Friday, December 14, 2007

Rover:Circulating Library

When I met one of my great nieces, a charming three year old, I thought she was just the right age to have a pet dog or a kitten. Jaisri, her mother, told me how much she'd like it too, but she also said it would be very difficult to keep and care for a pet in their flat in London. It would be even more difficult to find someone to care for the pet when they went away on holiday.

Now that is a point. Who would take on someone else's dog for a few weeks?We had a friend, Dada, who kept a Great Dane. Dada's leave was due and he went to another friend Joy's place to ask him if he could take care of his dog for a month when he was away. Over drinks and dinner, Joy, a really good natured chap, agreed. Dada invited Joy around to make the necessary introductions. Joy took one look at the valued pet and told Dada that he, Dada, could stay with him for a month, or two, or even six, but as for the dog, well, why didn’t he just send the dog on leave instead? Joy told the story with great enjoyment, stretching his arms out wide to show us how large the Great Dane was!

There are some people who dislike animals and some others who swear a home with a cat or a dog smells distinctly nasty.It isn’t easy for dog lovers to understand how anyone can dislike, or worse, actually be afraid of dogs! I was terrified of dogs and swore I'd never have one, when I was in my twenties. My husband, Mohan, who doesn’t believe in wasting time with words, simply brought a pup home one day and made me forget my fear of dogs completely in a few weeks’ time. That was really gutsy of him -- had the experiment backfired, I wouldn’t have let him forget it in a hurry. It isn’t possible to do things like that in a big city where living space is limited, where all the adults go to work, and where a family travels a lot.

My Dad once propounded the idea of a sari library for ladies who believed in never repeating a sari to a party. That was a very long time ago. His term 'Sari Library' was a hit, and I remember how tickled his listeners were! Why not a Pet Library? How wonderful to be able to borrow a dog! To take a dog home for some time every day!

First, there would be training; in this case not for the dogs alone but for the people who wanted to take them out. A trainer would teach you the basics of caring for dogs, and you might have to clear a test before you became a regular member. There could be a short term issue scheme, where a dog could be taken out for the evening, just to play with, for a few hours. Then there could be a scheme – for advanced readers -- where a dog could stay with a family for a few days and nights. It could be brought to their home every day first, and then be fed a meal, in its own bowl, over there. It could then be moved in, with its own bedding, for the number of days settled upon. A trainer from the Library could look in once a day to see that all was well.Experts would be on the lookout for additions to the library, and they would pick up little pups to train to go 'visiting' once they were old enough. (Even the new additions to this library would be, well, dog-eared!)

The Pet Library could also work well for people who wanted to find temporary homes for their pets when they were away on holiday, and for those who just wanted someone to walk their dog in the evenings!

I hope someone is enterprising enough to pick up this idea and make it work!I can only foresee one problem and that is of a child, or children, refusing to return the pet to the library! How would one explain the idea of temporary ownership of a dog to a child? That would call for some thought. Parents, work your way around this one.


Anonymous said...

You have just touched a raw nerve here! With Sekar and I having had dogs in our childhood, we would sorely love to give Vishwanath the same experience as well. The memories that you carry of each dog are undescribable.

BUT. I agonise. We used to live in a house. Now, in our flat, is it fair on the dog? I dont think so.

Then there's the responsibility....
And the heartache when they die...

So, yes, I do wish there was a rover circulating library, though i dont know if the dog in question would like to be shunted from home to home!

Better still, why cant one of my neighbours in a bungalow get one?!


Anonymous said...

What someone has conveniently left out of the explanation why we dont have dogs or cats is that the choice is either husband/father or dog/cat. At present husband/father is being picked. That may change...


Rover - great name!
And great tale about the Great Tail, I mean, Dane.
Good idea, all told, but what about the emotional attachment betwen pets and owners - can't shift emotions from pet to pet, nor ownere to owner - and those poor things can't even voice their preferences.

In Coimbatore, Guhan has started these kennels just to take in pets (read dogs), whose owners have to leave them for a while. You must have seen it here

Anonymous said...

Love the bit about the dog-eared additions to the library.
Sari library, too! Trust Babuji.

Anonymous said...

You were afraid of dogs when you were young? Could have fooled me!