Our personal welfare is greatly influenced by our childhood and adolescence, and the relationships formed during those phases of our development. The relationship between dogs and people, especially children is special.

The dog is called a “man’s best friend” ever wondered why? Humans have coexisted with dogs for over 25,000 years! How cool is that?? Through the eternities, people have claimed dogs as one of their closest, and greatest, friends. Of all the animals, dogs serve the widest range of roles: they are our protector, helper, lifesaver, pest-controller and companion.

These friendly creatures help us reduce anxiety and tension and love us with all they have. While we give treats and comforting hugs to our pets, there are some poor dogs that live on the streets and are often deprived of all the warmth and affection.

There’s a very common fear of street dogs in India; they are known to be aggressive and badly behaved. But life on the streets is not always easy and they face a lot of challenges, including hostility by people who are afraid of them or who like to tease them or even want to get rid of them… These dogs are suffering a lot.

But we can make a change!!!

There are millions of stray dogs living on the roads, also in or near our locality. Since we can’t help all of them, we can at least take care of the dogs who live in our own street and treat them well. They are so-called community dogs and our collective responsibility. And trust me when I say that stray dogs make a wonderful (community) pet. Not to forget that the famous Hachiko was also a stray dog!

We asked youth (10-14 years old) during the Stray Buddy summer quiz 2023 to share their experience with the community dogs in their colony and here are some wonderful stories from each one of them!

★ I had been seeing Pari (dog) in my colony for a long time but never seemed to bother to pet her or try to play with her. One day when I was coming back from my tuition, Pari came running to me and started panting a lot. I got very scared and immediately got some water and dog food for her and started petting her. She seemed to love this and from then onwards she would come to my gate and scratch it, quite a few times she would come in my veranda and she would have some food and relax with me. Now, whenever I can call Pari, she comes running to me and I hope this connection never brakes. (Pari introduced me to her new friend Rani too!)

-Trisha (12 years old)

★ Brownie is a dog who came into our colony in November 2021. He was always very shy and scared. So we all decided to take care of him. Every day, we used to give him food, water, and some dog treats. And since it was winter when he came, we made a bed for him using blankets. We used to call him by many names- Brownie, Monaco, Rocky and Floppy. But in October last year, he got very scared of the Diwali noise, lights and crackers so must have gotten confused and he ran away. The fact that he came into our colony during Diwali time (maybe from getting scared from the crackers at another place) and left after exactly one year at the same time is very heart-breaking. We all miss him a lot and hope he’s doing well.

-Vanshika (12 years old)

★ Pippy (or as others called her, Simba) was quite a unique dog and she was such a sweetheart and loved those whom she knew and trusted. I knew her since she was just a puppy and she was born just 2 days later when I shifted to H-Block, Saket. Since she was a puppy, she had always been kind of a nervous doggy and the other dogs used to intimidate her. Although, once I got to know her and gained her trust, she would come to my door every day for belly rubs. Unfortunately at one point, she started to get quite nervous and started to bite people but she was misunderstood and a few times she was thrown stones at, which turned the matter worse. She had to be taken to a shelter but you could see that she hated it there. The second time she was taken to the shelter; she jumped outside the boundary and escaped from the shelter. She was not seen again but we all miss her and hope she is happy and healthy wherever she is right now.

-Ishika (12 years old)

★ A few months ago, it was raining badly on a Friday. I had taken my dog out for a walk in the night. I saw a scared dog. After taking my dog home I came and fed her and I named her BELLA. She didn’t come for a week. She came back next Friday and then she came the next day also. I fed her both days but the dogs in my street weren’t really happy on her arrival. They barked and fought with her. I didn’t see her for at least a month when I found out she was friends with my dog. But after that she ran away front the colony. I hope she’s doing well since she was an angel to meet.

-Vidita (14 years old)

★ I met Pantar 6 years ago right after he was born, His brother who died after coming under a cars tyre. I took care of him right from the beginning. I fed him roti and curd. Then I also met his brother chilli and god the same with him they both will be turning 7 the November. Hope the dog that came under the car rest in peace. Now days all dogs try to bully him but I always protect him. Hope they both have an enjoyable life.

-Vihaan (11 years old)

★ Brownie is one of the oldest street dogs of D Block. He used to roam around with a female dog called Elsa who sadly passed away a year ago due to natural causes in a vet. For a while after that incident he was distant and lonely. It took him a long time to get along with the other street dogs in D block. I even gave him some old coats to wear during winters and he also loves to play my pet dog. He is doing much better now.

-Shanaya (14 years old)

★ This is like a daily routine… A dog named Snowy sleeps in our driveway at night. Every evening she waits for me to come home from the park to open the door and let her in. When l keep walking inside the driveway with my bike without giving her a pat she lets out a whine which l now realise is a connection seeking bark. She also rubs her head against my legs. Finally when she receives her pat she goes, sits in her place and slowly falls asleep happy and dreaming…..zzzz

-Gyanada (12 years old)

★ This happened almost an year ago… There was this puppy who lived near the fruit juice shop. He was new to the other dogs; the dogs often chased him away whenever he tried to go near them. I felt extremely sorry for him so every night I used to go to feed him (I also used to play with him sometimes). Soon he was full with joy and got excited whenever he saw any sign of me. A few months later when I was going to feed him, I could not see him sitting on his usual place. I asked a few guards about him but that was not of any use. I hope where ever he is he is happy and healthy.

–Satvika (12 years old)

★ Once, I used to live in H – Block near the RED GATE, and I was super scared of dogs. Then the next day I saw Choco who was an expert at biting new people. After some time I went to the park and I saw her running towards me, I shouted and called my elder brother, then he said “why are you shouting she is just a dog”. I said that she is coming to bite me. He said: “no no dogs do not bite people who are friendly to them and take care of them”. The next day she came towards me and sat down. I gave her an ear rub and we both played for hours, days and years.

-Kimaya (10 years old)

These are just a few examples of the wonderful bonds between children and their community dogs, showing that there is no need to fear when we show some kindness and compassion towards these animals!

Unfortunately, we also notice that pets are getting abandoned on the streets by their owners and appear lost in our colonies. And in other instances, community dogs have run away from our society. Why do things like this happen? There are not one but many reasons to it.

Dogs are companions and for thousands of years have been our non-human security guards that protect our area and residents, but we humans fail to save, value and respect our canine protectors and “best friends”. So let’s vouch to at least help all the needy souls around us, like these youngsters did. Why fear?


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