Rashmi Oberoi/Ravi V. Chhabra
Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend. - Corey Ford
Life is a bitch! May you die a dog’s death...I am loyal like a dog. Oh, he’s such a dog! Every dog has his day, Barking dogs seldom bite…Stop hounding me like a dog! These are just a few of the countless sayings attributed to man’s homely canine companions. The World Canine Association/FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) recognizes over 350 dog breeds subdivided into 10 categories. The biological name for dogs is Canis lupus familiaris.
The breeds and their sub breeds can be identified by looks, genetic features, behavior, temperament and other characteristics. Few breeds like the Labrador are natural breeds, hence, they have a highly balanced and loveable temperament, while many others viz. Hounds and Doberman, Bado, Pit Bull, Rottweiler (also known as butcher’s dog) etc are genetically modified breeds. Some breeds have even been banned in a few countries due to being over ferocious!
The basic breeds’ classification comprises: Companion dogs, guard dogs, hunting dogs, herding dogs, and working dogs. But then there are also toy dogs, apartment dogs…Last but not least is the mongrel (mixed breed also know as stray dogs) – they make excellent pet and watchdogs with usually good immunity to diseases. There are many books on dog’s names available too and with due mention of the famous dogs and their feat! Many people blindly go for a doggy without studying which breed suits them most for temperament, space and functionality. It is a common myth that large dogs are more ferocious…on the contrary, the smaller ones can be extremely fierce and the larger ones, nothing short of soft, lovable ‘teddy-bears’.
Remember the once famous insignia of the gramophone (records) company known by its acronym HMV (His Master’s Voice). It would be worthwhile to know how it came about to showcase the loyalty of ‘man’s best friend’.
Here goes: Nipper and His Master's Voice
Nipper the dog was born in Bristol in Gloucester, England in 1884 and so named because of his tendency to nip the backs of visitors' legs. When his first master Mark Barraud died destitute in Bristol in 1887, Nipper was taken to Liverpool in Lancashire, England by Mark's younger brother Francis, a painter.
In Liverpool Nipper discovered the Phonograph, a cylinder recording and playing machine and Francis Barraud "often noticed how puzzled he was to make out where the voice came from". This scene must have been indelibly printed in Barraud's brain, for it was three years after Nipper died that he committed it to canvas.
Nipper died in September 1895, having returned from Liverpool to live with Mark Barraud's widow in Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey, England. Though not a thoroughbred, Nipper had plenty of bull terrier in him; he never hesitated to take on another dog in a fight, loved chasing rats and had a fondness for the pheasants in Richmond Park!
In 1898 Barraud completed the painting and registered it on 11 February 1899 as "Dog looking at and listening to a Phonograph".
Barraud then decided to rename the painting "His Master's Voice" and tried to exhibit it at the Royal Academy, but was turned down. He had no more luck trying to offer it for reproduction in magazines. "No one would know what the dog was doing" was given as the reason!
Next on Barraud's list was The Edison Bell Company, leading manufacturer of the cylinder phonograph, but again without success. "Dogs don't listen to phonographs," the company said.
Barraud was given the advice to repaint the horn from black to gold, as this might better his opportunity for a sale. With this in mind, in the summer of 1899 he visited 31 Maiden Lane, home of the newly formed Gramophone Company, with a photograph of his painting and a request to borrow a brass horn.
Today, when the world has changed drastically for the worse with human tormenters like the ISIS and their ilk, it is hardly surprising, nay shocking that the recent news clippings and updates about large scale culling of stray dogs in China and in God’s own country (Kerala in India) has been heart wrenching. For a state that speaks of being completely literate, it is extremely shocking to see them deal with an issue in such a ghastly manner. The gory part is that dog meat is a delicacy in certain countries and even in the state of Nagaland – a black dog’s meat is a rarity. A famous whiskey brand too, is named after ‘Black Dog’. In dog shows, there are various parameters to judge the dog - be it posture, features (snout), mannerisms, tail position etc. Almost as profound as the models being judged at a ramp show!
Below: Boozo, KCI award-winning yellow Labrador lived with Chhabra family for 12 years.
Even a not so literate person knows the only way to deal with over population is through the animals being spayed or neutered or by far the best choice of being adopted in loving homes. Yes, it is assimple as that. There is a saying that Animals are God’s very own special creatures that help us form a stronger bond between nature and mankind. From these, Dogs are highly intelligent, faithful and sociable and have been a companion of man since ages. They give us pleasure and teach us better ways of living life with patience, contentment and love. There is so much to learn from their demeanor, resiliency and most importantly the willingness to provide their family members with unconditional love, loyalty, and companionship down to their very last breath.
