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The helplessness of a domestic dog and its abilities

Ohidur Rahman |
Update: 2014-06-29 09:10:00
The helplessness of a domestic dog and its abilities

There are wild dogs in the forests and the jungles but are domestic ones in or around our houses. The wild ones are ferocious especially because of living together like packs of wolves. But the domestic ones are usually obedient and powerless in our vicinity. There are a lot of stories implying the faithfulness of a domestic dog, especially of a pet one.

Those which are powerful can fulfill their needs even by force if required. But what about those which are powerless? In a word, they are sticky like those boys unable to connect themselves with the girls they need to develop relationship with.

What is the want of a dog? A house? A couch? A companion? A love? A care? An affection? Actually nothing but a sufficient amount of food. Now the question is who will give it food if it is not a pet one.

All a dog can do is leave its prestige and get as sticky as it can—waiting and waiting mainly in the yard of a house unless someone gives it some food whatever amount it be. Maybe you are taking lunch on the veranda as usual in a village house in the winter season.

And the dog is swinging its tail staring at you with perseverance at its utmost, no matter how long it has been hungry. Will it make a sound or a noise? No. Will it bark and draw your attention? No.

You have already finished your meal but somehow have not marked the dog’s predicament. The rest of the lunch is there. Will the dog have the food then? Will it take the food away? 

No. Then what? Nothing but waiting as usual. Maybe your brother did the same, so did your sister. Somehow the dog was left unfed and ravenously hungry. What will the dog do then? Will it go to another house and give a try or test its luck. No. There is a vital problem. It has managed to keep other dogs away from that particular house. In this case if it leaves for another place for food, it has to undertake a fighting with another dog in the next house.

A question may arise here why it has not eaten the rest of the food in a sly or whimsically. It is because the dog knows well what consequences will befall it if it has done so. A severe punishment will follow and the dog will lose the chance of staying in the house any further.

Nothing but the dog had better stay calm and wait for the moment someone will give it some food some time or someday. Now another question may arise why it does not live in a jungle or a forest. The answer is, it will eat nothing other than the kinds of food a man usually has.

It will not eat anything the other animals living in the jungles eat. The result we have found is that the dog will live like this. There is no better alternative. The manner it will develop is sticky and gluey, calm and quiet, tolerant and persevering like an unsuccessful but authentic boy after his admirer.

Dogs are happy with the leftovers given after meals. If the dog is alone, it will have it peacefully whatever is given. The problem arises naturally if there is more than one dog. Barking, scratching and attacking will continue among them.

It becomes even more interesting when a dog gets or takes away some food scraps especially bones. Like children the adult dogs will keep on barking away other dogs. The similar situation is usually visible in affairs. The girl who has changed the boy and starts with another who is not the expected type of the first one will bark away the previous one.

Especially in the suburban areas some dogs make a group and do not allow another neighbouring group of dogs in. At times the two groups keep on barking from a little distance. In case of a tiger it has an unofficial area or an imaginary demarcation where no other tiger is allowed in for both its prey and the tigress. The ferocious animals are alike, which is similar to the spoilt boys who create the same encounters to avoid risks in their affairs with girls.

As we know Buddhists believe in rebirth and Hindus in reincarnation according to the worldly-deeds before death. According to this, the present life is only a simple link in a chain of lives that extends back into the past and forward into the future. This chain of lives is called samsara.

A Buddhist may easily presume that the dog unfed and uncared may be a close relative like the brother or the father reborn as the dog because of his ill-deeds while alive. Carts pulled by bullocks are also seen in rural areas today, though not abundantly like before. The cart riders keep on hitting unnecessarily. The animals cannot do anything to protest. If the above belief of rebirth is right, what we may presume that the riders might be reborn as those animals which would pull the carts.

While working with WHO personnel mostly from America, they unanimously expressed their objections that many youngsters in particular hit or kick them or hurl brick-chips to them whimsically or impulsively while passing by.

One observation goes deadly against the dogs that they in group attack a weak and helpless dog and injure it. In course of time its injuries get infected and eventually, it dies of a painful death mostly due to the infections.

