Friday, December 16, 2011

Sit, Stay

To Feed or Not to Feed

We've been told by a local resident to feed the stray dogs. We've been here a week and I've seen more than ten different dogs in our community. Many of them are the extra large hound variety suitable for running long distances, jumping high fences and devouring, well, just about anything.
None of these dogs have owners. People do have dogs for pets here, but these dogs are "free". Perhaps their parents were farm dogs, or their grandparents or their great grandparents. Now they fend for themselves.

I like dogs better than I like cats. I am not afraid of dogs. I feel some compassion for these dogs, who if circumstances were different, would have a spot on the hearth and a meaty bone on feast days.

However, these creatures seem to cross the line. Physically they resemble dogs, but I think, mentally they function more like wolves perhaps or dingos or hyennas even. Would I leave food in my lane meant to attract a dingo? No. Do I want a hyenna or a wolf to associate the sight and smell of my family with a hand out? No. Are the dogs more or less likely to be rabid, vicious or territorial if we feed them? Perhaps.

It seems clear that our neighbours, currently absent, feed the dogs. There are large bowls in the lanes behind many houses. If our neighbours feed the dogs is there any point to our abstaining? It may be too late to be set apart because the dogs already associate the sight and smell of humans with food. We are still thinking; weighing the pros and cons, but it seems likely that in this instance we will do what is recommended by people who live here. Surely their local wisdom must outweigh our own logic in this situation.

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