One would think I was photographing the same dog again and again. There seems to be a certain breed of dog here in India, the India Street Dog. They are generally sandy colored, medium sized, short haired, and actually quite handsome, self-reliant, and street-wise.
All night long, these dogs bark, howl, fight, sniff through piles of garbage in search of food, and bully other dogs to establish territories. Frustrated tourists in posh hotels grumble as they reach for earplugs in a futile attempt to wipe out the incessant barking coming in from the streets of India.
When day breaks, the dogs take refuge in a temple, an ancient ruin in Sarnath, on the cool marble floors of a fort, a grassy patch of an ancient palace courtyard, or on red sandstone, and sleep the sleep of the dog-tired as humanity goes by. The chaos of ritual bells, shouting of vendors, motors, honking horns, the patter of cow’s passing, and the spinning of wheels seems to send them into a deeper sleep.
During the day, sun rays are a great source of comfort for the India Street Dog.
It is so tempting to dream of taking them all home, to fatten them up, and give them the love and care they deserve. Here in India, Man and Dog seem to co-exist in a way I do not understand. The dogs scratch out a life that seems cruel and unfair from my American perspective. However, if basic needs are not met for most humans, who is there to care for the dogs?
I have seen countless dogs here in India. They roam the streets alongside the cows and the children and the hoards of humanity. Three years ago, in Delhi, I met an India woman who went around feeding the dogs. She wore a badge that said, “Friends of the Dogs Society.” She told me that she and others from the society try to get the dogs neutered or spayed when possible and feed them daily. Not sure how many “Friends of the Dogs Society” individuals exist, but I am sure there are not enough members to make a big enough difference (yet)!
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Cats? I can count on one hand the number of cats I have seen. My guess is that the cats hide from the roaming street dogs and remain elusive to the human eye.