Food for thought

Puppy Love

We all have seen pet animals around us...sometimes with friends, neighbours and even family. While it's perfectly alright to have pets, have you ever wondered that there should be a code of pet etiquettes. Find out what Karteekka Tyaggi feels about it.

Just as we were about to get into our apartment complex lift, we notice an adorable "ball of white fluff" jumping up in the air trying to reach up to my little one's face. And since the little Pomeranian pup couldn't reach his face, it settled for his hands and started licking them. While I am no pet hater, I certainly have an issue with someone else's pet licking my son's hands or face. All this while, there was no resistance and no reaction from the pet owner, which simply made me wonder whether the person's reaction would be the same if instead of a pet dog, it was a toddler trying to be too friendly to a stranger and literally drooling on other people sharing the lift!


In another incident, on my morning walk, I see a young lady busily browsing through her mobile phone while two of her tiny dogs were walking behind her forming their own Bermuda Triangle. As I walked forward, I noticed, one of the two little dogs walking towards me wagging his little tail in excitement. I froze in my place and could only utter "Excuse Me". Not realizing that the young lady had already put on her boxing gloves and was all over me for stopping on that spot, because that's what made her "little girl" walk towards me! And I was left, simply thinking to myself, did I even say anything else besides "excuse me"!!


In yet another incident, as my little one was stepping out of the car in our apartment parking lot (after I parked the car in our allocated parking spot) he landed directly onto a pile of dog poop, right next to our car! Again, I couldn't help but wonder why would a dog choose this place and completely ignore the lush green lake cornice and the sprawling dog-friendly space in our community.


Before you all start judging me, I am not here to make any judgmental comments about any pet owners. I am simply trying to put forth a very basic need of following communal etiquettes and teaching the same etiquettes to our pets, exactly the same way we teach our kids social manners and social etiquettes. And this becomes especially essential when we all like to address our pets as our children and treat them as our family. The only thing that I fail to understand is that when it comes to love and affection, all the pets are equal to family and children. They are addressed as "she", "he", "little boy' and "little girl" and they are actually treated like human beings in the family. Then, why, just why can't we accept one simple fact that these family members also need to be trained in basic etiquettes. A dog is usually not a dog but is a family member, but the same dog immediately becomes "just a poor animal", when the dog displays some unruly behavior in public. 


Every time one visits a family with pets, one only gets to hear familiar statements like: "oh, he's very friendly, he won't say anything." or "oh, he doesn't bite." or worse, "she's vaccinated, it's fine. If she bites, it's okay". Seriously! You’re telling me, I need to behave normally and not show any fear when your pet dog is all over me because he/she is vaccinated! In such a scenario, I always have one question to ask, would you react the same way, if your son or daughter were to behave in this fashion, jumping all over your visitors, kissing them, showering them with all their love, even though the visitor doesn't like it. Would you not ask your kids to behave themselves, sit quietly and show their civilized self. Would you be saying the same thing to your visitors: "Oh, don't worry, they're just kids!" 


So, why then, when it comes to pets, we all do not realize that pets are also your family and they also must learn manners and must learn basic social etiquettes. And if you feel, they are animals that cannot be taught basic social etiquettes; I think the responsibility lies with the pet owners. Like this gentleman in our building would always ask if people are okay to share the elevator with his pet dog. If yes, the gentleman first allows others to board the lift and he's the last one to get inside. While in the lift, he stands in a corner tightly holding the dog leash. That's what I call a sensible social behavior. 


As I said, I am no pet hater, but I am a normal human being living in a normal society where it's my duty to be sensitive to other people's cultural and social sentiment. I need to be mindful of the fact that someone may be allergic to pet hair, or someone may be extremely hygiene conscious and may not like the idea of being licked by a pet (even when it is done out of love). I need to be mindful of the fact that just as humans cannot defecate on the lake cornice or the parking lot, dogs too cannot do so just because a pet owner chooses not to clean up after their pet.     


I don't think that's too much expectation when we live in a civilized society and every single person is given freedom and space to live their life in peace. 


Please do share your thoughts on this, especially if you are a pet owner!




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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Karteekka Tyaggi

HI! I'm Karteekka, a lawyer by profession and founder of Salaam Life. I love sharing everything that is close to my heart and that is the reason why Salaam Life as created. want to drop a line to me?

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  1. sarika Sutaria

    I strongly agree to ur views. Somehow I also get scared and it's absolutely normal also as Pets r animals after all and they can be unpredictable. It's very important to teach the pets the set behaviour and the owner must feel the onus for that.Luckily, my society imposes a huge fine if pets poop is found anywhere other than the pet walking area. The pets are not allowed in the kids zone as kids can actually freak out the pets with their overflowing love and affection. IT'S good to be an animal lover but expecting the same from everybody is just not fair.

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