Punjabis show more affection to their dogs than their spouses.

Have you ever caught yourself petting your partner like you would pet an animal? But if you’re about to give your spouse a belly rub; STOP

Your romantic life might be in serious jeopardy.

Affection and the Indian psyche have never seen eye to eye.

From lack of public display of affection (PDA) to instinctively folding hands v/s shaking them (which we claim as a victory in the COVID-19 times). The weird semi pairi-paena (more like a ‘gode nu hath launa) to the inability to say ‘I love you’ to most people; we have had weird social, cultural and safety barriers to showing affection.

But not your pets.

For the love of dog, show him affection.

In these times of lock-down and spending prolonged extended time with your pet while he is unable to go for long walks; what can we do to keep the dog happy?

Dogs become one dimensional when they have to stay at home and not go for daily walks. You see, the walk around the block to a dog is like reading the daily newspaper:

-Does this scent belong to an intruder animal. Is it even dog or cat pee?

-Which animal not from my gang came into my territory?

-The brown stray down the road still has a bad stomach.

-Why is the guard who always says hi to me not on duty this morning?

-Has the milkman left? Why isn’t the postman around anymore?

-Which neighbourhood animal is on heat?

You take that away from an animal and you’re taking away their only source of entertainment because the TV doesn’t mean much to them; nor does the food take more than 30 seconds to devour. Take 18 hours out of the 24 hours for napping and the 15 minutes of attention the owners give to them in a day, you still have a lot of free time left to do nothing.

Or to whine and sulk.

Or to be intrusive, boorish, assertive and maybe destructive.

Screw the “Good Boy”.

Here are a few things we can do to keep our pets happy during lock-down.

  1. Create a game for him which rewards him (with treats) to use his mind & efforts.

-A rotating tube which dispenses treats by spinning. (specially if you are good at    making items with your hands)


-A ball on a pole/ tree that one (and preferably 2 or 3) dog can play with.

-A kong toy with treats tricking out or peanut butter pasted on the inside.

2)  If you have a treadmill at home, you can teach your dog to use it.


3)  Teach your dog a new trick. You have the time and with a little help from you-tube  you can teach him a new trick. Dos love learning new tricks with positive reinforcement and treats. They are motivated by;




-Pleasing the owner (most dogs learn new tricks because of the praise & joy


  4)  Consider getting a friend for your pet. This can be done in one of the following ways

-A friend’s dog for extended play-dates.

-A stray friend- If your dog loves a stray dog while they walk, consider bringing them in and allowing them to play in your yard. Dogs do not carry the COVID-19 virus and the dog would love to go back on the street once he is done because all animals love their freedom more than anything else.

-Foster a sick, injured or orphaned puppy. Most dogs allow a puppy into their household and take them under their wing. The new dog needs to be introduced to your pet in the right manner (a neutral turf for meeting, walk the animals together, monitor)

-Adopting another animal. This might be the best time to adopt another animals because you can monitor their success into your home. Most animal love growing up with other animals.

5) Notice 5 Characteristics in your dog that you might have missed on account of staying busy (ok to do with your spouse and children too).

6) Give your dog the time of your life by massaging it.

Imagine never being able to stick your finger or a q-tip in your ear, or getting a facial, or wring your hands. There are some advantages evolution has given due to having opposable thumbs. Now use them to help a brother out.

You will bond with your animal in an amazing way if you dip into some baby oil and massage the dog. You can get him to any trick if he knows that the reward is a massage.


            It’s the most amazing couple therapy that you and your dog will get and if you do it with your spouse helping you, it will be the best couples therapy all of you get.

When you decided to get get married to your spouse you took away their chance of getting romantic affection from most people except you. The COVID-19 has taken away their chance of showing affection to family and friends (not that we do a stellar job of it to begin with).

With almost all affection being taken away from your spouse, it is YOUR JOB and your RESPONSIBILITY to show them affection.

By taking an animal away from its family and the chance of it getting affection from another human, it is not your JOB and RESPONSIBILITY to show it affection. And keep it happy and healthy.

A happy dog is a healthy dog. Much like with spouses; it leads to a healthy relationship.

Every time You Go Away – You Take a Piece of Me With You.


It never fails.

This is the set up.


You wake up one day and decide that the little puppy you got a few years ago is not so cute anymore. You don’t want it anymore. The barking bothers you, the Vet bills are too high, pet food is too expensive, you just got laid off from work, your new girlfriend is allergic to dogs, you are thinking about having children, you are moving, your dog just bit someone and its expensive to keep him.

(I’ve heard every reason in the book)

So you decide to give it up.

You bring him down to the city shelter.


This is the bell you ring.


This is where you tie your dog.


Then you kiss it and shed a tear or two (trust me you always do- because your tears wash away your guilt).


Then you leave. You return to your life.



The dog keeps wagging his tail and watching the door like a hawk.

He sits down and tries to do what he did when you called him a good boy.

Then he gets up and charges the door only to be yanked back by his leash.

Then he looks the other side by moves as far closer to the door as he can.


Then he sits down and stands up a few times.