Compared to humans dogs grow 12 times faster. A dog at the age of 6 months becomes as mature as a boy of 6 years. This 12 times faster growth like others is detrimental. That is why a human is many times more intelligent than a dog, no matter how mature it has already become. And at the same time a dog’s life span is only 12/13 years.

Naturally a dog is a fastest runner and is able to bark roaringly but unfortunately can hardly see things some metres away, though it is very intuitively powerful in identifying the objects especially by observing their shadows, movements, smells and sounds. Even when a dog is colour-blind, the special kind of a dog is a hound which is infallibly skilled to hunt and kill someone whose used clothes are given. It has even happened that the hound killed someone else who is now wearing the dress.

A trained dog develops enigmatic ability. The detective branch trains and uses them for investigation. They can smell and find out something fishy even hidden under the soil. German Shepherd is an apposite example. A Russian dog Laika entered orbit as the first animal in space, though died there. In a drama serial of science fiction ‘The Wizard’ the dwarf scientist attached wires on a dog’s head and saw in the screen where the dog was running around for investigation.

In American games a trained dog is used to move around some ducks in such a way they do not go away but at one point enter the quarter-closed thatched room. The result depends on how short a dog takes to drive the ducks in. A dog is impeccably expert in guarding other animals especially a herd of sheep grazing in the lawn. No cowboy is required or he can relax and play on a flute leaning against a tree. The dog is enough to watch the herd.

The main problem with a well-trained dog is the absence of its sense of judgement or justice. It cannot identify what is good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable. All it knows is how it should perform or obey the master’s commands.

In Orwell’s novella “Animal Farm” the dictator boar Napoleon took away and trained up the 9 puppies like military forces. These well-trained grown up dogs were the puppets of Napoleon who was heinous and had the unquenchable thirst for power and comfort. He used those dogs most ferociously against the best animals for the farm and eventually they ousted the best and most beneficial leader Snowball out of the farm.

A dog is probably the first tame animal. It has been even man’s best friend for thousands of years. It is friendly, obedient and faithful. It has proved its faithfulness beyond doubt in the worst circumstances. Even a village was named after Bethgelert meaning ‘grave of Gelert’ in North Wales.

According to the story told for many centuries, Gelert was a hunting dog belonging to Llewellyn, the great lord of the region. He left his sleeping child under the care of his pet dog. Having returned he found the child nowhere and killed the dog mistakenly especially because the dog was bloodstained. Later he heard of cries and found the son hidden and a tiger killed beside. He clearly realised that the dog had killed the tiger to save the child.

King Edward VIII of England had a pet terrier named Caesar who led his funeral procession, walking before kings and princes.  The famous composer Mozart’s faithful dog followed his coffin to the grave all alone. Dogs can hear sounds better than men and can lead the blind.

In Arctic regions dogs pull sleds with people on board across the ice. Amazingly an Eskimo dog carried diphtheria serum 600 miles through a snowstorm in Alaska in 1925. About 150 years ago a dog Barry rescued 40 persons lost in the snow on the Saint Bernard Pass in Switzerland. Interestingly like many other star dogs Lassie was cast in a number of American films.

A dog ensures security like a sentinel, though the thieves overtrump by feeding and pampering it. Still it tightens security especially by barking away the unknown. In the winter season the street dogs bark and intimidate the passers-by but rarely bite any, though it is a serious problem at times.

And everybody knows the risk of hydrophobia due to any crazy dog-bite. For this in towns a lot of dogs are killed indiscriminately. It can be much better if the mad dogs are identified properly and killed scientifically.

On the other hand, some pet dogs are more adorable than the poorest neighbours. Here the proverb ‘Excess of anything is bad’ is worth mentioning. In different media we come across some pet dogs which are well-fed, well-cared and well-pampered. Animals need attention and care like humans as we saw in the ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ where the old sailor cursed for killing an Albatross whimsically was exempted from his sin due to his love shown for the squalid and ugly snakes.

But it does not necessarily mean that it is good to care the pets excessively and to ignore the neighbours who remain unfed for long. That is why the poet says ‘Sobar upore manush shotto, tahar upore nai’ (The all-pervasive truth is that humans are all above.).

The writer is Assistant Professor of English at Northern University Bangladesh.

BDST: 1909 HRS, JUN 29, 2014

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