When we first ‘adopted’ our baby Alfonso, a family friend saw me cradling the little wrinkly ball said “the Brits love dogs more than people”. When I see people throwing stones at street dogs for no apparent reason, in that moment, I do prefer the dog. But, the simple fact is, in India many people are scared of dogs.
It’s the fear of rabies, the fear of being chased and the fact most domestic dogs are trained as guard dogs. When we walk Alfonso, people generally admire is unusual look but avoid him. Poor guy, he wants to play with everyone but he’s not very popular around here. There will be occasions when someone will spring from nowhere, pick him up and cuddle him, but that’s rare. Many domestic dogs in India spend most of their lives tied up outside their owners home, barking at anyone who comes too close. There is a very cute Pomeranian in the house opposite, very small and fluffy, he spends day and night tethered to a short rope, yapping his little head off.
In Britain, dogs are seen as a part of the family, there are no wild dogs and it’s not often you’ll find someone who is scared of them. Alfonso is part of our family and walks around the house freely, I have noticed we have fewer visitors these days, but that suits me just fine. Before Alfonso came to live here, our house was as busy as Grand Central Station.
I’ve realised people generally visit without prior notice in India, while in England you need to book an appointment at least a week in advance before showing up at someone’s house. If you turn up randomly in England, it’s considered rude! India has a much more casual approach.
So, what inspired this post?
Between my mother-in-law’s yoga hall and our apartment, there is a restaurant. The restaurant had two men come to our house to hang lights from our terrace, to decorate the restaurant below for Diwali. Alfonso and I left our room to go and get some tea, not knowing there were strangers in the house. One of these men kicked my Alfonso across the living room, Alfonso yelped so loudly, he was really hurt. The man was caught off guard, scared of him and was ‘defending’ himself. I was livid!
If we were to complain to the restaurant, this man may not have been paid and he probably has a family to feed. And, who knows, he may return for revenge? My in-laws had to sack our driver and he threw a brick through our back window! Still, I was so upset that I could not hold back the tears. My poor Alfonso, totally bewildered, he was just greeting him. Extra cuddles for Alfonso and a sharp glare for the criminal!