Then his tail stops wagging.

Then his shoulders slump and he lowers his head.

Then he starts trembling- uncontrollably.

Then he gets evaluated and led to a kennel.


There he lies cowering in a corner afraid of a new place.

Then he goes to another dark kennel where other dogs bark incessantly.

Then in 72 hours, this is where he ends up- just when he was getting used to his new life and realizing that he’s been abandoned.


Then he ends up in a garbage bag here.


Meanwhile you are enjoying your next weekend, assuming your dog is living with a new family.

Please stop breeding/ Please stop surrendering. All shelters are full. The city requires us to take in all animals- but more surrenders lead to more Eutahnized animals.


O My Indie Dog, How I Fear thee, Let me Count the Ways

-Inder Sandhu

             Aiiiiyiiiii.” The scrawny shirtless kid holds up two sticks in his hands and chases a dog. His ten-year-old legs allow him to catch up to the limping stray before I can blink my eyes.

“Whaaack.” A smile of triumph beams across the boy’s dark complexioned face.

“Aoor Aoor Aoor,” The dog lifts his injured leg higher and tries to scramble away. The boy raises his sticks again.

My body kicks into action. “Oye!” I charge the boy.

He drops the sticks and tries to flee.


injured dogMy fingers sting from the pain. The boy is holding the back of his head. “Why are you hitting a defenseless dog?” I yell in Hindi. The onlookers at the Fatehpur Sikri surround us. The boy runs away. “How does it feel to be hit like that?” I shout at his receding figure.

The mosque has drawn its weekend crowd of visitors and devout locals. Merchants by the Kotah stone coloured forty meter high entrance gate, the Buland Darwaza, trade their wares in song. The mild wafting aroma of groundnuts roasting over coal saturates the air. The azaan (call to prayer) blares over the loud-speaker. “Allah-hu-Akbar.” Although not a Muslim, I repeat the phrase aloud. I’ve been taught as a child to respect all religions. I fold my hands in prayer and bow my head.  

              Ḥayya ʿala khayr al ʿamal.” (The time for the best deed has come) the Muezzin’s voice is crisp over the loudspeaker.

             The best deed? I slump. How does it feel to be the perpetrator of the crime you just accused him of? Hitting someone weaker than you is just wrong. I close my eyes. That kid hasn’t learnt his lesson and he never will. Where did we go wrong? When did it become acceptable for peace loving Indians to hurt defenseless animals? What happened to our concept of ‘be kind to animals-‘nahi to paap lagega’ (or you will be cursed by your karma).

A part of the answer is fear and the lack of education of how to handle the Indie dog; a stray of no particular breed. We see them everywhere and are indifferent to their presence. Their plight is so common that we’ve become immune to it. We Indians are experts at shutting our eyes and zoning out problems from our lives if they don’t affect us.

            We have no idea how to approach these dogs. We’ve never learnt it. We fear them.

            Imagine if you will the life of a stray dog. Born into scarce food supply and poor health conditions, they have ticks and fleas and no form of vaccination. Most of them in the litter die within a few days. Only the tough survive. They face other big, rabid dogs and children pelting stones at them.


            Oftentimes, the mother is too busy searching for food or gets runs down by cars and trucks, leaving these puppies to fend for themselves. Like children, these puppies need the human touch, love and nurturing. A human that is orphaned and struggles for survival often becomes a criminal. These dogs are the outcasts of our society. They have very little in terms of orphanages or shelters.

         When we can show them love, we show them fear and hatred. Even if our children try, we’re guilty of shooing the dogs away and reprimanding our children for trying to get close. When these children grow into teenagers we offer them no outlet to quell the fear we instilled in their hearts. We offer them no opportunity to volunteer with these defenseless animals.

         When our children have children of their own- they propagate the same fear in them. It’s a vicious cycle. Fear begets more fear- until one day our society becomes immune to their plight. Then we are left with the only option of scoffing at our own country and the overpopulation of dogs. We cite examples of other countries, those don’t have these problems.

animal cruelty       The simple question is- Will we do anything to break the circle? Will we allow our children to volunteer with these poor helpless dogs and nurse them to health and love? Allow the children to ensure that our administrators have policies in place to control the overpopulation of strays? Or will we just sit back and make the circle of fear get stronger and stronger? Will we do nothing and then complain?

The child comes back with his father. “Why did you hit my son?” He jabs a stick in my pectorals. “You thought he has nobody to support him? Apologize to him” He looks over my shoulder at the growing crowd behind me.

I sit down on my knee and rub the kid’s head where I’d struck him. “I’m sorry I hit you, little guy.” I straighten up.

His father triumphantly twirls his moustache. He turns around and walks away.

I call out behind him. “Now will you ask your son to apologize to the dog he hit because he thought there was nobody to support the dog?”

He pauses for a while, then turns around. Tears have pooled around his now soft eyes. He loses the grip of his stick. I see it rattle on the bitumen and I would’ve heard it too- had the applause not drowned out the sound.

© Inderpal Sandhu and, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Inderpal Sandhu and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.