintings for status-quo. They don’t deserve to own pets so that they can disown them later. Such people are worse than dogs.Recommend