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Canis indianis? December 31, 2013

Posted by therealtinlizzy in India.

It’s 2:30 on Monday afternoon where I’m at here in Mysore, India, (hey wait no it WAS 2:30 pm on Monday when I started this post, then due to circumstances and classes and misbehaving internets it is now actually 1 hour into 2014!)  for a three week study abroad course through the University of Minnesota. (I time traveled 11 & 1/2 hours into the future in the process of getting here; also too, who knew there were time zones of half hours? I did not!)

If you know me, you probably aren’t all that surprised that one of the first things I took note/care of in making my way in/through my new surroundings were the populations of free-range dogs. The view out the bus windows during the middle-of-the-night ride from Bangalore to Mysore showed a landscape scarce of humans but frequented by stray/feral canines. My initial impulse on seeing these canines so apparently abandoned and disconnected from the direct human contact, companionship and intervention that I’m used to States-side was to feel downright troubled, concerned, earnest, bleeding-heart and more than a little judgmental along the lines of “wtf – why don’t they do something about this – it’s dismal, callous and cruel to just leave dogs to fend for themselves and bereft of human companionship?”)

Exploration of the area around the hostel this morning also revealed an abundance of alternately lounging and meandering, tongue-lolling feral dogs.

Strays dogs in Mysore, India

Strays dogs in Mysore, India

As I’ve had the opportunity so far to observe them singly, in pairs, in small packs, interacting with each other or just existing as part of the landscape, it occurs to me they actually seem rather self-sufficient and generally getting along quite well being semi-estranged from humans; they certainly don’t seem sad-panda at not being, er, lapdogs. In fact, the canines I’ve observed, including two I just watched trotting through the adjacent lot, overall seem well content with each others’ company and minding their own business.

There’s obviously much more to this issue than a quick cursory “oh good – they seem fine and happy, so all is well, my conscience is off the hook”, and certainly more to consider in terms of overall good/benefit (or lack thereof) to the health and well-being of humans and dogs in having such roving bands of feral canines be the norm in heavily populated ares.  However, it does give me at least initially pause to consider caution in knee-jerk projecting my American sensibilities of human/canine relationships onto this area & culture.

Tumbling onto the scene in southern India, particularly in a learning opportunity like this, prompts all sorts of ponderings and observations, which indeed are legion in my neural muck presently.  But go figure that my first thoughts go to the animals.

Happy New Year from the other side of the globe. 🙂





1. Stefanie - January 2, 2014

Holy cow! You’re in India? Awesome! I hope your stay is as enjoyable as it is educational.

therealtinlizzy - January 3, 2014

Hello my friend! Greets to Bookman as well! Yes – here I be for a few weeks, much to the chagrin of Lisa who is freezing to utter death back in MN. 🙂

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