February 21, 2022
Imagine walking down the street and being approached by a dog. All they want to do is say hello, sniff you and follow you around for a little while. Those big puppy eyes, tail wagging and sloppy kisses all around—sounds therapeutic, right? Now imagine if they were a street dog.
For most of us, the sight of street dogs in India brings about feelings of fear, disgust or even apathy. We may mean no harm but our encounters with street dogs often result in us changing lanes, shooing them away or even, unfortunately, in violence. There are many myths about street dogs that we are exposed to but that doesn’t mean that they are all true. Here are 5 such myths that are totally false!
Any animal (or even humans, for that matter) is made “dangerous” by their circumstances. No dog wants to chase you or bite you because they can. These are reactions that are triggered by the experiences they have faced in their lives and how others around them have treated them. If you treat them with kindness and respect their space, they will do the same for you.
Did you know: The official term for stray dogs is actually free-ranging dogs or street dogs
Street dogs in India are often left to fend for themselves and have to make do with whatever they can. They usually don’t have homes to go to or pet parents to look after them, which is the reason behind them being dirty or eating scraps off the road. All they are trying to do is survive. So, the next time you spot a street dog in your community, you can get them any of these essentials to make their lives a little better, comfortable and safer.
HUFT Tip: Please use these essentials for streeties that you meet or care for on a daily basis. If they are not comfortable using or wearing any of these items, it’s best to not use these at all.
As mentioned above, how a street dog behaves around you is shaped by their past interactions with other humans. If they have been threatened, mistreated or simply driven away, then they may not take kindly to you, feel intimidated by your presence or trust you easily. It’s natural for them to be guarded, in this case. But if they have grown up around caring, loving individuals who have looked after them, they will see you as friendly too and treat you the same way. It’s patience and adequate space that helps street dogs shed inhibitions and come say hello. This process can be accelerated with regular feeding or tossing them a dog treat every now and then.
Did you know:
This is completely untrue! Street dogs or/and Indies are equally capable of loving their pet parents and making an amazing addition to any family. They are smart, resilient, loyal companions who are native to India and well-suited to living in the Indian climate. If you are looking to adopt a dog or take in a streetie from your community, you’ll be giving them a good home and getting lots of love in return.
Again, street dogs will treat you like how you treat them. If you are kind and respectful of them and their spaces, they will reciprocate the feeling.
Did you know: A research study based out of Kolkata identified that street dogs built trust with humans over being petted repeatedly than with being offered food.
Want to help street dogs in your community? Read here to find out how you can do your bit in easy and effective ways. You can also reach out to the HUFT Foundation—our not-for-profit effort to build a kinder and more compassionate world for animals.