Dogs are friendly and they love human camaraderie. For one, whose ego would not be gratified at the sight of a happy dog that can't wait to greet you at the end of a hard day? You come in through the door from a long day’s work and he’s just plain happy to see you and funnily enough you are greeted in the same enthusiasm each and every time you walk in that door. He waits by the door - face smiling and a tail a wagging, ready to dote on you, his best friend in the world. A dog has the ability to live in the present moment. They don’t regret the past or worry about the future. Now if only we could learn to appreciate and focus on what’s happening in the here and now!
Above: Oberoi pets Pasha and Pepper.
Above: (L-R): Jack, Jonie and Edie - loving members of Latchaw family.
Dogs are loyal and eager to please in any way they can especially if you're feeling blue and will remain by your side silently comforting you. Dogs are playful yet they can also be soft and cuddly and ready at any time for a loving pat and a reassuring hug. They're affectionate and they're soothing to stroke, plus most dogs can also remain calm when necessary and be tolerant of small children who don't yet know how to be quiet or to behave gently around animals. Dogs can be trained so that they can easily cohabitate with us and can also be trusted to act appropriately around other people and in public. Guide dogs are the best example of this. Also known as ‘seeing eye’ dogs, they are trained to lead blind and visually impaired people. Then there are the ‘sniffer dogs’ that are trained to detect substances like explosives and drugs.In the presence of a dog, somehow, nothing else matters. A dog is handing out pure love, sparing no expense, and asking absolutely nothing in return. There’s consistency, love, and the beauty of life at its finest. They have this ability to sense what’s really going on.
Many of us have lost touch with this all-important instinctual part of who we are. The icing on the cake is that dogs don’t hold grudges. They resolve and move on. The family dog is as much a part of daily life within a home as is any human household member. It is important to remember here that keeping them leashed indoors will be disastrous.They are members of the family and should be made to feel so. As dogs can participate in many of our most unusual experiences and outdoor adventures, they become forever associated with many of our most treasured memories. Dogs give us the best of themselves: their love, loyalty, unconditional acceptance and affection, playfulness and companionship. Above all else, dogs deserve gentle handling and an abundance of our time and attention. Love can make a dog's world go round as much as love makes our world go round.
Remember, always be kind to animals and you’ll gain from this. Personally for me, each and every dog that has been brought into our home was unique, had its very own personality, and affected our lives profoundly. I’ve had some of the greatest relationships and life lessons learned with my dogs; Unconditional love, living in the moment, loyalty. Sometimes, we get caught up in so many things, but you’re never lonely when there’s a dog around. When I need a good laugh or some therapy, I think about the times I’ve spent with my family, including my dogs because they were, are and always will be members of our family, and I laugh.
There is so much to learn by just watching and observing the way our pets rejoice in life’s simplest moments. I think one should take time out every day to celebrate the many gifts that are hidden in the ordinary events of our own life. Have you ever wondered why there are more dog lovers out there than haters? Dogs share our lives in a way that most other animals can't, and they're so commonplace that it's easy to take their faithful companionship for granted. ‘Barking dogs seldom bite’. They only time I think they are a curse is when you lose them... It is as traumatic as losing a family member and that pain never goes away.
Here's the story of an 80-years-old lady who lost her terminally ill husband. After 20-years of love and care of her husband, when the male head of the house died, their faithful 12-year-old yellow Labrador, KCI (Kennel Club of India) registered and award-winning dog, who would even fetch the newspaper each day for the couple to their second-floor apartment, stopped eating for almost a week and lay at the feet of the bereaved lady and shared her grief. The dog had to be force fed. Such fierce loyalty is impossible to be found amongst humans...In this dog-eat-dog world, it is fallacious that dogs can be given toilet training and taught other mannerisms and tricks by reprimanding and beating. On the contrary, dogs learn by love and 'bribery' and that’s the fun part too.
On a ticklish note, ‘doggy-style’ can be an oft-used expression in the lover's heightened libido-lingo...there's hardly a doubt that dogs elicit a feeling of love and care in humans.There are dogs for sale and dogs for adoption; any breed that you want – directly imported for a price – be it an orange-coloured toy Pomeranian or the handsome Saint. Bernard but the best of all, perhaps being the next door mongrel. The St. Bernard, many don’t know is primarily used as ‘search and rescue’ dog in snowy terrain. Their average weight could be anywhere between 65 - 120 kg and an approximate height of about 90 cms. Even though you may have a fondness for larger dogs, it would be criminal keeping them cooped up in an apartment. Choose a pet that is in tandem with the space you live in and goes well with your temperament. There is a saying, "If you have one well trained dog as a friend, you have more than your share". So, just be gentle, be kind, as humans have a lot to learn from dogs.
article in its entirety.